Stop the glorification of busy!

I was at the pub relaxing with friends when a mate of mine hurried in.

“Sorry I’m late!” he breathed. “It’s been a hell of a week. Sixty hours, I reckon. I’ve hardly slept. Just had to get the journal out.”

“I know what you mean,” one of my other friends piped up. “I’ve been pulling sixty, maybe seventy hour weeks all year. It’s just the way things are these days.”

Before I knew it, a subgroup of my friends were deep in conversation, each apparently attempting to outdo the next in an effort to convince the group that they worked harder, and spent more hours slaving at their jobs, and were busier than the next person.

I listened, sipping at my beer thoughtfully and quietly. I had nothing to say. The relaxed vibe was broken.


When did it become a badge of honour to work so hard? When did we change and become these automatons?

When did we start to value our hours at work over our hours with friends, family, and loved ones?

Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?

I believe that a wise person works so that they can play. But so many of us have forgotten everything except work.

My marriage broke down largely because I felt my husband was far more interested in his career than in me. He was incredibly successful – excellent at his job, at the top of his career – but I wanted a partner. A lover, a friend. I wanted a man who was there for me, not for his job.

We don’t choose our friends and our partners because of their careers. At least, I hope we don’t! So why are so many of us choosing our careers over our lives and those we claim to love?

I don’t want to be busy. I want to be loved, and to love.

At the end of my life, I want to have known what it was to be free. Not to have worked, but to have given of myself to the things that truly matter.

Waterfall, Queenstown, New Zealand
Waterfall, Queenstown, New Zealand


  1. Busy implies active but not necessarily with something that imparts value. Its not important to keep busy. I can keep busy with cat videos. My guess is there are more posted daily than there are hours in the day. We can meet at the pub and I can lament about all the cat videos I have to see and how many I’m missing. But being occupied with something you love is not the same. At the end of the day its not how much I’ve done but the importance of those actions. It would not resolve the issue you raised about you ex husbands indifference. But it does point out the absurdity of being busy for its own sake. In most cases its better to not eat than to eat at Taco Bell.


    1. I’ve heard about Taco Bell and it’s yet another franchise I’m glad we don’t have in New Zealand! 😉 But yes, I agree with you on busyness.

      I’m coming to the conclusion that so much of our lives is about distraction. That’s why when people first find simplicity it often hurts. Because facing reality hurts. All the busyness helps numb the pain of existence.


  2. I will never advance in my job (despite having a Master’s Degree) because I will NOT take job at certain pay grades as they require the unspoken rule of working beyond the 7.5 hour work day. I refuse to be ‘connected’ by iphone, blackberry, work email, etc…when I am home. My job has access to me for 37.5 hours per week and NO more. I actually do not even own a smartphone. I think it is about individual values and how you measure success in your life. Being happy at home and available to those I love is much more important to me than what job I have.


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