Everyday a reminder pops up on my computer at 2 pm. It’s a daily notification that I set up titled Do Something Nice For Someone.
Lately, I began to feel guilty about ignoring the reminder. A simple click and it’s gone in a blink of an eye.
When I first set it up, the idea I had was to stop everything I was doing, leave the office, and do something nice for someone. The sad reality is that it became more difficult than I first imagined.
And isn’t that a tragedy? It’s easier to stay put, answer emails, accomplish tasks, and keep doing what you’re doing, even if at the end of the day you are not doing much at all.
As Americans, we pride ourselves on doing a lot. We get things done. We stay late at work and go in early, not because we were asked to, but there is so much to do, we don’t want to fall behind. We feel good that we got the job done because that’s what Americans do.
And isn’t that a shame? We use most of our energy to please others, not for a sense of our own satisfaction, but in fear that we might fall into trouble.
I don’t think that’s a life worth living. So, I’ve decided that now things should be different. It’s OK to do like the Argentinians and have an afternoon siesta. I don’t think they’re missing out on anything or contributing any less than we are to the bigger picture.
I love that people see us as hard workers with ingenuity and drive. What great attributes. What outsiders might not see are the outcomes of our constant-work lifestyle: the bad eating habits, the breakdown of the nuclear family, and the rising medical costs due to preventable diseases.
We are working just as hard as we did 50 years ago, but what do we have to show for it?
Many of these unfortunate realities are not experienced in other countries that focus less on work and place a significant value on other vital societal components.
We are a driven people, but sometimes we drive ourselves mad.
Let’s make a pact that these interesting times are showing us to live differently. We can still get stuff done, but we also appreciate each other a little more. Let’s bring each other less stress, and a little more fun.
My resolution for life after quarantine is to read and act on that daily reminder to do something nice for someone. If I stop and think about it, I’m sure I can come up with 365 different ways to make someone happy. That’s step number 1. Step number 2 is to get it done.
Except this time, I’ll be getting something done that really means something, not only to myself, but to someone else.