Why work take us out of the beautiful moments of life, and how to fix it

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Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash

His girlfriend felt amazing. She had just had one of the best days of her life. She was rejoiced to share it with him. Her voice trembled with excitement quickly rushing through the words, trying to squeeze as much information into her story. She had just been offered a job at the company she always wanted to work for. She was about to begin a new chapter of her life. “I am gonna be a teacher at one of their school!” She said “Teaching these young kids about their emotions! I am one of the first in the world to do this.” This was amazing news! She looked at him, but he wasn’t there. He was physically, but mentally he wasn’t. He was once again consumed by his thoughts. Her voice slowly faded away, as she noticed that he didn’t care. She wanted to cry but didn’t.

So her boyfriend started to tell me about his day. His eyes lit up and she listened. With joy in her heart and love for him. She loved his stories but still was saddened by his ignorance towards her. He was just creating his own business. He just started and was so excited to share every little step with her. “I have just finished my website design and am now working on the hosting process.” He started to explain. She loved it when he was excited about his work. So she listened to him, with all her heart and attention. Fully present. But her boyfriend didn’t seem to notice, he just rambled on and on. As if he just wanted to share everything and be done with it.

She lost focus, slowly drifting away in her thoughts. He had been speaking for well over ten minutes now without her saying a word. She was mentally exhausted, so she wandered into her thoughts. “Does he care about me?” She wondered. “He doesn’t listen to me, nor does he notice me when he is speaking.” Deep inside she felt sadness rising again, along with tears that she could barely hold in. She didn’t want him to see her cry about this. After all, he was happy with what he did and that was a blessing in itself. He had been struggling with himself for a while now, not knowing where to go or what to do. But this new business seemed to excite him. She didn’t want to hurt him. She decided to stay quiet and ignore her feelings.

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At the diner table

That evening they all had diner together. His dad, his mom, his two sisters, and his girlfriend of course. They all shared stories of their days and his girlfriend shared hers as well. All of them listened and felt happy for her. She could see the smiles on each of their faces. Both of his sisters wanted to know everything about her new job so kept asking her. They too wanted to do this. She was sitting right across the table from him. She saw how is black short hair was a little messy. He must have forgotten to do his hair this morning. But this wasn’t the only thing she noticed. She looked a few inches down right into his eyes. But there was no life in them. He was lost in thoughts again. A glassy look in his eyes, staring straight in front of him. She took a deep breath and sighed, his mom looked at her and then and him. She nodded to his girlfriend with compassion and love.

“Would you like some more Jay?” The mother then said loudly. He was back. He was present again, for a short while. Shortly after he wandered back into the rabbit hole of his mind. Following the rabbit down, and down, deeper into the unknown. His mind was already consumed by all the things he wanted to do. His to-do list seemed to grow and grow each minute and his thoughts kept firing rapidly. There was no moment to pause, let alone a moment to be present. He should work hard and keep going. “Every time spend with others was a waste of his time.” He thought to himself. Which was a horrifying thought. It scared him as well. “Oh well, it’s only for now until I make some money with it. Then we can go back to normal.” He thought to himself. But could he?

After all, a lot of the business gurus he followed said that he should sacrifice somethings to grow. That yes you should sacrifice time with friends if you want to build a business. Those distractions shouldn’t be permitted. This thought kept on repeating in his head. It motivated him and moved him to go further and try to get ahead of the competition. Focusing only on how he could improve his work instead of how he could be just as good as the others.

Diner was finished and he said to his girlfriend that he would be working for another hour and then they could watch a movie or something. His girlfriend agreed and wanted him to snap out of this ongoing rat race. He kept working and working. His business slowly grew. He thought he was making massive progress but all he did was being busy all the time. He thought that being busy equaled being productive, but it didn’t. It caused more stress and more discomfort than it brought him results and happiness. His adrenaline was a mask for his feeling of joy and peace. This masked away all the sensations in his body and how he became slowly more tired.

This continued for weeks. Yet his girlfriend didn’t give up. She still came around. They spend time together, or rather she spends time with him as he was consumed with his work. Slowly but sure she lost her love for him. She didn’t come over as often anymore, because he stopped asking.

