I’ve read a number of pieces recently that speak to the “glorification of busy”, such as…
I wholeheartedly concur. I admit I am guilty. Guilty as a dog with the “Who, me?” eyes, licking its chops next to the turkey carcass.
I have played the “I’m so busy!” card at times, and I have had it played at me. A typical example is when I speak with a friend and realize I had not been in contact for weeks.
Busy can be a cop-out, a lame effort at an excuse for not being available. “Oh yeah, meant to call you, but work has been super stressful!” “I would love to have lunch with you, but this week is crazy busy!” Well, yes and no… let’s assume I went ahead and ate lunch and, even if at my desk, probably browsed the internet while I scarfed my food. Can I say in 100% honesty I didn’t have 30 minutes or so to meet that friend and share some conversation?
Busy can also be a form of bragging, right? What we are really saying is “I’m busier than you! Look at all the cool stuff I do!” The dangerous subtext is, “I am overcompensating for other shitty areas of my life by staying so ridiculously busy that I at least temporarily forget about my troubles.” And yes, that can feel like a good thing… I find it increasingly bothersome that we all seem to be competing to impress each other with how amazingly fulfilling our lives are. So amazing that it’s a drug.
Am I addicted to Busy? Maybe, and I’m on a slippery slope…
I do advocate being active, going places, trying new things, and getting out of my comfort zone. I am not suggesting that anyone stop having wonderful experiences. I am advising myself (and yes, you the reader, if you have come this far with me) to continue to work on balancing time and your personal hierarchy of needs, slowing things down a bit, and avoiding being too busy for friends and family.
Sometimes we really lack the time to do all the things we would like to do, that is true.
But that’s the point: we all know life is about choices, or the lack thereof. Do we realize, however, as we utter the “busy” line that we are setting priorities and sending messages?
By choosing activity X with friend Y, on the basis of how fun it is, we may inadvertently send the message to friend Z that they are not important or exciting enough. It’s virtually unavoidable and nothing personal, but it happens.
Can we admit, or is it too painful, that we frequently prioritize our work and activities over simple, spontaneous face-time with friends? It’s beneficial to be mindful and aware of each of our loved ones as we set our schedules.
To be fair, many of the pre-arranged activities are with friends, so it’s not like we are being anti-social. Let’s give ourselves some credit.
Yet, there is always room for improvement. To that end, the questions I am asking are:
Does my busy schedule include activities involving friends in a way that allows for quality time, meaning some one-on-one personal interaction and/or conversation that is more than small-talk in passing?
When I do a fun event and post pics on social media, am I doing it in a “Look at me! I’m having more fun than you!” manner, or was the experience truly worth sharing by virtue of being new, fresh, original or highly unusual? Can I share it in a way that encourages others to try it without making them feel bad if they can’t participate?
Am I over-booking myself, or am I allowing sufficient down time for meditation and reflection?
Am I staying busy to fill some other void? Am I over-compensating for a shortage of fulfillment in one aspect of my life by biting off more than I can chew in other areas?
Here are the really tough questions, though, at least for me:
- How much of my precious, busy schedule would I trade? For example, would I swap a night going to a big party for a quiet few hours talking meaningfully with one or two intimate friends?
- For what would I trade it? That is really the crux of it…
I want my friends and family to know, in the here and now, that as Busy as I may act or seem, my top priority is YOU. I will gladly cancel another half marathon, or a solo bike ride, or even my writing time, to hang out with you to take a walk together or share a bottle of wine, or simply to talk.
All you have to do is you reach out and let me know you want me to be with you. It’s a two-way street. It may require you to walk across the street and meet in the middle, and damn the traffic. Because I won’t let you get hit; I’ve got your back.
[Note: I actually wrote this piece about a year ago. Not sure why I didn’t publish it. Maybe I was too busy….]