A few months ago, I added to my daily life by taking on a part-time job. During the main part of the day, I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. However, in the evenings, I take on the role of fitness coach at a local gym for women.
I really enjoy spending a few hours every evening at the gym. I like exercising and I like helping other women with their fitness. It’s a rewarding position for me.
For the most part, my clients are motivated and fun to be around. However, I did notice a trend almost immediately after starting work. It’s a trend that, quite frankly, irritates me.
I’m so busy…
The trend that I’ve noticed is what I have come to refer to as the Busy Badge.
I started noticing that when I would ask people how their days had been, the answer I’d receive was never one stating good or bad. The answer would always come out as, “So busy! I’m just so, so busy!”
It really didn’t matter who I would ask. Everyone from school teachers to nurses to stay-at-home moms and retirees all had the same response…
After a while, I started paying attention to the conversations that went on in the gym, and I realized that the busyness got worse. Not only do all these women proclaim to be busy, but they seem to be competing over it.
Who is doing the most?
Whose job is more stressful?
Who has more kids in more activities?
Who has a bigger house to clean?
Who has more to cook?
Who runs more errands?
Oh my gosh, it goes on and on!
What brought me to this post was a conversation I had just a couple nights ago. I knew the client had just finished up a two week break/vacation from her job. She hadn’t been in to workout during that break, so I asked her how her time off was…
Her: “Oh, it was wonderful. I was able to just relax.”
Me: “That’s great! Sometimes our bodies need that time to just recharge.”
Her: “Yes! I even stayed in my pajamas for half the day most days.”
Me: “Heck yeah! That sounds like a great thing for you. Sometimes you just need to sit and be.”
Her: “Oh, no, I still did a lot. I can’t just sit. There is so much to get done. I am so busy!”
Here we go… even in a time of relaxation, she is busy. And then she went on to list all the millions of little things she did instead of actually relaxing.
I listened. And then I asked, “So, do you ever just quiet your thoughts and just let yourself be?”
Her: “Oh, I could never do that! I’m so busy all the time.”
And there it was. Over and over, the repetition of that word busy. Like some badge of honor that must be thrown out at every turn.
I really believe that we live in a culture of busy. Everyone has to do everything. And many people train their kids to believe the same. They put their children in every activity available, creating absolutely zero downtime, and total burnout by age ten. It’s no wonder children are so stressed between school, homework, sports, dance, private lessons for this or that, church, scouts, and everything else.
And parents… work, home, parenting, social life, carting kids around to every activity, trying to make time for self-care…
And all of it interrupted by the distractions of life… clutter in physical, mental, and digital forms.
It’s a lot going on, no wonder everyone is so busy!
And because busyness seems to be rewarded by society (after all, if you are busy then you are living an awesome life!), people have gone from normal conversations of how a day was to expressing all their feelings about the busyness – gotta keep up, don’t ya know?!
It makes me sad for people.
And it makes me happy to be a minimalist.
Minimalism has given me a sense of freedom from all the busyness. I don’t have a lot of physical distractions surrounding me, I’ve downsized social media to a point where it doesn’t suck all my time away, and I’ve managed to mentally declutter as well.
Yep, I’ve learned how to just sit and be. I can relax, breathe, and just enjoy the world around me.
Sure, there will be seasons is everyone’s life where things get busy, but in my life it’s not something to brag about. If I get busy to the point of needing to tell others about it, then I know it’s time to minimize something. For example, taking on a part-time job while homeschooling two kids is not as easy as it sounds. When I took the job, I was promised every other Friday off. However, back in November, I started seeing my name on the schedule for every Friday. I let it slide a few weeks, but then I started to feel the strain – I was busy, and it was too much. It was time to minimize. I went to my employer and told her that I need those Fridays off like we had agreed. And now I am back to having them.
So yes, I do understand that busyness can be real. But I also know that a lot of it can be managed. And part of managing the Busy Badge is to take the time to relax, breathe deeply, and just be.
Be with your family.
Be with your spouse.
Be with yourself.
Be without distractions.
Be without entertainment.
Be without noise.
Just let yourself be.
And then, when you are ready, go tell someone about how it went. Imagine that conversation…
“How was your day?”
“Great! I got to just be me.”