The Busy Trap

Everyone seems to be busy. 

We overestimate what we can do in a day, yet underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. The result being bad posture, shortness of breath, and neurosis.

For most of my life I’ve told myself that my affinity with thrill-seeking was, more or less, indulgent. A selfish way to travel, get a hit of adrenaline, and take full advantage of my privileged life. The important work being done through my journalism. Lately though, I’ve seen it inversely. 

Last El Nino in particular, I had more lonely moments underwater than the rest of my winters combined. There’s nothing like a building-sized wave to sink your to-do list into obsolescence. 

The utter pointlessness of bobbing up and down in the ocean for hours each day, even in the worst conditions, now seem to be the breeding ground for insights that allow for progression within my work as a storyteller.

We surfers pride ourselves on getting as little done for as long as possible. A defiant gesture to amphetamine fueled MIT students who congratulate themselves for pulling all-nighters. 

Could it be that this culture of busyness stems not from fear of failure or fear of being replaced, but from fear of sitting with ourselves. The dread of coming to terms with all the time we waste with people we don’t like and projects we don’t value.

Tim Kreider, put it best, “It’s not as if any one of us wants to live like this, anymore than any one person wants to be part of a traffic jam, or a stadium trampling, or the hierarchy of cruelty in high school. It’s something we collectively force one another to do.”

I suppose this isn’t a call to action to renounce your possessions and move to an alternative community in the jungle. Just a gentle reminder to put your phone on airplane mode until you get to the office. Take a dance class. Get in the water. 

It’s the only way you’ll get anything done.