When Busy-ness Takes Over Your Life

It’s already started. All the commitments, all the plans starting to fill up my 2017 calendar.

But then I started to think about what I’d written last year. About busy-ness. Not business. Busy-ness. Being busy all the time, but getting nowhere, accomplishing nothing.

It all started last year with a post from an acquaintance about how busy busy busy they’d been. Doing this, doing that. No wonder we hadn’t seen them in ages. Plans were half made but never confirmed. Either something else always came up, or time just marched in and changed things in its own inimitable way. Plans were juggled here and there, and eventually just fell thru the cracks into an abyss, and nothing was ever done. Sadly that’s still the case. With several acquaintances.

We’re all guilty of that, though.

Many times we think our busy-ness is for all the right reasons. “We had to volunteer at church for this or that.”

“I know we made plans, but this meeting came up, and we felt guilty because even though we’d made other plans, this is really important, and we couldn’t say no. I hope you understand.”

Or, “We arranged to take our parents to dinner, but then someone called and asked us to help them with a project that same night, so we re-scheduled our parents, and I guess we hurt their feelings because they said they guessed they weren’t as important as our friends.”

Or how about, “We ‘forgot’ to discuss plans with our spouse, and he/she had already made plans for that same night. So we’ll pick another night.”

Or we have plans for a big project we want to accomplish. Something we’ve wanted to do for quite a while. We talk about it all the time, but talk doesn’t accomplish what we keep saying we’re going to do. Something else always comes up, and we lose our focus.

And it never happens.

Busy-ness. Or, busy-mess as I just accidentally typed. But it fits!

Remember the song “Cat’s in the Cradle”? That line, “I’d love to if I can find the time.” The dad in the song never did, and because that’s how he was raised, neither did his son. It was always, “but we’ll get together soon. And we’re gonna have a good time then.”

We’re all busy with our lives. My previous job took me away from home 11 hours a day, and I was always exhausted by the time I got home, and when the weekend came around I didn’t want to do anything. It wasn’t fair to me or my family. Now that I have a new job I truly enjoy which is only a short half hour commute each way, I’ve actually been able to catch up on the things I missed out on. Some things fortunately waited patiently for me, but sadly, others didn’t.

Those are the things I miss the most. The ones I cannot recapture. The missed opportunities. We mean well. We say let’s do this or that, but we don’t always follow up. And then one day we realize people we really cared about are out of our lives. And we didn’t even realize it. Or the things we really wanted to do have been on the back burner so long we just give up, because we don’t think we’ll ever have enough time to do them. And another opportunity is missed, because we were just too busy, with things that actually weren’t all that important when we look back on them.

That’s unfortunately how life is these days. We don’t make the time we need for ourselves, or for those closest to us, because we’re torn in so many directions by other things, usually things really not as important as we think they are.

Maybe the busy-ness is a substitute for something missing in our own lives. Maybe we think we’re only liked, only appreciated, only useful if we try to do everything everybody else wants us to do. But most of the time that thinking is at the expense of ourselves…and our friends and family. We can’t be everything for everybody all the time. Because then there’s nothing left for ourselves.

Think about it. What’s important to you? Who’s important to you? Now what are you going to do about it?

Is your busy-ness going to keep you running in several directions at once, or are you going to take the time to slow down and re-think your priorities? Before it’s too late.

Take time to smell the roses, and the gardenias. Walk in the rain with someone you love. Enjoy a quiet dinner with friends and laugh at each others’ jokes until your stomachs hurt. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while and renew a fading friendship. If you’re lucky enough to still have your parents around, go visit them. Play a game of catch with your children or grandchildren. Be spontaneous instead of filling up your calendar weeks in advance, with no nights free.

Those meetings can wait. Someone else can coordinate that luncheon. The world won’t stop if you say “no” to being on one more committee.

But your world will begin to change. And you’ll wonder why you ever let all that busy-ness take over your life. And suddenly, you’ll have a life again.

It’s a new year. Start it off right!

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