I posted in Witch Camp:
Who’s going to wake up at 4 a.m. to watch the meteor showers?
Some were yes, some were no. And some were “too busy.”
This year, I was a no. I was leaving to drive North to visit family and losing sleep seemed not so smart.
But I remember the Leonid meteor showers in 2001, spending hours watching stars stream across the sky from a deck chair laid out where the lawn met the fields behind my sister’s house in Ithaca, NY. Her husband was getting an M.B.A. at Cornell University and spent most of his time in class, or studying, or doing group homework.
My nephew, whom we’re going to call Ferris (his choice!), was less than a year old at the time. He was one of those rare kids who was talking in near-complete sentences while still cruising around on all fours, months out from walking.
That morning Ferris was propped up in front of the TV to watch Teletubbies. His dad shouldered a backpack, announced that he was heading out, and told Ferris to say goodbye. Ferris remained glued to the TV.
His Dad tried again: “Say bye-bye Ferris. I’m going to class.”
Ferris glanced up from the TV and said:
Ferris no say bye-bye, Dada. Ferris too busy!
There was a shocked pause before every adult in the room burst out laughing.
(For a long while this was the cute Ferris-story that I told to anyone who would listen. It had a long run until it was superseded by the Elmo and Big Bird story, which I will tell you someday because it still, to this day, makes me snort with laughter.
But back to the too busy story…)
When I think about it now, I can’t help but wonder how many times Ferris heard an adult say “too busy.”
“Too busy” has become a badge of honor.
Too busy is an excuse not to love enough, smile enough, dance enough…
We take a strange pride in having pushed ourselves beyond comfortably busy and into too busy.
But are we really?
I know there are moments in every life when we really are too busy, when there is more to do in a week than we can possibly finish.
When we first began our business, too busy was de rigueur. It was all we could do to finish the day’s tasks before our eyelids drooped and we collapsed into bed. But as our business has matured, I’ve been making a real effort to move beyond too busy.
Because, at a certain point, too busy has little correspondence with how much work there is to do.
Too busy simply means that you don’t want to make time for something you are being asked to do, it means that this thing that someone wants from you isn’t a priority in your life. And that’s okay: everything doesn’t have to be important to you. It’s actually wise to let some things fall away.
But when we claim too busy instead of simply acknowledging that something isn’t our choice, we shift the energy of the situation. We put a negative spin on the things that we are choosing to spend time on by behaving as though our life is coming at us too fast and furious and that we are merely swimming as fast as we can. By denying that we are choosing, we move a step closer to victimhood.
Too busy is a state of mind. It’s a choice to be aggrieved with your level of busy-ness.
And truthfully? I love my work. I love the community that has come together online here. I love writing and teaching. So being aggrieved about doing the work I love is just plain dishonest.
When I’m being sincere, too busy usually means I’m in my happy place right now, doing what I love and I don’t want to be interrupted.
In other words, what I’m doing right now is more important to me than what whoever is phoning or texting or emailing wants me to do.
And this feels somehow anti-social, so it’s easy to default to too busy.
But too busy denies our passion and our love, whether it’s for our work, our family, or watching shooting stars. The tone of too busy can make the things in our life that are positive and fulfilling into negatives, turning them into things that we are dragging ourselves through.
Too busy denies the choices we make every day about how to spend our precious time.
Own what fills your life. Choose it and love it.
For me? I’m trying to scrub too busy from my vocabulary. Instead I am attempting to be joyously busy, in love with my work and not available at the moment, or hanging with my husband and not really wanting to go out.
I’m trying to be honest with myself and with those around me.
‘Cause I am really super busy—and loving (almost) every moment of it!
How ’bout you? Are you too busy?
P.S. Some of you asked, in the comments section, how I keep my life from getting over-obligated. I used Periscope to make you a quick video. Check it out!