Deep Breaths

My friends' lives stress me out!

They are always so terribly busy...so abominably harried...so ready to pull their hair out at a moment's notice. Their lives revolve around mountains of housework and home repairs, incessant volunteering binges, endless committee meetings, late nights at the office, drawn-out lessons and classes... The lists are never-ending and each is always accompanied by an exasperated sigh of overwhelming obligation.

Lately, hearing about all this stress in other people's lives and the noticeable lack of stress in my own life makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong. What's wrong with me that I am not frantically trying to cram as many activities and projects as I possibly can into my days? Why do I have the free time to read a book or go for a walk or sit at my computer and write a blog? Do I have poor time-management skills? A discernable lack of drive? A tenacious streak of laziness?

Our modern do-all, be-all culture views a hectic schedule as a badge of honor. I just can't seem to jump on the stress-as-a-trophy-of-a-life-well-lived bandwagon. Maybe my priorities are mixed up. Maybe I should be trying to do more, accomplish more, be more. I simply can't convince myself of the inherent goodness in being relentlessly bogged down with an overabundant schedule. I like being able to play tennis on a whim, or watch a tv show when it's actually on the tv, or bake cookies for no reason at all, or talk for hours on the phone with my sister, or spend an afternoon reading a book, or watching a movie, or walking, writing, painting, playing with my cats, window-shopping, or spending leisurely time with friends. I like having the option of doing absolutely nothing at all.

Maybe I'm missing out on life in my relatively stress-free sphere (say that 3 times fast!), at least, that's the panicked thought that runs through my head when I am on the listening end of yet another vaguely smug, but convincingly desperate tirade against the busy-ness that is the typical modern life. I'm mildly concerned that when I am 87, I will look around and say "well shit! I didn't do jack-squat! Now what?" Perhaps I'll take up a new hobby this week in an effort to combat my low levels of stressful busy-ness! Any suggestions?

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