Busy Bees

“Anywhere is paradise. It’s up to you!”

Walking through Grand Central Station in New York City during rush hour is like trying to merge with traffic on the Autobahn. It is fast paced and all of the daily commuters know exactly where they are going.

One day, instead of joining the tidal wave of people walking to work, I maneuvered my way to the side and I started to watch the frantic movement of the crowd. There was a homeless man standing in the middle of the crowd. He kept saying “busy bees, busy bees”. Many people looked at him like he was crazy, but I think he had the right idea. People were rushing everywhere.

I started to look closely at the faces of the numerous people walking past me. None of them looked like they were excited to be going to work. In fact, many of them looked exhausted. They seemed to be carrying large weights on their shoulders.

I traveled to another area of the city and I watched parents and caretakers walking kids to school. Sometimes the parents were practically running while the child was struggling to keep up. “Hurry, we’re going to be late!”

Is this morning ritual an indication of our new reality where we constantly rush from one activity to the next? We taxi kids to school, music lessons, dance classes and soccer practice. We return home at the end of the day exhausted with hardly enough time to eat dinner before some of the kids are off to another activity. We scramble to find time for the kids to do homework and for us to catch up on laundry and cleaning the house. We finally collapse into bed exhausted. The alarm clock rings far too early, indicating the start of another day where we are pulled once again into this chaotic life cycle.

Now is the time to make a change. It is time to step away from the crowd. It is time to say no. No, we don’t need to sign the kids up for every after school activity. No, we don’t need to buy the latest fashions or toys. We don’t need to buy all of the newest technology gadgets. No, we really don’t need the large house and the extra cars.

What we desperately need is to slow down and recognize our priorities, not the ones we see in the crowds surrounding us. What is valuable in life? What are we trying to accomplish? Do our actions reflect our dreams?

It is time to find a balance in our lives where we can focus on the people and things that are really important to us.

Slow down. Don’t let life move so fast that you miss the most important moments.