NY Times writer Tim Kreider recently wrote about what he termed “The ‘Busy’ Trap”, which he summarized as the tendency toward overscheduling your time in life: at work, at home, and everywhere in between. We here at RttRL feel that Kreider has struck a nerve with this one.
He says (with my emphasis in bold):
Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as grown-ups. I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.
Later in the article, Kreider makes another point in which I see a lot of parallels with my complaints about the narcissism around personal use of, and obsession with, social media services these days:
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.
We here at Racing to the Red Light want to assure our readers that in fact, your lives are most likely not richer or more worthwhile just because you choose to Facebook, Tweet and overwork yourself to the bone.
And while we agree that perhaps working four hours a day (TL;DR the NYT opinion piece: the author admits to many days of four hours or so of actual work) may be a bit on the lighter side of what we would consider to be productive, certainly we do agree that people are in way too big of a hurry these days.
People drive too fast and endanger others with their cars because of a perception that they must do more and more in any given day, a self-inflicted pressure in many cases. They further endanger each other by attempting to “multi-task” while driving – by texting or otherwise playing with their phones while piloting (or not) a multi-thousand pound chunk of metal hurtling around at speed.
At RttRL, we actively encourage the slowing-down of everyday life. If you find yourself “crazy busy” all of the time, we recommend un-plugging for a bit, and trying to think about what is really important in life. And we’ll try to take some of our own medicine at the same time.
Racing to the Red Light – think about it.