Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Busy, Busy, Terribly Busy

This ad really bothers me.

Lately I've had a heightened awareness of how much our society over-values busy-ness - and of my own contribution to that wrong perspective. Many of us are very busy, and there's nothing wrong with talking about it. The problem comes when we overstuff our schedules, or just talk about doing so, as a defense or justification for our existence. When people ask me what I've been up to, if I don't have anything specific to talk about, I often hear myself reply "Oh, I've been busy." It's the truth, but I don't like my motivations for saying it. What I'm really trying to say is, "I promise I'm an interesting person. I'm very active. I contribute to society. I don't sit around doing nothing." As if relaxing occasionally, or not living life at top speed, should be reason for judgment.

I know I'm not the only one who feels defensive in this way, but I tend toward it more than most people because of how I grew up. My mom enrolled me in practically every extracurricular activity she could find. I would have been happy to sit around reading every afternoon, but that behavior was considered lazy. I'm grateful for all the experiences I've had, and as an adult I am happier when I'm active, out and about, learning and doing things. But a lifetime of activity has made it very hard for me to be still. I fight my natural introversion and HSP-ness, then wonder why I collapse in complete exhaustion once in a while. I feel like a loser if I need a day, or even just a whole evening, to recharge and lay around my house doing nothing. I've learned the hard way to allow myself these times of relaxation, but I still haven't consistently learned to feel at peace when I'm not Doing Something.

Anyway, this mindset is just the symptom of a larger problem, which is that we're all trying to earn our existence. As a Christian, my worth is in Christ and His sacrifice for me, and nothing I do can add to or take away from that. In Christ I would be no less "worthy" if I never "accomplished" anything again. It'll probably take years of preaching this to myself for it to start sinking in.

PS - Workplace pressure to be busy is different, but no less annoying. I witness busy-ness competitions daily at work. Maybe if people spent less time making sure everyone knows how insanely busy they are, and trying to one-up each other, they'd have more time to do something about it.


  1. So true! One of my favourite older women at my church was the queen of recruiting people to volunteer for things. Whenever she got people's first-line of defense "Oh, I'm too busy to help with that". She'd politely ask for the names of 3 people at the church who weren't. It usually got her point across and landed her a volunteer :)

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  3. I hear you! Its so easy to get busy, but so hard to be still. I enjoy being still, not being busy. Being still allows me to do the things I want to do, not the things I feel required to do!

  4. Well, I've never really considered being a bookworm to be an especially positive or brag-worthy thing. I've always been told I read too much. Some people even give me a hard time about it. :|

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