I’m not sure when the word “busy” became, what I believe to be, people’s perception of success. I say this because, the amount of work one does compared to another is not quantifiable…unless of course they’re doing the same job. I have noticed a significant increase in the answer “busy” to those who I speak with. I’ve been an unbusy advocate for many years now, and although people would typically reference a life like mine as “busy”, I would never use the word. My valuable time, spent doing meaningful things, does not equate busy. And I wonder, when my response to “how are you” is usually fabulous, or happy, or maybe low energy (something I feel most certainly more often in the pandemic), do they think I’m not busy? Do they think that I am not working hard?
Do people think that they need to justify their life load? That in fact, living a full life is dependent on how busy you are? What if whenever you responded to “how are you” with “busy”, it insinuates to people that you don’t think they are. And what if, by replying this, others feel the need to respond the same so they feel adequate? You would truly never know how one is actually feeling. Busy is not an emotion. Being busy does not justify your existence.
My perception of the response “busy” is automatically, “oh that’s too bad” (which comically throws people off as I watch them try to explain themselves). Or “have you thought about better ways to manage your time so you can do the things you love?” It also tends to indicate to the person you are speaking with, that they are an inconvenience. Maybe they would feel the need to rush, or omit what they originally intended to tell you. What if it was important? Also, let me ask you this. What if a friend needs you? Or a relative? Implying that you are always busy can disconnect you from being someone they can rely on.
Indicating “you’re too busy” for something also suggests that it is not a priority. I challenge you next time, when you are “too busy” for something, to instead say “I cannot prioritize that” and see if that changes your situation. “Busy” also insinuates being preoccupied, resulting in a lack of mindfulness. When we are focused on our to-do list we are not truly living in the moment, and therefore missing possibilities currently presented to us. This is proven to be harmful to your health. It is time to stop the glorification of busy. What if your response to “how are you?” is “amazing! I had the best 10-minute meditation this morning”. Or “fabulous, isn’t having the sun come out just what we all need right now?” Watch the positive impact your response has on the person you are talking to. Watch how it invites them to smile.
It’s time to recognize that “busy” is not how you’re doing, it’s how you’re doing life…and that’s no longer good. It never actually was…