Caution: This post is somewhat long (a 2 minute read), and you might think you are “too busy” to read this right now. And that is the very reason you must.
I have started this blog post about 9 times now. Each time, I think I know what I want to say, but the words come out sounding too gruff, too flowery, too shy, or too much. So I am just going to say what is on my mind: I am tired of people telling me that they are too busy.
I’m exasperated, really, and a bit discouraged. I think “busy” is a misused and abused word to make excuses for not doing what we are born to do. I catch myself saying it, too. I cringe when I realize it and then correct myself. I hear things like, “I wish I could do that, but I’m just too busy.” Or “I could never do what you do. I’m too busy!” I call bullshit on busy because, most of the time, when you get right down to it, busy is code for afraid.
Let me explain. I have just finished my third book, Make Everyday Your Someday: Living Your Life with Passion and Purpose. And yes, that is a shameless plug*. This book helps people cut through their bullshit and fears to live their life in the way they were meant to. It helps people to resurrect their dreams and get on the path to living a life they love.
I can tell when someone is using an excuse to not live life to the fullest. Busy falls into the bullshit category. Here’s why: You will make time for the things that are important to you. That said, sometimes we postpone things related to our happiness because we are afraid of them coming into our life and changing it. You will have to trust me on this because, to the casual observer, it can sound crazy that we would intentionally sabotage our happiness and purpose. There is a deeper and more thorough explanation in the book, but suffice it to say that a part of us doesn’t want ourselves to succeed in breaking out of the status quo. Busy is just the thing that that part of us uses to keep us from changing things up. If we would allow our lives to be full of the things that really matter, then we would have much more fulfilling and enriched lives.
So next time, instead of saying something like, “I couldn’t go back to school, I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time to help you. I’m too busy,” substitute the word afraid for busy and see how it challenges you to reach higher and calls you out on your bullshit. For example, why are you afraid to go back to school or why are you afraid to give some time to help others? Remember: we make the time to do the things that we feel are important in our lives. Perhaps the things in our lives are keeping us from true happiness by keeping us “too busy” to include the things that would be truly life changing!
I recently was given an award from Durga Tree International for my volunteer efforts. I do their press work, writing and sending press releases, maybe creating an article here or there. Also, I am president of the Oregon Chapter of Durga Tree, so I am doing research and planning fundraisers, among other things. My day is filled with phone calls, errands, emails, laundry, research and my own writing for my next project. I shuttle my kiddos to and from activities, and schedule my dinner prep around pick up times. I chase after my 3-month old puppy, and like a new mom, try to get some concentrated work done when she naps. I collapse into bed around 9 and fall asleep reading a book. I love what I do. My life is full, NOT busy. I know what I am doing is making a difference in my life, my family’s life, my community and the lives of slavery survivors that are touched by the work of Durga Tree.
I am not afraid of filling my life with to-dos. I choose my to-dos based on what makes me happy, not what makes me busy, aka afraid, of moving forward. And service is a huge part of what I do because I believe that sharing ourselves and our gifts with others is part of our purpose in this life. I can’t imagine my life without that. If there is ever a time that I am “too busy” to be of service, that is the moment I must look at my life and figure out why I’m afraid to use my gifts to help others.
So I challenge you to look at the busy in your life and see where it is blocking you from happiness. Evaluate each to-do and remove those that are taking the place of those things that truly matter. Add in those things that bring meaning and joy, even if they bring change into your life because it will be those to-dos that you will remember and be remembered for. (Like service. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.) Thanks for sticking with me and not being “too busy” to discover that you might be “too busy” right now to live your life full out.
*Make Everyday Your Someday will be available November 2016 from www.susanmarek.com.