Monday, November 10, 2014

The Disease of Business

If you would have asked me last week how I was doing, I would have answered with a statement along the lines of being busy and not having enough time to get things accomplished. Come to think of it, I find most of my friends and acquaintances living this very same busy lifestyle almost every day. Today however was different. No major obligations. No important tasks. No timeline or schedule to follow. In this society we all are a part of, it seems that days like today are becoming few and far between.

A typical day in most of our lives looks something like this: wake up far earlier than we’d like, prepare for our day by eating breakfast with the seemingly endless noise of negativity coming from the morning news, drive to work or school later than we had planned, sit through our day for hours on end, drive home thinking of all we still have to do, complete some form of “homework” (supper, dishes, school work, etc), and try and catch some rest before this cycle begins all over again the very next day…and the day after that…and so on and so forth.

Today, while being caught bored and making tasks to accomplish to occupy my time, a thought began to form in my head. How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

Let’s look back at a typical day in the life of me, Derek Berkshire. Kicking around a soccer ball, making the world’s greatest mud pies (you all know you’re guilty of making a few in your day too), climbing trees, creating the next famous work of art using my unique art supplies…crayons, building forts throughout the house, and living in my self-created world. I had no agenda. No responsibilities. No schedule dictating my actions.

Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that this life I now live, a more adult life with actual responsibilities, is vastly different from that of my youth. However, what changed to make my life and perhaps yours too, one with a seemingly endless to-do list, so different from the life I once lived? When did a family supper, a meaningful conversation with a friend, random trips to the movies, spontaneous phone calls, game nights, and all of those other “past times” we used to partake in become inferior to the life we now live? The life full of obligations, bills, paperwork, house cleaning, schedules, meetings, jobs, and so much more.

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just…be? For me it’s a multitude of things. Technology, the natural pace of society, deadlines. It seems that we have created a world in which we must have no down time in order to feel satisfied; yet, at one point in our lives we felt content with the simplicities that now escape that very same person.

It’s true; life has evolved. To a certain extent, we are forced to live a life full of actions in order to succeed or make ends meet. Our lives are full of schedules and lists and a plethora of other occurrences. Perhaps, we must live this newly evolved life void of mud pies and crayons. Perhaps, down time simply is ceasing to exist. Regardless, the question remains. How are you doing?

As I sat around the house in sweats and soaking in the boredom that my day off allowed, I realized something. Maybe, just maybe, this question of “How are you doing?” isn’t asking what I initially thought. Maybe, it’s instead asking “How are you…how is your heart…how is your soul…how are you?”

With that question in mind, I would have answered this way: I am a busy human being. “Being” used with extraordinary care. No, I’m not a human doing despite my phone, laptop, to-do lists, and schedules being used each and every day. You see, it’s all about attitude really. Those healing conversations, that connection with my friends and family, the fact that I’m doing what I love…that is what makes today—along with every day—great. So go ahead, with that in mind, ask me. How am I doing? I know what I’ll say. I am too busy and feel there is not enough time to get things accomplished but that’s okay, I am doing great. How are you doing?

Hoping your day is great,
Derek Berkshire2014-2015 Indiana FFA State Sentinel 

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