What Happens When We Aren’t Busy?

Being busy is a status symbol these days. Ask someone how they are doing or what they’ve been up to, and chances are you might hear the word “busy” in their response. If busyness is the currency of the 21st Century, we all want to be Bill Gates (or P. Diddy).

Now I will be the first to admit that I’ve fallen prey to the busyness phenomenon.

To work on that, I decided I would not use the word “busy” in my responses to people when they asked how I was doing or what I was up to. “Busy” was now verboten. This made me start to get more creative in my responses:

Person: How are you doing?
Me: Oh man, I am so b-uh.. (*cough*)
Person: Bubbly?
Me: Huh? Oh, yes. Bubbly! You know, like uh…happy.
Person: (Gives me side eye) Ohhhkaaay…
Me: Because… I am just so happy, that it’s like I’m overflowing with it. Like champagne … with bubbles? And … I just love champagne! How about you? (Phew! Good recovery. Everyone loves champagne).
Person: Oh, I love champagne, but I’m just so busy. I never have time to sit down and drink it anymore.
Me: (Uggghhh!) Oh no. That sounds tough.
Person: It is. And my to do list is so long!
Me: (*forehead slap*)

What was interesting about this exercise is that it made me realize that there were many other things going on in my life aside from just being busy. And in addition to stretching my vocabulary, it made me question how busy I really was. Was I actually busy or was I just feeling the pressure to be busy?

Since I have put the word “busy” in time out, I have noticed that I have made room for other things, not just synonyms for busy other words.

For example, just this past week, I was busy working on getting a few things done while two of my three kids napped. Just when I felt like I was getting into productive mode, my oldest came up and asked me if we could ride bikes. I hemmed and hawed initially – we can’t all go bike riding with a baby, the other kids are napping, I need to cook dinner – and then she asked “Please? Just for 10 minutes?” I stopped and thought about it (Do I have 10 minutes to go bike riding? Will it take 10 minutes?). I looked down at her and saw how completely excited she was to go bike riding for 10 minutes (insert big puppy eyes) and also how ridiculous it would be if I didn’t have ten minutes to take my kid out on a bike ride. Of course I have 10 minutes! I told myself. How could I not have 10 minutes? What do I live in a prison camp or something?

So, I asked my hubby if he could take a break from what he was working on to watch the other two kids if they woke up while I took my oldest on a bike ride. I even set the timer for 10 minutes (Type A people, right?). And when it went off, I said, “Hey, do you wanna go around the block again? I bet we could stay out for a couple more minutes.” It was a great decision and a great reminder that maybe we aren’t as busy as we think we are.

I hope you’ll question your own busyness.  Let me know how it goes!







One Comment Add yours

  1. I think being a mom is an extra pressure to always be “busy.” Just yesterday I sat and watched the last episode of Handmaid’s Tale (that I had been meaning to watch for two weeks) and then finished up writing a blog post. And the entire time I had to keep reminding myself it was just fine to do things for myself and I don’t ALWAYS have to be productive when I have a kid-free / work-free moment.

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