We can all relate to the busy life.
The default answer to, “How are you?” has become “Busy!” “I’m so busy!!” or “CRAZY BUSY!!!!!”
The busy life is never-ending. It’s sprinting from one to-do to the next. Never on time. Usually late. Oftentimes it’s on autopilot. Your body is going through the motions, but are you really there? You start to feel numb to your own life.
The difficulty of describing things for Western ears is that people in a hurry cannot feel. — Alan Watts
A busy life seemingly chooses us, but we get to intentionally choose a full life by identifying what matters and getting rid of what doesn’t. — Courtney Carver
Does Good Busyness Exist? Choose a Full Life vs a Busy Life.
You get a full night of sleep. You wake up naturally or when your (first) alarm goes off ready to take on the day. Maybe you take a 10-minute walk. You make time to eat a large, healthy breakfast with your family. You are mindful during the meal. You get ready for work at an intentional pace instead of rushing around. In fact, your entire day has space and margin between the various things you need and want to do. The work you do is aligned with your life purpose. Over lunch, you take a walk outside with a friend and discuss things about life (not work). After work, maybe you do some exercise or take a short nap. Then you have a small dinner and a glass of wine or tea with family or friends.
It’s possible to live a paced and present life.
The Ikarians and people in the other four Blue Zones are living full and “good busy” lives — so much so that they “forget to die.” The book Ikigai highlights good busyness beautifully (emphasis added):
Ikigai translates roughly as ‘the happiness of always being busy.’
Looking back, our days in Ogimi were intense but relaxed—sort of like the lifestyle of the locals, who always seemed to be busy with important tasks but who, upon closer inspection, did everything with a sense of calm. They were always pursuing their ikigai, but they were never in a rush.
They are always busy, but they occupy themselves with tasks that allow them to relax. We didn’t see a single old grandpa sitting on a bench doing nothing.
The key to staying sharp in old age is in your fingers. From your fingers to your brain, and back again. If you keep your fingers busy, you’ll live to see one hundred.”
Your mind and your body. You keep both busy, you’ll be here a long time. — Walter Breuning (114)
Even the fisherman in the story of the Tourist and the Fisherman is living the “good busy,” full life:
The fisherman said, ‘I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.’