Why Are We Working So Much and Enjoying Life So Little?
It seems our world today is addicted to working. We think that if we work a ‘normal’ 9-5 or 40+ hour per week job, that somehow we are secure, successful and fulfilling our obligations as an adult.
I would suggest that nothing could be farther from the truth. Our idea of what it means to be successful is completely wrong. Period.
Let me ask you a few questions to illustrate this.
How is it that working most of our life in an office surrounded by walls, fluorescent lighting, fake plants, computers, and unhappy people is being successful? How is it that getting up each morning and spending 30 minutes to 2 hours commuting to a job that we hate or put up, working an 8-12 hour day, only to turn around at the end of the day and spend another 30 minutes to 2 hours commuting to get home, followed by sitting in front of a television screen or laptop to tune out reality, then going to bed to wake up and do it all over again is somehow success? Is this really what we’re striving for?
And worse yet is we are all too willing to do this for the majority of our lives. Of course there is always the idea that we will enjoy life when we retire right? Wrong. This mistaken philosophy assumes not only that we will live past retirement, but that if we do, we will be healthy enough to do all the things we want to do. But, the big problem with this is that spending most of our life doing something we dislike the majority of our lifespan is one of the best ways to make sure our mind, body and spirit will deteriorate at a faster rate. So, your final years of ‘freedom’ are filled with illness, doctor appointments, medications and hospital visits. Think this is an exaggeration… think again.
And even if we make it to retirement age with some health and sanity left, why is it that we are willing to accept to enjoy the last 10-20 years of our life? Why is it that working a 7-8 hour day is the standard? Wouldn’t it be better to work less and enjoy the precious life we’ve been given more?And I know the arguments against working less are typically about needing the money and material items, but my next question is, do we really need all the things we’ve been convinced we need? Do we really need to have a big house, a new car every two years, the latest smart phone, tablet, computer or flat screen TV? No, we don’t. But by believing we need these things to be happy, it’s ensured we will need to work 8-12 hours per day isn’t it?
And there lies the problem. Our addiction to working is an addiction to consuming. It’s also in my opinion, a wonderful excuse to disconnect from our lives, our relationships and our selves. If I know each day I have to get up to go to work and spend most of my day occupied, then I don’t really have to think about what I’m doing with my life or why I keep buying a new smart phone every year. I don’t have to face the realities of the world and how humans have lost the common decency we used to show towards each other. I don’t have to look at myself and wonder where my life went and why I’m completely disconnected and unhappy. So my job allows me to buy things I don’t need and to escape my life.
So what’s the solution to this uplifting way of life?!
I know it’s a lot to absorb all at once, but my point is to say it doesn’t need to be this way. We don’t have to accept to work a 40+ hour/week job that doesn’t feed our passions or spirit in some way. And even if you decided to work a job just for the money, you shouldn’t have to spend most of your day doing it. Life is about living right? Not about working. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who actually loves what they do—I still believe there needs to a balance between how much we work and how much we live. Why can’t we work a 4-hour day and enjoy more time with our families, friends and just experiencing life?
We need to start questioning the structure of our current way of living and asking ourselves what other solutions are possible. Because, at the end of our life, will we really remember all the televisions, electronics or expensive clothes we bought? No we won’t. We’ll remember the moments we really experienced what it means to be human. The moments we shared with others and the moments that we were happy and passionate. This is what we need to spend 40+ hours/week striving towards. This is true success and accomplishment. This is really living.
Tania Manczarek is a holistic swiss army knife. A trained therapist, shamanic energy worker, certified yoga instructor, massage practitioner and spiritual coach and retreat facilitator, she focuses on healing through the mind/body/spirit connection and is passionate about helping people live an authentic and balanced life. Originally, from Los Angeles, she left to travel the world over 5 years ago to find her own path of healing and to follow her dreams. Now living in France, she offers individual wellness services by phone/Skype, events and retreats in France and abroad.