Perhaps busy is a season. Like winter.
Busy. Being too busy. This is something I have made a conscious effort to stop being, and to stop glorifying in others. Recently while getting my hair done I chanced upon someone I used to know. Within three seconds flat she was rattling off to me just how busy she was, and how she could never find the time to just sit down and her get hair done. The shock and horror. Who has the time for the that? Oh, that’s right the mother who doesn’t ‘work’. On and on this (one-sided) conversation went about how she juggled multiple occupations and managed a home sans children. The old me (rather, the younger me) would have shut her down with something sarcastic straight away. I was notorious for that.
But all I could feel for this young woman was pity. Intense pity. You poor soul. And as she continued on her path of self-imposed busy-ness and the importance of it, I couldn’t help think how we as a society encourage this. This constant motion is seen as a marker of success, of achievement. I can’t help feeling the exact opposite. I think it is a marker of great failure. If you are so busy that you do not have an hour to invest in yourself on a weekend, and you feel the need to belittle someone who does – that warrants a deeper searching into yourself.
So, how do we stop the glorification of busy?
I started with myself. I tried to stop saying I was “busy”. Often “I’m busy” was really a more polite way of saying “I really don’t want to”. Now I just say “No” and I don’t feel the need to give an explanation. Just no.
I also really thought about what “too busy” meant. For me, it meant my time management and organisation needed to be re-evaluated as did what I was prioritising.
I stopped praising or glorifying the behavior in others. At first it meant not saying anything that reaffirmed their busy lifestyle. Then it turned to not saying anything at all. And now, depending on the situation, I might ask a probing question about how they manage their time, or make a recommendation about a book I think might help.
Of course we all have things to do. But I never want to get so busy that I don’t feel like I can have an hour to myself, or that I can’t close my laptop and put my phone away as my child comes to my desk and tries to climb onto me. Busy is a reality of life, but the glorification of it doesn’t need to be. Perhaps busy is a season. Like winter, something that we work through. You know there’s something different, something rewarding perhaps, at the end of it. A season of busy-ness for an entire year, an entire lifetime, with no plan to slow down, to carve something different for yourself, I can’t think of anything more frightening. And if I let busy creep into my life again, I hope you’ll do me the favor of not glorifying my busy-ness.