It seems a bit crazy to me that our society has associated success with being busy. In fact it seems most people – particularly women, are trying hard to win the “Busiest Mom of the Year” award. We’ve some how equated that in order to be valuable as people we must be busy at all times. It’s all getting to be a bit exhausting don’t you think?
Believe me I understand… being busy isn’t an option. It’s just going to be a way of life for a while. I know I know, you have laundry to do, meals to make, a job to do, kids to run to sports, a husband to build a relationship with, volunteer responsibilities, a garden to weed, homework to help with, a work out to do…… I believe you, I know you are busy, because so am I. We are all busy… probably too busy, but let’s just stop for a minute and think about how we use our words. I have a couple thoughts for you to consider.
Everything takes time, and everything comes at a cost. We are each given 24 hours in a given day. What we do with them is our choice. It would seem that some people have the God given ability to pack more activities or accomplishments in to each of those hours. The fact is that some people definitely have a higher energy level than others, and some are better at organizing their time than others, but I think in most situations the choices we make can directly effect both of those facts. I am a FIRM believe that exercising gives you more energy than you realize. I know most people don’t believe me, but I was probably one of the least fit and active people I knew in my teens and 20’s, and even well into my 30’s. Other than chasing a bunch of kids around and climbing the stairs with endless baskets of laundry, I did not exercise. In my mid 30’s I decided to change that. I started walking and then running. I know how hard that is to start, and even harder to keep up. Trust me there are many mornings at 6am where I would MUCH rather just stay in my bed, but I don’t. I get up and I get moving. I know you are tired at 6am… guess what, so am I. I’m not a morning person at all by nature. I have found however that the days I make myself do it are the best days I have. My energy level is great and it’s amazing what I can accomplish in a day. Don’t tell me you are too tired to exercise, as my reply will simply be you would be less tired if you worked out. Sorry but it’s true. Now obviously there are health situations that are going to change this, but for the vast majority of relatively healthy people out there the excuse that you don’t have time or energy to work out simply doesn’t wash with me. So get a move on 🙂
Within our time each day we make choices…. we pick to do the things we enjoy. This makes perfect sense to me. For example, I like gardening and crafting. I don’t enjoy playing organized team sports. Some people may say they don’t have time to garden… I don’t have time to play volleyball or baseball. But let’s be clear, these are both choices. I simply choose to garden, and someone else may choose to play sports. Neither is wrong. But I can’t justify my lack of desire to play a sport by saying that I have gardening to do…. I mean I suppose I could try, but I wish we would all just start calling it like it is. When someone asks me if I want to join their team it makes more sense for me to say that I’m not interested, or that I don’t enjoy it rather than to say I’m too busy. The fact is everyone else on the team is busy too. They all have families and responsibilities…. mine are no more important or busy than theirs, I’m just making a choice about how I spend my time.
I also know we are making choices about how we are raising our kids in regards to time. I want to raise well rounded healthy happy kids, no doubt about it. I do think however we need to stop and think about what we are giving our kids by having them involved in so many actives. Sure they can play 3 sports and 2 instruments, but when was the last time you ate dinner as a family without having to run out the door? I would definitely argue that spending time as a family (and particularly around the dinner table) is as important or maybe even more important in raising healthy happy kids as any sports team could ever be. We are so determined to give our kids opportunities that we are neglecting to realize that by over scheduling our lives we are hurting our families. There are times that the benefit we are trying to give our kids by putting them in extra-curriculars is stressing us out and eating away at our family relationships. Don’t get me wrong… my kids are in sports, and take music lessons. It’s awesome. I wouldn’t change it…. but we do try to keep things at a reasonable level. One sport per season per kid and one instrument if they want to play. That’s all our family can take. We are good with it. For some people that’s too much… some families can handle more and do an awesome job with it. But I challenge to alteast acknowledge that when you put time into one thing you take it from somewhere else. Something always has to give. Remember we all have the same 24 hours.
And here’s the hard one…. how much time are we wasting? How much time are you spending looking at the screen on your phone. Do you even know? How easy is it for one episode on Netflix to roll into the next one? How often do you check our Facebook feed? I know the answer for me is way too many. It something I fight with all the time. It’s so easy to just check one quick thing and then look up to realize that half an hour has passed. That half an hour could have been used to call your mom, or check in with your girlfriend…. or bake a batch of cookies. Just about anything would be a better use of time. It is definitely something I have to work at daily and be more disciplined about. I know for certain that I’ll never look back at my life and wish I had spent more time playing Candy Crush. If I’m not really careful my lovely little time saving electronics aren’t really saving much time at all, intact they are doing quite the opposite.
It also seems to me that as a society some where along the line our general chit chat in life has changed. I think we used to talk more about about current events, or even the weather. It seems now that a standard question when we great each other is something like this …. Hi, How are you doing? Are you keeping busy? — and the the conversation about our busy-ness begins…. and all too often everyone is trying to justify to others just how busy they are. Like it’s a competition. I’m kind of over it. I trying to be more conscious to refrain from asking the question of how busy someone is, and instead ask them a more direct question about one of their children or family members. Or an event or activity I know they’ve recently been involved in. Hi, How are you, How was little Susie’s dance recital? Did your parents have a nice anniversary party? It’s a much nicer conversation. I’m also trying to answer differently when someone asks me that wonderful question of am I keeping busy….. instead of giving them my report card on how exactly how busy I am, I simply say “Busy enough” – Because let’s face it …. I think the only prize that comes from being the busiest is resentment, burnout and exhaustion…. which really is no prize at all. I challenge you to think about why you are so busy and at what cost it comes to you and your family. If you and your family are happy and healthy then good on you for finding a balance, but if you aren’t think about what you should maybe be adjusting to find some peace, and maybe for a minute, instead of being busy, just be.