If you know me well, you know that I am always doing something. If you don’t know me well, you’ll still know that I am always doing something. I am constantly on the go, busy and working on something .. else. But why am I doing what I am doing? Is being busy really good?
I think that we live in a world where being busy is praised. We all want to be a part of something. We all want to get to places. If you walk down the street of a big city with good academics and advanced careers flying about everywhere, like Boston or Seoul, you will hear people “complaining” how busy they are. “I’m doing 7 different organizations and I’m on executive board for 4 of them.” “I’m working on 3 different projects at work and I barely sleep.” “I have 5 social events going on tonight, and I’ll have to jump around for all of them – I must say hi, at least.” Sound at all familiar?
There is a story about a fisher and a businessman. A businessman is on a business trip in the countryside near the oceans. As he is hurrying to get to the next destination after a lunch meeting, he notices a fisherman, just lying on his boat, whistling to himself, with a bottle of beer in his hand. The businessman finds this baffling – “How can he be wasting time like this? It’s only the middle of the day?” – and decides to talk to him. “Excuse me, are you done for the day?”, the businessman asks. “Yes.”, the fisherman replies. “But how can you be done already? The day is so young!” “I decided to take today off.” Ever more confused, the businessman inquires: “Don’t you think you can do better than this? Do you not have life goals?” “Okay. Let me ask you this: do you have goals?” The fisherman answers in a question. The businessman thinks and says “I am going to get this contract at the meeting I am going to later.” “Then what?” “It will help me get the promotion I’ve been waiting for.” “Then what?” “I will get higher salary.” “Then what”? “I will invest that money and in a few years, by the time I retire, I will have enough money to buy a boat!” “Then what?” “I will then lie on my boat and have a beer, not worrying about the future anymore!” “That is exactly what I am doing.” Says the fisherman.
The story ends with the businessman having learned a lesson, and obviously it being a story, it lacks credibility or realistic standards, but the point is clear: don’t always be chasing after the future. We’re so caught up in what will happen in the future that we often forget to live today, forget that today also has amazing things to offer. It’s great if you love being busy. But don’t be so busy for a better future that you don’t have time to live today.
We only live once. And like the song goes, “No day but today.”*
*Song “No day but today” is from award-winning musical Rent.
Written by: Jess (Ye Seul) Kim
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