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Could We Please Stop the Glorification of Busyness?

This past week kicked my butt. It was the second week of school and I returned from my 40th birthday weekend vacation at midnight on Monday (in case you are wondering, that’s never a good idea). Entering into my week was already destined to be rough, but then add on to it all the start of the school year - and life - demands and I was completely overwhelmed.

My yoga practice has helped me over the years to manage the ups and downs of life in a reasonably sane way. Most of the time. Every once in awhile, however, life gets the best of me and my family and friends might argue that I’m far from sane.

Now that I’m starting to come out of the chaos and enter into the other side, I’m reflecting back to try to understand where I went wrong and how I let myself get so overwhelmed. Here is what I determined:

  1. I no longer have full control over my schedule. My kids and work often demand my time, even when I don’t have any to give.

  2. There is way too much information and communication coming my way and no way I could possibly read/react/respond to it all.

  3. There are not enough hours in the day to complete the tasks required of us as parents, employees, employers, spouses, friends, and members of our communities.

I know this sounds extreme. But think about it. How much of your time during the day is truly your own? How much of it is spent managing the things that are coming at you and the logistical details it takes to navigate all of them?

One of the things that put me over the top this past week was that I in one evening I had three places I was needed and supposed to be, at the same time. Obviously, there is only one me.

These were not commitments I chose for myself, like having to choose between a happy hour with girlfriends, a yummy restorative yoga class, or movie night with my husband. Instead they were places I was needed in order to manage my business (because others couldn’t come to work for these same exact reasons) and to support my kids education or extracurricular activities .

All of these things are important, yes. However, I wonder how many of the things that come our way are not truly necessary. Would the world end if I chose not to respond, not to attend, not to do just one more thing? Likely not.

This doesn’t change the reality that there sometimes aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done I feel like I should get done. What it does though is provides me with a reset button to focus on what is important to me and to allow everything else to just be OK without my response or interaction for awhile.

I’m slowly learning that not every text message needs a response. I’m learning that my email box won’t be clean at the end of each day and that my kids can miss a night of activities. I’m realizing that my good friends will understand when they don’t hear from me for awhile and will wait to catch up when we both have the time and energy. I’m letting go of the “shoulds” in my life and trying to focus some of my time to replenish by focusing on my needs instead.

Could we please, pretty please , as a collective society of tired over-achievers, stop the glorification of busyness? Instead of bragging about how much we’ve achieved and working ourselves to the bone, it’s time to turn the cellphones off, hide the laptop or iPad and just be. It’s time to stop being so busy and start being present with the things (and people) that are most important in our life.

I, for one, am ready. Who is with me?

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