Busy. Not Busy.

I’ve always been quite proud of the fact that I’m constantly busy.  No grass growing under this gal’s feet. No sir.

My “to do” list is the first thing I compile every morning as I savor my coffee.  (Now, granted, part of the reason for this is that I can’t remember things for very long anymore.)  For some, I imagine lists would cause anxiety but I feel grounded when I have my list.  My anxiety comes when I’m faced with a blank page.  To imagine the time I’ve been gifted with each day as a black hole of nothingness makes me feel untethered and lost.  I’ve never been prone to bursts of spontaneity, so to simply let things unfold as they will is comparable to jumping out of a plane without a parachute, in my mind.

Some might say I’m a bit of a control freak and, I guess, to a certain extent I am.  I like being in control of MY days, MY time, and MY happiness.  I remember being this way even as a young child.  I thoroughly enjoyed being on my own – exploring, playing, reading.  I was never bored and never depended on others to amuse me.

But, about a year ago, I realized that the word BUSY had become a crutch for me and I decided to purge that word from my vocabulary.  You see, someone would invite me for lunch…”Nope, too busy.”  Or I’d be asked to attend a workshop…”Sorry, too busy.”  That word had become an excuse for me to avoid just saying “no” to something I didn’t really want to do or not say “yes” sometimes and do something spontaneous.  As an introvert, I think it also allowed me to hide more easily.

While I do prefer spending time alone over attending large social gatherings, I wanted more balance in my life.  I wanted to free myself to be able to say “yes” to things more often. I had become so “busy” that I was missing out on some of the best moments of my life. I was using a word to shield myself from living fully.

What about you?  Do you have a word or words you use automatically to avoid trying new things or to protect yourself from being vulnerable?  I can think of a few common ones:  “too tired”, “don’t like”, “can’t afford it”, “not my thing”, “don’t know how”.  You get the idea.

I still find myself reverting back to the word “busy” occasionally but I try my best not to use it because while I usually AM busy (doing things that fill my life with purpose and joy) I also recognize that it holds me back.

Now, I try to be more intentional and conscious of my time and, I think,  it’s also made me more authentic in a way.  Yes, I like to be busy.  Yes, I enjoy being alone.  And, I don’t need excuses to be those things; to be ME. But now I’m more open to doing something that used to be outside of my comfort zone because now, I give it a chance.  I no longer dismiss things by casually tossing out a word.

The trend, as we head into this new year, seems to be to choose a word which will define our next 12 months so, I’ve decided, my word will be CONSIDERATION – consideration of new ideas, new activities, and new experiences which, ironically enough, turns into consideration for others since I’m not dismissing them by saying “I’m too busy”.

Yes.  Consideration.  I like that and think it’s going to serve me well.

What’s your word for 2018?




About Mary-Lou Rosengren

Mary-Lou Rosengren is a writer and author, mother, wife, and proud grandmother who believes life is a gift and we should live it to our potential. It's not always pretty or fun or, even, fulfilling but it IS ours to make the most of.  Click HERE to find out more!

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