When I was in college, I remember talking to my college advisor and he was saying that all of my classmates were having a party. I hadn’t been invited, and when I asked why, he said, “it’s because they figured you would be too busy. You’re always busy!”
I remember at the time thinking, “well, I’m working my way through college but that doesn’t mean I don’t have time for a party!” But he was right, I was working the night of the party, I couldn’t go.
Then, recently, I ran into an old friend who asked me if I was still as busy as I ever was. She lived with me for a year or so and became the mom I never had: she did my laundry, cooked for me and cleaned my house. I loved it! Missed her and her activities when she left to move into the brand new senior citizen’s center. We were talking about her cleaning and cooking for me and she said she did it because I was too busy to.
There’s that busy thing again.
So I got to thinking…..which may or may not be a good sign. But I got to thinking, “how busy is too busy?” I do a lot: I’m in a challenging Masters Degree program, I own two businesses and between them, I work full time, although it doesn’t seem that way because my hours are very flexible. To me it seems like a very reasonable amount of time to work. Others might perceive me as working too much, because honestly, I usually am working when other people are off. They don’t see me get to sleep in most week day mornings, nor take a walk with my dog every afternoon, nor go and spend a few hours once or twice during the week to ride a horse. They don’t see me go out into my yard just to sit in the sunshine for a few minutes every day, to listen to the birds and smell the garden. Yes, I do a lot. Yes, I’m busy. But am I too busy?
I don’t think so, although some have implied it. And there is a shadow side of me that tells me that yes, I am indeed too busy. But really, how busy is too busy? Isn’t life meant to be lived to the fullest?
I get enough sleep every night. I meditate every day. I am in balance, most of the time. I spend a considerable amount of time “being,” as opposed to “doing.” I live this way so that I can do better. I live from the inside out. And I live a rich full life with only the limitations that I set on myself. But yes, it is busy. It is also wonderfully full and rich and delightful.
Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?
I guess I’m wondering, do people really have time in their lives when they don’t have something to do? Isn’t everyone busy? How busy is too busy? Perhaps I should have asked my friend that when I spoke with her, maybe I will the next time I see her.
In the meantime, it’s something to think about. How busy is too busy? If you are so busy that you are out of balance, stressed out, with stress-caused diseases because of it, perpetually feeling overwhelmed….that’s too busy. If you never take any time for yourself, to go see a movie, or get a massage, or take a walk, or do something you enjoy doing just for the sheer joy of it, that’s too busy. If life just seems to be one string of doing one thing after another, a sort of treadmill that you have to keep walking on or you will fall off….that’s too busy. If you are keeping busy because to stop would mean to feel and lord knows you can’t do that because if you feel you will fall apart…..that’s too busy.
Life wasn’t meant to be a treadmill of busyness. It is meant to be full and rich, containing an assortment of wonderful things, like a buffet that you can pick and choose what you want from. And then you can rest when you are full. If you find that you seem to be just…busy…with no richness, no rewards, no fullness, just busyness, then you might want to rethink some things. You deserve better.
It might be time to hire a coach to help you make some changes if you think you are too busy. Or maybe it might be time to incorporate some spiritual practices into your life if you think you are too busy. It may seem contradictory to sit in the silence for 20 minutes a day when you are so busy, but I guarantee it: if you take time to do a spiritual practice every day, you will be able to accomplish much more in your life and feel better doing it. That’s working from the inside out, and it works very well.