The stank of August has lingered into the first days of September. Much like the body odor that collects on/in the The H’s workout shirts, I try all the remedies, but it still lingers and eventually I just throw them away. I can’t throw the month away, but I can re-purpose it into dust rags. The rest of September will be great, I just know it. There already have been bright moments with friends coming to visit, social gatherings, a full weekend off of work, and fall starting to work its magic.
I have been busy lately, and busyness (at least for me) can sometimes lead to me to throw away – of the little I have – all patience, be hyper-emotional, and overall just a plain ol’ grump. But between the couple of you reading one of you might be thinking, “Well, I like being busy.” Do you really? Or do you like to be consicously occupied?
As my schedule picked up speed over the last month, August kept throwing dirt on the world, and I started working with someone who seems to take pride in being busy all the time, I remembered a wonderful question/comment that I read earlier this summer. I would cite my source, if I remembered where I read it or whose Fbook wall I read it off of. (Hanging preposition, FTW!) Amanda, was it you?
Essentially the question/phrase was, “Is being ‘busy’ something we should be proud of?”
Many times in my life I have thrived off being “busy.” Bouncing from one thing to another, only having time to eat in the car, skipping showers between engagements (oh, don’t pretend like you’re aghast), etc. And a lot of those times, I enjoyed that pace. I wasn’t busy, I was actually meaningfully occupied. I picked up this distinction from this blog, Clarity on Fire. Please go read it now and then return to to this post.
Am I busy or am I meaningfully occupied? Are you busy or are you meaningfully occupied?
After I thought about it, I never have really liked being busy. It is stressful. It makes me emotional. It makes me grouchy. I will never really take pride in being busy again. It is not a description of my life I will give to people to impress them. What I do like is being meaningfully occupied. As someone who has struggled with being ashamed and embarrassed of being “not too busy” for the last two years of underemployment, I felt lighter after I thought about this whole idea that busy = making you important.
While I’ve stressed, complained, bemoaned, begrudged, and, at times, misty-eyed my way through the last few weeks, this new way of phrasing really has helped me enjoy my free time much more.
The next time you start to answer the proverbial, “How are you?” with, “Busy!” I challenge you to rephrase your answer.