July 2, 2012

On Being Busy

Of course you should only do things that you're interested in. But what if your interests are so wide and varied and the number of people to have meaningful experiences with are constantly growing? What is life, if not a series of things to do and people to see?

A recent quote I saw from a friend on Facebook: "No one looks back at their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep." But, another friend posted today "I regret every night I don't get normal sleep." And Zen/Buddhist teachings are all about simplicity in life and knowing peace through doing nothing. But let's also not forget: carpe diem.

I think one thing they can all agree on is that life is short. This was suddenly brought to my attention today when a coworker stopped by my desk to warn me about an event I'm going to on the 4th of July. A woman that I admired and liked at work was diagnosed with brain cancer about a year ago. I haven't seen her since but the event (it's supposed to be a party but every time I say that I feel squeamish and a liar) is probably the last time I'll see her alive. The warning was to mentally prepare myself for how much the cancer has taken its toll. I have never seen a cancer patient. She's in her early 40s. Not married, no kids. Her sister quit her job to be a caretaker.

Living life to its fullest means something different to everyone. There's definitely no one right way to be. Only you can decide if you're wasting your life and probably one of the worst things you can do is try to live someone else's life.

Which brings me back to the original question: how busy is too busy? When are you living life and when is it that you're just going through the motions? What do you need in order to fully appreciate all that you're experiencing? Life is also a series of stages, maybe some are full of action and others full of standing still. It's safe to say that I am in motion and it's hard to slow down. But am I hurtling towards the ground or flying up and away from it? I think some more empirical data points are needed. Either way, I'm enjoying myself, exploring and keeping my eyes wide open.