Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The B Word

You know what I hate?  When someone asks me how I’m doing, and I hear myself answering “busy”.

I realize that asking “how are you?” is a social nicety, and you’re not actually supposed to respond with how you are really doing, so I try to say “fine” and “good” and if things are really bad, maybe I’ll say “I’m hanging in there!” but more often than not, the answer that comes out is “busy”.

Here’s the thing.  I am busy all of the time.  There is no slow time of year.  There is never a month that isn’t crazy.  If I’m breathing, I’m busy.

But I want it that way.

I’m a member of Gen Y.  We were the kids whose schedules were so packed with structured extra-curriculars that our calendars were busier than those of our working parents.  Add to that my type a personality, and, if I don’t keep myself busy to the point of being overwhelmed, I won’t know what to do with myself and will fall into a procrastinating shame spiral that is very messy to get out of.  Sometimes, I feel a lot like a shark.  If I stop moving, I will die.

These days, it seems we love telling everyone how busy we are.  I’m just so busy!  You hear it all the time in an exasperated tone.  Because if you’re not so busy, then you must be a slacker, and clearly not as good a human as all the busy people. We wear our busy-ness like a badge of honor.  But busy isn’t honorable, or a symbol of success or importance. Being busy is not a sign of accomplishment.  Doing something great, or creating something you are proud of is an accomplishment. 

Busy is a choice, and a lifestyle. Being busy isn’t better.  And if you don’t enjoy it, and spend all of your time complaining about it, then stop doing so much and making yourself miserable.  And, if like me, you enjoy busy, or it’s the only way you know how to structure your life, then stop whining about what makes you happy.   

I had a meeting today with a colleague who asked me how I was. “Good,” I said. “Busy, but good.”  Then I rolled my eyes.  “I hate saying I’m busy,” I explained. “I’m always busy, it’s a stupid answer.”

“I've got to the point where I just tell people I’m living,” she said.

And that, is an answer I like.  How am I?  I’m living.

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