Why We Need to Stop Romanticizing Being Busy

Last Holiday Break, I noticed that anytime a relative asked me how I was doing I answered: "busy." For me,  being "busy" meant that I was thriving. It meant that I was doing everything I could be doing to craft the best version of myself out of my potential. I wore "busy" like a badge of honor.

 

Being "busy" meant that I was thriving.

 

Returning back to my normal social circles and lifestyle after the Holidays, I noticed this in my friends too. Casual brunch conversations revolved around our packed schedules (when we could even find time for brunch!) We often ended up debating over who was the most busy. Someone would brag about: working full time, volunteering 10 hours a week, keeping a 3.98 GPA. We never got annoyed with this laundry list of accomplishments. We idolized her. We idolized each other, unable to realize we were doing just as much. After so many of those brunches, I felt the need to find one more thing to do.

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With that, I began piling on "one more thing." Over time, one more turned into two more, and eventually I was budgeting 4.6 hours of sleep at night. Strangers in public asked me to minimize my Google Calendar when I went to the restroom, because it made them stressed. I still didn't feel like I was doing enough.

 

Looking back on my commitments, I:

  • Had a 3.96 GPA

  • Worked full-time, sometimes up to 50 hours.

  • Was a full-time, fully engaged student

  • Served as philanthropy chair, service chair, events chair

  • I was in 13 different organizations, actively

  • I volunteered at least once a week

And I still felt like I wasn't doing enough.

 

The day after my classes ended, I made plans to be at work at 6am. At 5 pm the next morning, I woke up. My boss had called my roommate and asked her to turn off my alarms. My friends, my family, and even my boss were worried about me.

 

I took the next week off, intent on accomplishing all the little tasks that I simply never gave myself time to accomplish. I slept most of the week. The next week, I began responding to the more than 200 text messages from friends and family that I had been neglecting. After that, I took the time to fully take care of myself: I went to doctor's visits I had been putting off, I got a haircut for the first time in years, I got my nails done, my eyebrows... I didn't realize the toll that being "busy" had taken on my body. I had developed several stress-related illnesses. It took the entire summer to become functional again.

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After realizing that this isn't healthy, I realized how normal it is. College girls are constantly comparing themselves to others. With the competition in the job market, in universities, online, we constantly feel the need to outdo each other, and to degrade our own accomplishments. We live in a world where being busy, means being successful. It isn't healthy.

 

Our conversations as women should empower each other. We should be listening to each other and learning from each other. Instead, all too often we discuss our anxiety medications, and filled appointment books. We spend our time idolizing the girl who is working herself to death. We destroy ourselves, by holding ourselves to an unachievable standard. But we do it anyway. We romanticize the idea of being so busy that we don't have time to breath. We aspire to be the woman our mothers were, the woman our teachers were, the woman our fun aunts were, and the strong woman we feared: all at once.

 

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It's time to start putting our energy into things that no longer nurture us. It's time that we devote ourselves to ourselves first, and to everything else second. It's time that we decide, wholeheartedly, to do things that bring us joy rather than to fill a resume. It's time that we take the time to sleep, so that we can be awake to experience the world around us.

 

For what's the point if we spend our whole lives behind a screen?

What's the point if we never take time to split a bottle of wine with friends?

What's the point if you don't have time to get dinner with your boyfriend once in a while.

 

What's the point, if all the "busy" that makes up our lives, isn't allowing us to live?