I don’t have kids. I don’t even have pets at this point. I have a job and a husband who freelances his music as therapy in assisted living centers. At work I maintain a high output of writing. He’s never late for a show. Neither achievement seems very hard to us. We think we are models of efficiency — think being the operative word there.
And yet, after all that, we have no time. I’m just at the end of an extended weekend and we spent it catching up with house things. Mowing, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, some gardening. I don’t even know how people with kids have time to even think about their life or where it’s going.
And, mind you, we do house stuff every day. We weren’t overwhelmed with stuff to do, it was the normal flow of things left to do. What has happened to us?
I’ve thought about this in particular after watching a documentary on Amazon about South Korea’s culture of capitalism. It showed people getting cosmetic surgery to look better for interviews, even Botox injections on vocal chords to have “more pleasant sounding voices.” (Is there any real science backing that??)
It showed teens starting their days early and finishing homework at 1 a.m., then maybe getting five hours sleep, tops, before starting another day. During class, if they got sleepy, they could go to the back of the class at a standing desk to stay awake. Falling asleep got you demerits.
It showed workers, working. All. The. Time. No paid overtime. Companies seem to be trying to get a handle on that, once they realized longer days didn’t necessarily translate into more productivity (actually less productivity). But … the overtime continued.
I’m not breaking any news here when I say busy-ness is a global epidemic. But what if you want to stop and redirect your life? We’re not South Korea, but some people live their lives very much like the people shown in that documentary, with every minute accounted for on their Google calendars, even down to scheduling minutes of down time, if they have any, each day.
I am fascinated by this topic of how to unspool a tightly wound life, particularly if you’re stuck on a hamster wheel you don’t want to be on. And, recently I talked to life coach Tama Kieves and financial planner Gary Brooks about this very topic.
They both see folly in a cradle-to-grave nose-to-the-grindstone approach. We all have to recharge and reinvent ourselves … sometime.
You can read that story here.