Don’t let the title of this post fool you — I suffer from bouts of social anxiety and can flake on you in a heartbeat if I feel overwhelmed from over-socializing (no offense). But for purposes of this post, I’m talking about this modern-day epidemic of being “busy.”

My life the last three (or so) years was NUTS. I was busy. Oftentimes, busier than busy. I wore BUSY on my sleeve as a medal of honor. There were practices three-four nights a week and many weekends of games (and often, travel), and then I added a full-time school schedule to the mix, and THEN I went from part-time to full-time at my job. A day-in-the-life of another “busy” 30-something — and I didn’t even have kids!

And then I realized that stress culminated into burnout. And then apathy. My relationship was suffering. My friendships were practically non-existent. I wasn’t sleeping enough (or nearly anything close to the recommended daily). I didn’t read for a hobby anymore. I didn’t have energy for happy hours or networking functions — or even visiting my family because I worked most holidays voluntarily for the double-pay. Most days I couldn’t find the time to shower (seriously… no TIME to shower). Frankly, I was miserable. Busy, but lonely. Anxious, disappointed, moody, frustrated all the time. There just wasn’t enough time to do it all, even though I was doing it all! I internalized being busy into being a terrible friend, girlfriend, teammate, fill-in-the-blank.

Why would anyone actively create a life like this?

For the last few months, I have purposefully replaced the word “busy” with “balanced,” and I am wholly proud of the strides I have made to feel OK with not being one of those running chickens without a head. I want to be more present, more relaxed, more focused on doing things I love, surround myself with people who make me feel loved and as though I belong, and… well, feel happier about life in general. And naturally, less stressed out. Buh-bye road rage, hello walking to work and listening to a podcast that is enjoyable and relaxing. I’m going to stay at this corner until the crosswalk changes to the “walk” symbol. I am not in a rush for filling what’s left of my time, but content with that I’m spending my time the best way I can. NOT BUSY.

MORE READING:
Being busy is a sickness. (This author also agrees with me.)
What’s also interesting, perhaps a little ironic, is that when I first skimmed this article, I read a quote within it as: “Sounds like a dull day. Have fun!”

“You are powerful enough to decide what you will and won’t do with your time.” How to multiply your time {via PsychCentral}

“The current understanding of work-life balance is too simplistic. People find it hard to balance work with family, family with self, because it might not be a question of balance. Some other dynamic is in play, something to do with a very human attempt at happiness that does not quantify different parts of life and then set them against one another. We are collectively exhausted because of our inability to hold competing parts of ourselves together in a more integrated way.” from The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self, and Relationship by David Whyte.

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  • I wholeheartedly agree with all of this. One of my friends described the concept of balance as a mental pie. Sometimes a slice might get a little bigger, which means one of the other slices has to shrink to compensate. I liked the visual of that — kind of helps put the various things that make us “busy” into perspective.