Owning my quiet life
So now that I’ve spent two weeks complaining about being busy, there are a couple of things I should tell you: one, it bugs me when people complain about being busy, and two, I’m a total hypocrite.
Ok, I’m not totally unreasonable. I appreciate that people do legitimately get busy, which is why there are no hard and fast rules to this – it’s like the Russian roulette of pet peeves. How fun!
The root of my annoyance is that it seems like busy-ness has become a badge of honour to be earned rather than a true requirement of life for a lot of people.
I claimed to be busy last week but my idea of busy is not most people’s idea of busy. I still had time to go for a good walk with the dog, make dinner, and then vegetate on the couch for an hour before sleeping for seven or eight hours. But because I didn’t get my usual amount of time dedicated to relaxing – whether it be writing, reading or watching The Bachelor – I felt busy and unrested.
I am one of the lucky bastards with a job that fits into 40-odd hours a week and no other real responsibilities to speak of. By all accounts people in my position should have plenty of time – an entire 70+ hours a week that are not taken up by sleep or work – so why does it appear that so many are running around like headless chickens?
Are they truly extracting more delicious juice out of life? Am I just a pathetic waste of twenty-something* energy and skin because I want to live a calm and quiet life?
I like excitement to come in small bursts because I need a lot of processing time and so consciously make room for this. I need to wind down from my day by basically just lying there consuming oxygen for significant portions of time while the gears in my head slow down. When life conspires to disturb this fine balance, I’m bothered and quickly make efforts to restore it.
This is not for everyone obviously. What bothers me is when people maintain their lives in a constantly busy state and then complain about it. Obviously there are many circumstances where busy-ness cannot be helped even if you’d like to – like while in school or when you have small children etc. etc. Go ahead and bitch – I’ll bring the drinks. But I think for a lot of people the busy-ness is a choice. If you thrive on being a social butterfly while working several jobs and volunteering that is fantastic – so own it! Admit that you are choosing to be busy. If you don’t, then stop and prioritize. At some point you just have to own up to your choices and live the life you want to live.
I feel like ‘I’m so busy’ has become a part of our modern day arsenal just as much as the Blackberry. You can pull it out as a shortcut for all kinds of things or just to make yourself feel important. We strive for it, because the cultural narrative tells us everyone else is already there and you’ll be irrelevant if you’re not.
I’ll admit that sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong by not staying busy (and yeah, this is probably the real root cause of being bugged by people who are). I’m still learning to be ok with my pace of life. My life might be quiet but it still feels pretty full.
*I’ve got seven and a half months of being twenty-something, I’m milking it while I can.
P.S. Kerry recently wrote a beautiful post on living a small life that says it all. If you haven’t already, you should go read it.