People in my life know that I rarely have free time. I’ve chosen to live my life as the Energizer Bunny. Note the word “chosen”. Have you ever heard the quote “time flies, but the good news is that you’re the pilot”. Well, I’ve flown myself off the cliff.
My planner has a thing or things every night of the week. My weekends are doubly full to make up for what I can’t schedule in during the week. The word “yes” is obviously one of my favorites. This was the case until I thought I was going to have to check myself into an insane asylum. I quit a couple of things and am reimagining a couple others. This is not the first time I’ve had this issue. Junior year of college was the first “breakdown”. A mentor at my alma mater who was also in charge of the Womens’ Leadership Program looked at the lot of us and said if it doesn’t really matter to you and it isn’t helping you become your ideal self then let it go. So, I quit a few things. It felt good. I took the same approach this time around and it felt even better.
When I moved to Nashville I knew that I needed to establish connections,make friends, and build a life here in the city that didn’t revolve around my workplace. I’ve done that but in the process I have overcommitted myself. Clubs, groups, committees, oh my! No one made me do these things. As Tim Kreider states in his NYTimes piece The “Busy” Trap, I am busy because of my ambition, drive, and anxiety. Tim states of people like me “they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.” What would I have to face? Loneliness and my real life problems. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I’d rather focus on helping others. How charitable of me? I’m afraid of being unproductive and being seen as lazy. I’m afraid of not using my full potential. I’m afraid that everything I’ve worked for will be in vain if I don’t over produce and over involve myself in life. The trick is that by being so busy, I’m actually missing life.
There is a sick peer pressure of busy. Our collective effervescence is pushing us to “do” and not just “be”. Everyone around me is “busy” so I must be too, right? Tim makes the difference between being busy v. tired. I think I’m bordering on tired and it freaks me out becasue I’m not supposed to get tired. I must realize that I’m not 19 anymore and that if I really think about it I was tired when I was 19 but I just worked my way to break, got really sick the moment I arrived at home and slept through those critical holidays and much needed respites. Then I’d emerge from my slumber and do it all over again to my mother’s dismay.
Is a perpetual state of busy a cover up for the fact that most of what we do in life isn’t all that important? Are we compensating for something? Kreider’s point is quite intriguing and I must say that lately, I am unsure as to the importance of what I do for my 9-5 or 9-10 (depending on the day) career and because of this I fill in whatever blanks I have with things that I have deemed more meaningful. The service work I do has to make up for the fact that I spent part of last night talking about Homecoming Frat Tanks.
The author discusses the importance of idleness. Being idle gives us the time to reflect which is when our biggest opportunities for learning and meaning making take place. On Tuesday after work I headed out to another part of town and took a two hour break on the patio of Starbucks with a mocha, a piece of lemon bread, “Jesus Calling”, and my journal. It was the best two hours I’ve had in a really long time. Sitting, reading, writing, and developing a better understanding of my relationship with Christ. I rarely make time to do that even though I know I need to and that it feeds my soul. I’ve gotta prioritize the life givers and not the life suckers i.e. frat tanks.
Once again, everything in life is about choices and consequences. I need to make better choices about my time and in the process experience positive consequences. Being “busy” really isn’t an ideal state especially if you aren’t happy with all that is making you busy. The constant state of go is overrated. Those things that are supposed to be feeding me are actually depleting me making those activities into burdens and not privileges. The trap is real.
I’m not bragging about being busy I’m legitimately complaining that I need to do better.
My calendar and list of activities is under review. Don’t be surprised if you get an email that states, “It’s not you; it’s me. I’m done.” Love, Krystal