I can’t, I’m busy.
How many times have you said that very statement? Being busy, the hustle, have become so romanticized in our culture that it’s pretty much expected that everyone should be busy, all the time. If you have one job you are somehow seen as less than someone who works a regular 9-5 while maintaining a side hustle, has a hobby, volunteers, and spends time with their family and friends (occasionally).
No longer is it acceptable to simply have a “regular” job. Millennials get a lot of flak of being lazy, entitled, and ruining chain restaurants. But most millennials I know are in fact kicking ass at not one, but often two or even three jobs. They are up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in a couple hours of their side gig before heading into their full-time job at 9am. Then after work they race to the gym to get in an hour of cardio, before heading back home to walk the dogs, inhale a plate of food, and get back to their side hustle for a few hours before bed. Just reading that is exhausting!
One of my best friends is a structural engineer. After work she spends hours a day in her home office working on commissioned art pieces. The deadlines never stop. And you know what? She is the norm these days!
If you aren’t trying to eek productivity out of every second of the day, does that mean you are lazy? Absolutely not! But that is the culture we currently live in. If you don’t have an Etsy shop, write a blog (hello!), or do wedding photo shoots on the weekends you are considered somehow less! But why!!?? Why have we come to glorify being busy? Why can’t we learn to appreciate the down time?
I know personally, if I don’t get enough down time my anxiety acts up. I start to worry about all the things I have no control over. Whereas when I do take time for myself, I get more rest, feel comfortable with my work hours, and have the time and energy to make healthy yummy food to keep my body functioning! My dogs love snuggling up with me each evening to watch an episode of Parks and Rec. I live for those moments.
So what happened? When did it become the norm to be so busy? I honestly don’t know. I remember being in elementary school and I had an activity, or two, every single day after school. Piano on Monday, Karate Tuesdays and Thursdays, volunteering Wednesdays, and swim on Fridays. I was expected to be busy as a kid! This is not something new, this is something we were taught from a very young age.
But I do believe that it’s a trend we need to stop. Our health is more important. Our lives are more important. Take the time to prepare a meal with your family, then share stories from your day while eating. Don’t book that extra shift. Sleep in a little! Go to happy hour with your colleagues and DON’T TALK SHOP. Call your mother. The ‘stuff’ will never go away. There is always the possibility to be busy. But maybe, don’t be. Slow down a little bit and savor your life without filling it to the brim. You might just enjoy it.