Human Being versus Human Doing

Our society prides productivity. It deeply rewards high-achieving individuals. However, what rewards do individuals with chronic illness possibly stand to receive in such an environmental context?

I’ve frequently thought that we regard one another as human doings, versus human beings, in our fast-paced, achievement-oriented culture. We’re often preoccupied with crossing yet another task off of our endless to-do lists.

Taking the time to have even a brief, meaningful interaction with others as we complete our errands is sometimes seen as totally unnecessary. After all, we have very important things to do!

When you’ve been diagnosed with chronic illness, the pace of your lifestyle inevitably slows done. As a result, you’re afforded the unexpected opportunity to witness things that many healthy people simply overlook.

In completing my everyday errands, I’ve often observed harried, professionally dressed women. I find myself thinking that I used to be one of them. Then, I wonder if their fast-paced lives will unexpectedly take a turn.

Will serious, long-term illnesses make an unexpected visit in their lives? Will they face the grueling task of adjusting to no longer being able to live such a hectic life? Yes, I’m fully aware that all of us have everyday responsibilities that demand our attention. There are always things that we need to complete.

Nevertheless, our society would be a friendlier, less stressful one if we simply took a few minutes to interact meaningfully with those we happen to meet as we complete our many tasks.

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