In his much-cited essay, Kreider lamented what he calls “The Busy Trap,” the constant and unwavering push to tack more work, classes and extracurricular activities onto our already overwhelmed schedules. Though we constantly complain about our lack of free time, he said, it’s essentially all our fault.
“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy,” he wrote, “completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”
Kreider was hardly the first person to advocate shutting down as a way of reclaiming our sanity, but never before had the argument sounded so damned rational.
The essay became ubiquitous and sparked a bevy of reaction pieces, most of which criticized Kreider for appealing only to a privileged class of people who can afford to drop their obligations. Kreider acknowledges the article was written for a “New York Times-reading, internet-surfing audience,” but he also anticipated the complaint in his second paragraph, where he noted that complaining about being “too busy” is something of a high-class problem itself.
For now, when I have to defend my laziness (which is almost always), I’ll use this guy’s argument. I think I fit in pretty well into that first world problem thing, but whatevs.