The Need to Be Busy: Are Humans Really Hamsters?

hamster wheel Today, I stood outside and observed the peacefulness of my animals as they lay in the shade.

I thought: Why do we humans hurry so much? We hurry at everything. We hurry to eat breakfast, hurry to get into our cars, hurry to get to the traffic light, hurry to get to work, hurry to get through the day, hurry to get home, and then hurry through dinner so we can plunk down in front of the TV. The only thing we do not seem to hurry at is getting up in the morning.

I concluded: Humans seem to have a great need to be busy.

Watch them. They are busy on their phones, busy texting, busy on their iPods, busy running errands, busy at work, busy taking their kids here and there, and busy trying to get ahead. Like ants, they scurry from one thing to the next.

Now, look at the animals. They know how to be still. Few humans know how to be that still and that peaceful. Most humans I know think it would be the height of laziness to sit outside and do nothing, or to read a book in the middle of the day. They spend their day in robot mode going from one task to the next as quickly as they can. It doesn’t seem to matter if they have a single meaningful conversation. Maybe it is important for the world to see them as busy and industrious. I guess if they accomplish that then they are ruled to be “productive.”

They remind me of Hammy, my childhood hamster. He got on his wheel and ran. He never got anywhere, but he still kept running. However, unlike the humans, Hammy had no choice. He was stuck in that cage so he exercised the best way he could.

I wonder if humans realize they too live in a cage. If one’s main objective in life is to meet the expectations of others, then you build walls around yourself. Those walls limit you, and soon you too live in a cage — albeit an invisible one — but still a cage that keeps you, your mind, and your imagination staying in one place.

For me? Today, I fought back against all the rules of my upbringing. I stopped and sat down in the middle of the day. Not in front of the television or at the computer, but outside. I looked at the beauty around me. At first, being that still made me edgy. I started to get up. I stopped, sat back down and watched my animals. I did it every day for a week.

Slowly, I began to learn the rewards of being still.

Try it. By being still with yourself, you might just meet your new best friend.


Who is Holly Lewitas?

Holly Lewitas is the author of the Spunky Murder Mystery Series — cozy mysteries for dog and cat lovers. Books include: The Nose KnowsThe Nose Sees All and An Army of Noses. You are invited to connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.


Photo: “Hamster in a Wheel” by Dan Derrett is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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