While it feels good to be productive, busyness is no substitute for intimacy. Intimacy takes time, and when we keep ourselves so busy, we have no time left for the people we care about. We grow apart. We lose touch. The distance widens the more we become involved at work. As we delve further into the depths of workaholism, our addiction consumes more of our time. There is never enough time it seems to do all of our work, let alone focus on other pursuits. Busyness is indeed lonely.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef wrote:
“Workaholics are lonely people. Our work is like a jealous lover. It demands more and more of us. We see ourselves becoming progressively isolated from those who are important to us. We schedule lunches two weeks in advance that we can keep up social contact with friends and then have to break or postpone these lunches because ‘something has come up.’ We get antsy if we are interrupted; we get irritable if someone stops by to talk because we want to get back to our work. We often don’t know we are lonely because we don’t stop long enough to let ourselves know what we are feeling.”
Isolation and addiction go hand in hand, so of course it’s no surprise that workaholics are lonely. We become isolated by our disease. We spend so much time at work, we have no time for anyone else. Not ourselves, and certainly not anyone we care about. The thing is, there is always more work to do. It never ends. If it did, we’d be out of a job! Time, on the other hand, is finite. We can never get more time back. Our time is precious in this way, and how we choose to spend it reflects what we value most in the world. In the same way that the more time we spend at work, the more of our time work demands, the less time we spend with people, the less time they want to spend with us. When we continually let our friends and family down, when we put work before them, we teach them not to trust us. We show them that we don’t value them very much. How do you think that makes them feel? How would we feel if the tables were turned? Jobs come and go, but the people in our lives should be forever. Eventually if we keep us this behavior we will be left with no one. Our loneliness hurts us as much as it does other people. Life is meant to be shared. Spend time on what truly matters.