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The Busy Trap

Posted Jul 23 2012 9:48pm

Life has been…well, busy.

It seems as though time is passing far too quickly, and I, in no way, can keep up. Weekends come and go, summer is now halfway over, and it all leaves me lingering on an article I read several weeks ago. An article I couldn’t help rereading over and over again thinking, “This is me.”

Really, the article was written about us. Us being nearly everyone in this fast-paced, do-it-all society. It was in the New York Times and called “The Busy Trap.”

I’ve alluded to the  article   twice now on the blog because we’re all busy. We’ve got jobs and hobbies and obligations and kids and significant others and in the midst of all that, we’re trying to stay (somewhat) healthy, eat well and exercise for any last grab at endorphins we can muster to make it through our days before falling face first on our pillows at night.

But we don’t have to be busy. The point of the article is that most often, we choose to be busy. We choose to over schedule our days. We choose to think we can do it all. We choose to believe that by doing so many things, we are somehow better people. More worthy people. But then, we choose to complain about how busy we are when it’s all our own doing.

We’re complaining about something that is completely within our control.

And in my Everythingtarian life, it needs to stop.

For me, it all comes back to this passage:

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

Saying no is imperative for idleness.

Idleness is imperative for mitigating anxiety , letting go and cultivating appreciation . It’s also absolutely necessary for regenerating creativity as I continue to embark on freelance work .

And so, I’ve been trying to lively more freely and more cognizantly. Saying yes to things just because. It’s summer after all! A time to eat your weight in fresh berries, robot dance in the street, take leisurely walks at dusk and drink beer…even if it is 11:00am in the morning.

That’s not so say neglect all responsibility, fly to Vegas and get married in the name of living free.

*cough* Britney Spears *cough*

(P.S. How’s that for a 2004 reference?)

It just means saying yes to a weekend road trip to Door County to cheer on a friend in her Half-Ironman race. And by cheer, I clearly mean drink beer while she bikes more than 60 miles.

It means giving the present moment my full attention.

It means less social media and more face-to-face contact.

And I’m working on it all this summer!

I’m working on unplugging, prioritizing my days and remembering that even if I don’t get work done or a blog post up for an entire week, life goes on. Lives aren’t at stake with what I do, which is a good thing because I don’t know CPR and I usually laugh during really serious moments.

Oreo cupcakes…cherry pies…stealing a Wisco Disco beer glass from a restaurant (not speaking from personal experience, of course)…dinner with a friend even though I had lots of work to do…a Downton Abbey marathon…or just 10 minutes of my time to do nothing but trim my cuticles.

These are the small ways I’ve escaped the busy trap this week.

Maybe try one or two yourself? That’s if you can find a beer glass as cool as Wisco Disco to steal.

Because I promise, you won’t regret it if you do.

But you certainly will if you don’t.

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