How many times a day do you hear the word busy, or maybe, say it yourself? It’s become a common 4 letter word that I must say (in my personal opinion) is so overused.
A few weeks ago, I was at my wits end one day when conversations I encountered continuously included (after I greeted the individual by asking how they were) immediate responses of how busy they were. By the middle of the afternoon, I was totally done with hearing the word. A friend called at that moment and I immediately cautioned her on using the word busy, only to find that she was hearing the exact same messaging that day. We both wondered if it was the arrival of the full moon?!
So why is it? We all have the same 24-hours in a day. Itʼs how we choose to fill it, is where we have (for the most part) our own control. Does the word busy make one sound “important”? Is it a status symbol to be “so busy”? Why do we need to share our “busyness” to anyone we encounter?
A few days later, I visited with a dear friend and shared my experience those days prior, and how I felt. We spoke of it for a few minutes and then continued on with our opportunity to connect and catch up. Coincidently, the next morning I received a text from her with a photo taken from a page of a book. The text next to the photo said, “One more follow up to our conversation. Last evening I was finishing a book I had been reading and this is the first thing I read…”
Here are the words from the photo:
There is too much to do:
Ever notice that whenever you ask someone how they are doing, about 99 percent of the time they say something like “Good. Really busy, but good.” “Busy” has become the new “Fine, thanks”. I mean, where is the fun in that? What kind of message does that send out to the world and ourselves? No wonder we all feel like we’re living pinned beneath a giant, cement slab of a to-do list. So, the first task is to:
Watch Your Mouth:
Stop talking about how busy you are. Focus on what you enjoy about what you do and the spaces in between the doing instead of feeling weighed down by it all. Decide that you live an awesome, relaxed life, full of interesting projects that you love doing and communicate that to the world and yourself. And then go out and do it!
Paragraphs taken from the #1 New York Times Bestseller, “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, p. 160.
Of course, when illness and challenge takes over, that’s a different story. One where your time has physical, mental, or emotional exhaustion.
So how do you manage what you take on every 24 hours (that you have control of)? At the end of the day, we choose how many activities to sign our children up for, to commit to volunteering, or take on extracurricular commitments ourselves (outside work and family life). In some cases, we need to say “no” (a whole other blog post to come…). Middle age has provided us with an opportunity to do just that.
My conclusion, after thinking about this for some time and engaging in conversation regarding so over the last couple of weeks, is “Whatʼs the alternative to busy – twiddling our thumbs and boredom? How does it feel to be needed and counted on? To have life experiences to keep us engaged, and our minds working?”
The answer is to get out there, enjoy your full schedule, and embrace the commitments you signed yourself up for – along with demands of living our everyday lives. A wise mentor of mine once said, “At the end of our journey, we are all dead for a very long time. Stay active, stay engaged, and stay busy. It’s part of everyday life, and we all are [busy], no need to say it.”
And in amongst those full schedules, take some time to breathe and quiet your mind. Why? Because we can… and we all know the alternative!
Photos: Casey Nolin Photography
D by denise Journal is published bi-weekly. To subscribe and receive directly to your inbox click here.