Walk the dog. Schedule conference call. Call the boyfriend. Hang out with the girlfriend. Brunch on Saturday, photo shoot in the PM, downtime with the partner in the post-PM.
I’ve read (and written) many an article providing tips for slowing down our overworked minds and bodies. In this day and age, everyone is in constant overdrive, and they’re always too busy. Busy at work, busy at non-work, busy on the internet. Busy in their minds, busy living.
And everybody wants to get un-busy.
People have held up their phones to me to show me how many messages they’ve had to ignore to get some peace of mind. “Look. Look at how many.” I’ve read articles advising people on the best way to turn down a holiday party invite that they just can’t make time for in their overbooked holiday party schedule.
I just can’t say that I’ve ever been able to relate. I do empathize – it can’t be fun to have no time to relax and think for yourself – but also envy those who always seem to have places to go, places that energize them, where they are wanted or needed in some way.
I’m not saying that being too busy isn’t a problem. I’m not saying that I wish to have over 2,000 emails in my inbox (I’ve seen that, and it doesn’t look like any fun at all). I agree with that little campaign called “Stop the Glorification of Busy.” Having a busy schedule doesn’t dictate your worth as a human being. And it’s essential to take time for yourself, to recharge and get in touch with your inner being, whoever that may be.
But my own experience has just been very different. And I ask myself, How does one go about living a full life? To those of you who do, it might seem incredibly simple, and you might even be wondering whether I have any common sense at all. Or you might actually envy me, and wish you could go back to having too much free time.
I’ve questioned my personality – my introversion, my shyness – and wondered if these factors have made me less primed to live in this world. Why am I so unbusy in comparison to those I know? Do I have to be more ballsy or more aggressive? Do I need to, I don’t know, have shinier hair? As silly as it is, this just goes to show that I don’t even know where to begin deconstructing unbusiness, understanding what the “busy ideal” is and what that could look like and, ultimately, what my priorities really are.
It’s not for a lack of trying. I found a new job after a (relatively short yet eternal) period of unemployment, have contacted a dozen people in my contact list who, as it turns out, are living very busy lives, and spend my abundant free time writing for this blog, reading, journaling, and engaging in other creative – as well as plain ol’ lazy – pursuits.
I recognize that everyone’s definition of a full life is vastly unique. And I know that when the projects I’m working on at work pick up, I’ll most likely wish to have more free time again. Maybe life is just a cycle, and we just have to navigate its ebbs and flows as best we can.
I love slow mornings, and taking time to nourish my mind, body, and soul. And I think that the have-it-all-can-do image, particularly for young women, has created an ideal where we feel like we’re never enough, and that we’re never doing enough.
But in a world where everyone seems to bite off more than they can chew, and is moving full speed ahead, you can’t help but feel a little left behind. I’m not referring to #FOMO, as this is a lot more than a fear of missing out on what others are doing. It’s about trying to find your own footing in a world that seems built from a blueprint that doesn’t fit who you are, and feeling like a missing puzzle piece.
I can see how empowering it might be to be that missing piece. But in the process of building my life, I wonder whether I really am missing something, or if it’s just an illusion we all cling to.