When my kids were in high school and I was also working full time and we were living a fair way from town I remember that I was fairly busy. My life was feeling pretty full of things I needed to get done each day. It is at these times in our lives when each extra little request made of us can feel like a BIG ask. I remember at such a time our daughter Rhi asked me mid week, out of the blue, if we could make jam drops. My answer was, ‘I don’t think I have time to make jam drops.’ I really DIDN’T have time to make jam drops. Her disparaging response is one I have never forgotten. ‘There is something wrong when you don’t have time for jam drops,’ she said as she turned on her heel and walked away. I think there are times in everyone’s lives when we really don’t have time for jam drops. I also think that that’s ok. Sometimes jam drops have to take a back seat to more important priorities such as earning a living and making sure everyone has clean socks.

chook not being busy

chook not being busy

There are times in everyone’s life when we are very SERIOUSLY, truly busy. Such as when we have a baby, start a new job, have some kinder-lings AND a job, are looking after aging parents AND dealing with strange teenage people living with us, and many other life scenarios. Absolutely this is a reality. Our Life Load is 100% and the load feels pretty dam heavy.

winter branches

winter branches

The reason I decided to stop being busy is because it is so over used as a response and as an excuse. What erks me is the type of busyness that some people build around themselves like a protective cocoon. When I was working in a city office the standard reply to the rhetorical, ‘How are you?’ was, ‘BUSY!’ (Specifically referring to their work load rather than their life load.) Really? Are you REALLY that busy? Or have we just started a game of busy one-up-man-ship? Well it takes two to play that game and I’m not playing.
I found a state of busyness is often a substitute for an ‘I’m Important’ badge. I am busy therefore I am. I am busy ergo I exist. Feeling busy equals feeling needed and important for many. But often the reality is that people DON’T feel needed or important and that’s why the busy facade is built in the first place. I use the word ‘facade’ because busyness is often a false front, a barrier built between people. ‘Can’t catch up for coffee, can’t treat you well, can’t really listen, can’t connect, can’t remember who you are, because I am SO busy.’

Time to sit on the verandah and drink tea

Time to sit on the verandah and drink tea

This busy is just so boring and being around people who constantly TELL you how busy they are is even more boring, don’t you think? It is a very confining, restrictive and unmindful state to live in. When you’re busy telling people how busy you are there can be no room for new experiences, picnics, day dreaming, friendly cups of tea on the couch, cuddles with little ones with sweet smelling fuzzy heads, or creative idleness.

Gardening with Poppy

Gardening with Poppy

It is a surrendering (or squandering) of the power we have over our own lives. Having control over where and how we spend our time is where the REAL power is isn’t it? Time is our greatest and most valuable resource and the choice of where we spend our own time is the greatest use of our personal power. When you are telling people how busy you are you may think your telling them you are important, in demand, or earning lots of money but the message they may be receiving is that you have no control over what comes into your life or how to deal with it once it is there.

The board room

The board room

So I have stopped thinking busy is the right way to be. I have stopped filling my life with things I don’t really want to do because I want to have the power to say, ‘yes drop in it would be great to have a cuppa and a chat.’ That’s REAL power, the power to spend time doing the things which are important to me.
And that’s why I have stopped being ‘busy’. Instead I will be, gardening, reading, crocheting, cooking, building, cleaning, and just plain being. That means I will have time to plan, create, dream, talk, read, write, drink tea and make jam drops (if I want to).