During my last three years of undergrad, I lived in an apartment. One summer, I decided to decorate my room DIY style. I found a quote on Pinterest and painted “Stop the glorificaiton of busy” on a canvas. I chose and painted this quote because I wanted to live by its words. I didn’t.
Now, almost 3 years since that painting, those words on that canvas have come to mind once again. The end of last week, and even this weekend, was pretty busy for me. Granted, the nature of my job keeps my schedule–as I described it to my neighbor recently–something like one giant variable. But even with that in mind, I’ve felt like the last five days have been more fast paced than I’d like. It’s a bit laughable because all summer I was expressing how excited I was for things to pick back up and be busier because it was easier for me to manage my time and rest when I had a full schedule. (I’m sure I meant it when I said this originally, but I’m wondering where that overly confident Jayna has gone).
This business of busyness isn’t something that is affecting just me. It’s also affecting the students I meet with regularly. When I ask my students, “How are you?” or “How is your week going?” the answer is almost always, “Busy.” There may be further explanation to assuage the supposed weight of what busy is supposed carry, but busy remains first and foremost. Why is that?
I watched a video a few weeks ago that focused on the concept of vacation days around the world. Apparently (according to the video) several other countries have mandatory vacation days, and not the type of vacation days that are spent doing other work. These days are the kind that are spent at the beach all day, relaxing, napping and eating your favorite foods (aka: cheating on the diet you’ve been meaning to start for the past few months). In America, people often ignore their vacation days and work overtime. Again, this is what the video said. One guy was interviewed and said something to the effect of not having taken a vacation in years because he’s always had work that needed to get done. It wasn’t a matter of not being able to take a vacation, rather it was a matter of him not wanting to. He chose to remain busy instead of choosing to rest.
Because of how “busy” I’ve been the past few days, and in light of remembering this video, I decided–rather rashly–to stop being busy. I’m not sure if this is a thing that can be done, but I’m choosing to live as though it is. I’m just so tired of how I feel because I’m busy. I hate that I don’t have time, or I feel like I don’t have time, to do things that I enjoy when I get home from work. I’m someone that doesn’t consider herself to have hobbies because I feel like a hobby is something you do often in your free time, and I also feel like it’s associated with a particular skill (cooking, painting, swimming, etc.). But I want to have a hobby, or turn things I like to do into hobbies without them feeling like just another thing on my to-do list. Like this post. I’m writing this blog post yes, because it’s been on my mind recently, but mostly because I wanted to. I had some time and I decided to use it to write.
I say all this because, as of late, I’ve been trying to treat busyness as a state of mind. It’s a lot easier said than done. (The next time someone asks you how you are, try to come up with something other than “busy,” even if you do have several things on your plate. It’s hard.) How easy it is to say that you’re busy and leave it at that. Everyone understands what you mean because everyone’s been busy before. It’s easy, short, almost non committal and flippant. I hate it. I mean, I obviously don’t hate it too much because that word is a part of my regular vocabulary, but I’m trying to change that.
I don’t want to be busy anymore. I want to make time to do things that I love. I want to make time to do things that are good for me. When friends ask me to do things that are otherwise inconvenient, I want to respond graciously and kindly because that’s loving them well, but also because what they’ve asked isn’t actually inconvenient. And if it is, I want it to truly conflict with my actual schedule, not the fake one I’ve created in my head–you know, the one that’s made everyday, but doesn’t actually ever get done. What would it look like if we took being busy off of its pedestal and set something else as a priority?
Mark chapter 1 verse 35 says this, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he (Jesus) departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” This was at the start of Jesus’ ministry, which I’m sure was busy and exhausting. Still, Jesus found (created) time to take care of himself and commune with His Father. Busy wasn’t his priority and it shouldn’t be ours either.
[Lord, help me not let the busyness of life weigh me down. May I seek to honor and spend time with you before anything else.]