The Illusion of the Busy Life

Henry Thoreau once said, “It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is what are we busy about?”

Don’t believe Thoreau? Well, what about Socrates, who said something along the lines of “beware of the barrenness of a busy life.”

I’ve tried to stop being busy, but society makes me feel like that’s wrong sometimes. I don’t want to fill my time doing an inordinate number of things. I don’t want to be like the ant. Mindlessly running through life.

I used to be busy, or at least I thought I was. When I was living in San Francisco just about 3 years ago, I loved being busy. Maybe I even used to brag about it. Having plans after work every night. Weekend plans to Tahoe or Napa, wine tastings, new restaurant openings, yoga, ect.

I was running around life like a hamster on a wheel. Never stopping to relax. I thought that by being busy, I had reached some level of status. That it some how made me more important, or something.


But looking back on it now, being busy seems quite silly.

Of course, I would love to grab a drink after work or get dinner with friends, but I don’t feel the need to fill all of my time with activities. I want to have time to think clearly and be conscious of my self. On weekends, I love having a day with no plans. Waking up and knowing I can decide how I want to spend my time. Whether that be going to a yoga class, staying in my pjs all day or trying to cook a whole duck (for 2 people…).



I want to make thoughtful decisions on how I spend my precious and limited time. To be thoughtful, I need time. Time to think.

Maybe try to stop being busy and see how it feels. Sit with your thoughts. Listen to them. Maybe it will change your life too…


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