I remember growing up in small-town Saskatchewan where the stores were closed on Sunday and Monday. We didn't have night shopping. Our closets were small but held all of our clothes. People worked at one job and then went home to sit at a table where they would talk and share supper with their family members. There were a couple of channels on the television which went off the air for the night. The one telephone was on the wall in the kitchen so there really wasn't much privacy. No computers. We knew what was going on in the world but didn't usually get all the details until the newspaper arrived. We walked to work and school not thinking that this was a hardship.
Sometimes we would play card games, do puzzles, or read. There were lots of school, community, and church clubs. We built friendships with families who lived in the same town and thought it was really great when we could travel the fifteen miles to our nearest lake only being disappointed when it had algae that day.
My parents saved and saved so that we could have one big family holiday that consisted of driving to British Columbia to stay with one of my dad's friends.
Life was good and I don't remember everyone being so tired, or stressed, or overwhelmed.
Now you can do your shopping or get drive-through food at midnight. Television is twenty-four hours and hundreds of channels fill the airwaves with broadcasts of crimes as they are happening. People plan themed birthday parties (and not just for children) with the goal of topping the last one. Reporters make a note of celebrities who happen to wear the same outfit more than once and some readers try to keep up with them. The phones in our pockets have capabilities that we don't even know how to access. People fly to Vegas or other vacation spots just for a long weekend and many are surprised to hear that you have never yet been in Europe because their teenagers have already travelled to three countries through school programs.
Frequently my clients tell me about how their lifestyle expectations have trapped them into working hard and then feeling that this justifies playing hard. But buying things, travelling, and throwing parties drain your time, money, and energy. Often, they lead to financial problems, sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Unfulfilled expectations can also result in affairs and divorce.
Don't be afraid of doing things that some might describe as boring. It's okay to throw a little lemon in a glass of water and take your book outside for a little relaxing read. You don't have to stay up all hours of the night to watch television or be on your computer. It's okay to celebrate a birthday with just a cake and perhaps a card. Making a short telephone call will likely be more appreciated than a series of text messages. And when it comes to holidays, you'll probably feel more rested if you just stay home and enjoy the beauty around you.
If you are one of those who is tired and feeling so busy, take a little time to examine what is stealing your time and energy. If you are trying to "keep up with the Jones'" maybe, it's time to make some new friends.
Set a goal for spending less, drinking less and travelling less while enjoying the things that you already have.
It won't take long until someone asks, "How are you?" and your reply will be "Terrific!"