Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Remember a few years ago when Sheryl Sandberg launched her "Ban Bossy" campaign. The one where we should stop calling little girls bossy but instead say they had "leadership potential," "CEO skills,"and were "risk takers." (Side Bar….here's an interesting perspective on that.)
How about we add 'busy' to that list? Being SO busy, so overwhelmed with life, crazy, insane, can't keep my head above water, don't have time to call you back because I'm running from here to there, can't commit to anything because something bigger and better might come along, and "oh, my word you wouldn't believe how much I have to do," has become the newest syndrome in America. And maybe it's not so much that being busy is the newest syndrome (because I know we were busy growing up--and my mom and her friends didn't even have Amazon Prime!) but talking about it incessantly.
It seems to me that people like to throw around the "I'm so busy" line lately like this passive aggressive weapon that proves how important they are. A way to say that their pursuits, appointments, schedule, jobs, commitments are more important compared to yours because they take up more time, are more demanding, and are more urgent. Because heaven knows---no meetings, events, paper work, initiatives, after-school sports practices, cookie sales, budgets, schedules, or outlook appointments could EVER be completed without their input.
Just ask them if you haven't seen them in a few days or weeks…."how've you been?" "Oh my word--sooooo busy. It's crazy. I can't even believe how busy I am. YOU wouldn't believe it."
And I find all of that so, so, so frustrating. And I bet it's safe to say that the majority of people we lament to about how busy we are would find it as frustrating. It's not that being busy is annoying--it's the constant talking about it. Because the truth is…..a lot of us are really busy. With things we've chosen to do.
A more demanding job.
More responsibility at work.
More community involvement.
A full calendar for our kids.
Amazing opportunities to advance our careers.
More helping out friends.
Committees.......for literally everything.
Good things. Fun things. Important things. Marginally necessary things.
But bottom line--things of our own choosing.
And we choose them because….generally….they're fun, and challenging, and fulfilling, and stimulating…..at least they were when we first started them.
But sometimes those things become less fun, less fulfilling, less life-giving, and less defining.....but we think they're now mandatory.
They become the things that erode our relationships because we're always trying to make them more efficient (hint--relationships--if they're good ones--can't be efficient) due to the calendar space we've abused, turn us into users-of-people, make us late to the next thing, and suck our joy out of the moment because we've got eight more "moment's" left in the day that we're supposed to find amazing.
So what I'm saying here to myself…..to you if you need to hear it……is to be busy if you want to be. Suck every drop of life you've been given bone dry. But please stop talking about it and lamenting about it and blaming your neglect of other things on it.
When people ask how you've been say "Great!, I have a fantastic job that keeps me on my toes, my kids are loving soccer and gymnastics, I'm repainting my bathroom and it's been a learning experience." Or just say, "great," or "I'm a little tired--but it'll be fine," or "It's a tough season but nothing I can't handle--how are you?," or "I'm really sorry for not getting back to you--I don't have a good excuse." But not----I'M SO BUSY followed by a dramatic pause and sigh and the world-is-ending-but-I-don't-have-a-choice-because-I'm-so-crucial-to-the-sun rising look.
Because we always have a choice. We absolutely do. If you want to be busy--be busy, busy, busy....but embrace it as your choice, not as a cross you have to bear. And let's stop telling each other how busy we really are.
We can do it. I can do it.
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