What’s the first thing we tend to ask each people when we catch up? Something along the lines of, “How’s things?”, right?
And what do we all tend to reply with a wry smile on our faces?
Yep, between kids, work, sport, hobbies, partners, homes, families, fitness, friends and life… we’re all ‘busy’. So much so that in the last couple of years, social commentators have been lining up to demonise the word.
… somewhere over the past few years, as Pinterest and social media started to latch on to the world of motherhood and suddenly you could see exactly what other moms were doing, a new brand of moms was launched — the Busy Moms. [They’re] the ones who are happy to tell you everything they are doing — volunteering twice a week in her child’s classroom and planning a charity run and taking yoga every morning at 10 a.m. and how they’re doing it without breaking a sweat.
In a widely shared NY Times piece ‘The Busy Trap‘, Tim Kreider takes the concept of ‘busy as a badge of honour’ even further:
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.
While Dr Suzanne Koven last year declared ‘Busy is the New Sick‘ saying:
In the past few years, I’ve observed an epidemic of sorts: patient after patient suffering from the same condition. The symptoms of this condition include fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, back pain, and weight gain. There are no blood tests or X-rays diagnostic of this condition, and yet it’s easy to recognize. The condition is excessive busyness.
So is it any wonder that when we say we’re busy we do so almost apologetically?
It seems we feel the need to acknowledge that, a bit like drinking Diet Coke every day, we know all this busyness is bad for us, but we’re addicted to it and as far as addictions go, it’s a hard one to kick.
But here’s the thing.
I know a lot of people who are both busy and thriving. When you talk to them, their eyes sparkle and they sweep you up in the enthusiasm they have for whatever it is they’ve got going on.
They’re not wearing busy as a badge of honour. They’re not using it as a tool for one-upmanship. They’re not addicted to being busy.
They’re simply both busy and loving life.
This is why I think it’s time to claim the word busy back.
It’s time we gave ourselves permission to be busy.
All the social commentary around ‘busy being bad’ has its base on the back of one main concern that we’re all burning out trying to out-busy each other.