Thursday, 27 May 2021

Busy Busy Busy


Busy has become a buzz word.  Everybody is busy.  We run around from sunrise to sunset and beyond on a daily basis.  There are hardly enough hours in a day for all our busyness.  Ask anybody out there how they are and more often than not you would hear the answer "Hectic", "I don't have time for anything, I am too busy" or "Sorry, I've got to rush".  The world is in a flat spin to get everything done.  Now.  Our diaries are filled with hasty scribbles and bursting with post-it notes, our timetables have timetables!  Every minute of our lives are accounted for.  Our children suffer the same fate.  They are rushed from school to the one extramural activity to the next.  One can often hear mothers exchange activity lists with one another, as they wait for their children at school. Johnny has extra computer class till three, then it is science club and athletic practice followed by whatever else.  Johnny will probably not get to his homework before eight and he is writing three tests tomorrow. Sigh.

There seems to be a certain prestige to being busy.  A jam-packed itinerary receives a badge of honour and takes you to upper echelon status.  We fear being caught 'not busy'.  People believe being busy equals being found worthy, your life serves a purpose. If you are so busy then surely you must be important.  When we meet new people, they rarely ask us who we are, they ask us what we do for a living or where do we work.  If you want to see them go into wordless shock just give them this answer: "I am a stay-at-home mom" , "I am a housewife" or "I'm retired".  The shock and horror of it!  W-w-what?  You don't work?!"  "What on earth do you do with yourself all day?"  Of course, usually it does not get to THAT question, because by that time they have usually decided that you are not worth much and you obviously cannot have anything worthwhile to add to the value of their lives.  Most put you in the box labeled :
"Redundant".  You see "housewives", "stay-at-home mothers" or slightly more fancy "home executives" are simply not busy enough.  There are no time-checks, deadline meetings, minutes or roll-call registers to document our worthiness and our busyness.

Sadly, there is a price to pay for all this busyness, and we are setting our children up to eventually pay this price too.  We are losing out on connection.  Real, deep and meaningful connection.  Firstly we miss out connecting with our own authentic self.  That part of us which is so much more than being busy.  Being so busy can blind us to our real priorities.  It keeps us from connecting to our spouse, and from being present in our marriages.  We miss out on connecting to our children, getting to know them beyond the cuteness of toddlerhood and beyond the angry fa├žade of the teenage years.  In the fog of busyness we lose sight of the real meaning of living. 

We get so lost in the gathering of more and more stuff and the ticking off of tasks completed that we miss out discovering our true passions and developing our real talents. We miss out on the beauty there is in stillness, and the calmness of the setting sun. We miss out on the simple joy of just doing nothing much together.  There is simply no time to gather as a family around the dinner table, or play a game of cards. The most common regret of people at the end of their lives is the wish that they had lived lives true to themselves and not what others had expected of them.  They regret the time not spent with loved ones, friendships lost and dreams forgotten.  Suddenly having been so busy has lost its glamour and it is stripped of its importance.

Enter Covid.  This dreaded and destructive virus.  Suddenly the world was halted in its tracks.  Despite the devastation this disease has brought, I can't help seeing some of the good which came with it.  Suddenly families were forced to spend time together.  We rediscovered board games, we tackled projects together as a family, we took up gardening, painting and exercising.  We took part in silly challenges,  and redecorated.  We made plans to make an income and many people discovered their entrepreneurial skills.  Many discovered their passions and talents, simply because they had time.  We had a breather from busyness. When the restrictions relaxed a bit, walking the dogs became an adventure.

Hopefully we will remember some of these lessons. Maybe being busy will become less important and really living, a priority.

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