LISTEN!!! NOW LISTEN!!

They slowly moved apart and she knew. Although she was increasingly happy with her life and her job was flourishing she felt unhappy when around him. She lacked love from someone. He on the other hand didn’t notice. All he could talk about was his business, it had made small steps since the moment he started. He was just like his dad, always consumed by their work. Never really enjoying the moment that was happening right in front of them. They just couldn’t let go.

“LISTEN!” She said, to her boyfriend. She was done. The anger and irritation had been growing and growing and it was killing her. “Now listen! Do you even care that I am here? Do you even care about me? Do you even love me at all?” She asked with tears rolling down her face. Everything she had felt the past weeks had come out at once. He was shocked. His eyes wide open, his body shaking. An intense rush of fear got over him. Fear of losing her. It woke him up. It pulled him out of the grip of the rabbit and dragged him back up to the surface. Awake again. He saw her. He finally saw her as she was. She wasn’t happy. He finally saw. He saw how she was shaking and trembling, crying and breathing heavily. He wrapped his arms around her. Holding her, with all the love he had in him. “How could I have been…” He thought to himself. “How could she not want to continue with their relationship? It was going so well.” He thought completely forgetting the fact that he didn’t notice, enjoy, or feel any of the moments they spend together.

The light of the moon entered his bedroom and barely lit up her face. He didn’t know what to say. He stumbled on his words as he tried to speak and so decided to stay quiet. He just looked at her. She used all the strength in her to say those words. She cried for a few minutes and the silence filled the gap between the two of them. But she continued. “You have been so consumed by your business that you have forgotten all about the people around you. I don’t care if you do not love me anymore, but you do not even listen to your own family, you do not spend time with them, let alone eat diner with them.” “But…” he said and then quickly realized that this wasn’t the time to defend himself. She was right.

“I wonder if you care about me?” She asked him. “I do, I do love.” He quickly replied holding her even tighter to his chest. “But don’t I spend time with you? Don’t we watch movies? And by the way, I also spend time with my family, last week we had diner together. Wasn’t I there?” His reply was defensive and aggressive at the same time. “You were she said, you were there but only with your body. I can’t remember you holding me during a movie and truly feeling happy. If I looked at you, you seemed distracted. Lost in thoughts. Don’t you notice how your business is consuming you?”

All of a sudden he remembers how he had not paid any attention to anyone. He played video games with friends but all he did was check his phone in between every round. He remembered having diner with his family but only trying to read articles on his phone whilst the rest of them were talking and laughing together. He couldn’t even remember which movies he watched with his girlfriend. He too started crying. A wave of emotions hit him. All the emotions he hadn’t felt because he was so focused on his work. “Would you help me?” He asked his girlfriend with tenderness and vulnerability in his voice.

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Change is small and steady

She did. Over and over again she made small gestures to make him remind to be present. Kissing him. Staying quiet in the middle of her sentence to see if he was listening. Putting both of their phones away when watching a movie and taking the time to speak to one another without any distractions. It were small gestures. Small ways of improving. But he started to be less consumed by his work. He snapped out of it.

He noticed himself getting more relaxed and calm. That his work was still going on the same tempo as before. Yet all the time he thought he was being productive was just a waste. This wasn’t being productive, this rather was being busy. Doing things that didn’t matter, focusing on work and his girlfriend, or focusing on work and his family at the same time. This made him lack of energy and productivity. He was multitasking all the time even though he knew nobody could do this. If he wanted to work he should make time for this, as well as making time to spend with the people dearest to him.

He started working to live instead of living to work. He adored his work and it gave him more happiness, but forgetting to live will leave you feeling dissatisfied with life. Work can be fun and incredibly important for us to live a happy life. We have done it for centuries. But as this world gets quicker and quicker, we might forget to live. Work isn’t all there is for us to do. Jay knew that I know this. I have gone through similar experiences. So focused on work that I forgot to live. It was not until recently that I noticed this. That work was consuming my life for which I was working.

All these small moments form what we call life. It isn’t simply made by work. Work is only a portion of the things we love so much about life. Remember that Today You Live. Each day again.

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