I know this may be hard to hear, but bear with me.
You, reading this right now, may be thinking of all the things you have to do. Maybe it’s paying the bills, starting your homework, submitting an assignment or just cooking dinner. Maybe you have children to take care of, are the lead on a huge work project or are trying to find a summer internship.
No matter what it is that keeps you tossing and turning at night, something on that list fits into a category of your life. You are either a student, a parent or someone with a career. Maybe you’re all three. You’re probably exhausted, running behind on your bill payment, haven’t even thought about starting your homework, aren’t sure which assignment is due tonight and don’t even know what you’re going to cook for dinner.
Because you’re busy.
“Busy.” I hate the word. Probably because it’s been so overused in my life that I cannot stand to hear it become another person’s excuse.
“I’m so sorry I didn’t text back, I’ve just been so busy!”
“Oh, I never have time to check social media anymore, I’m way too busy.”
“You’re so lucky you have time to start a new TV show, I’m way too busy for that.”
Whether you’ve said or been told these phrases in some capacity, they have probably crossed your path at one point or another. For me, it seems that I am swimming in the “I’m-Too-Busy” excuse ocean, and personally, I am ready to get out.
You may be reading this confused about why being “busy” is such a bad thing. Productivity is good, right? It drives our economy, motivates us to manage our time and organize our lives and provides structure and routine, does it not? While I agree on all of these counts, dear reader, I will argue this: being busy in American culture has become more than just a motivational tool to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. It has become a competition between us and our peers to see who can be the busiest, who’s going furthest in life, who’s got the least amount of time for texting or social media or TV because they’re just so “busy” doing more important things.
Being “busy” is no longer about sincerely wishing you had time to relax or de-stress, it’s become a snide remark used to put others down who do have that time, because surely they are not succeeding if they do. In 2019, it seems as though we enjoy being stressed and exhausted and not having time to eat or sleep or do anything enjoyable because it gives us an excuse to show others how productive we are.
I won’t lie, it’s easy to get pulled into the tide of the I’m-Too-Busy excuse ocean. Everyone else is swimming right along, splashing each other with the I’m-so-sorry’s and I-have-zero-time’s. As I said, it’s part of our culture to overwork ourselves, and it’s perfectly okay to enjoy being productive. Where we need to stop and think is when we let the joy of being busy come before the joy of being free. When we start taking pleasure in being stressed and overwhelmed because we think it makes us better than those who are not. There is a reason that being “busy,” is exactly that – it’s a state of being, a fluid shape. It is not permanent and was never meant to be.
So, reader, I invite you to allow yourself to be busy and flourish, but don’t allow it to consume you and your view on those around you. The I’m-Too-Busy excuse ocean is not a sinkhole and we can allow ourselves to enjoy the waves once in a while.