The Dangers of Busyness

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For the record, I think those Air Dancer balloons that businesses use to advertise car washes and furniture sales are nightmarishly creepy. A large fan blows air into a humanesque, tube-shaped balloon causing the monstrosity to twist and writhe like some tormented soul in Dante’s Inferno. Undoubtedly creepy, yes—nevertheless sometimes I’m drawn in, fascinated by the nonstop gyrations which seem familiar and oddly reminiscent of the incessant busyness of life.


Often when I ask friends what they’ve been up to, they’ll respond, “I’m keeping busy.” Initially, I thought this was a good answer, but the older I get the more I realize staying busy just to stay busy is not a good thing. We all have work, family, and social demands, but oftentimes we fill our lives with activities that serve no other purpose than to fill our time. When we consistently dash from one activity to another, we’re in danger of missing out on what’s really important.


Most experts will tell you that having downtime is essential to good mental health. If we don’t take time to pause and evaluate the course we’re traveling, we’re like the passenger on a bus who fails to disembark at any particular stop, choosing instead to keep riding the bus and never reaching a destination. We frantically attempt to pack every hour with stuff and at the end of the day we collapse in exhaustion, wondering why we feel so disconnected. Though scores of people have tried, few have found contentment and fulfillment though the pursuit of constant action.


So take some time to reflect. Turn off the television and the internet. Find a quiet place to sit and drink in the silence. Think about where you are and where you’re going, or don’t think about anything at all. Listen to the whisperings of the universe. Then go forth and conquer!


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