Not keeping busy

It was a few weekends ago now. A quiet day at home, extremely hot and hard to feel motivated about doing much at all. A day that could have easily gone by without much thought or memory of the time. But instead it is etched in my memory box of thought provoking moments. I had seen a TED talk featured on a blog which I respected, so Brad and I sat down to watch. Which led to watching another and another and about 7 in all. Wow… Fancy all that time being challenged by speakers who were passionate about their topic and communicated it in a way which shared that passion with us – in a very thought provoking way.

The topics and challenges have been swirling in my mind ever since. We chose these particular talks because they were thoughts, ideas and topics we were interested in or wrestling with at the time. And this one afternoon of sitting in the cool air-conditioned comfort has definitely changed us and our approach to life in subtle, yet profound, ways. Yes. A good weekend day filled with just what we needed at the time.

But there was one comment that has swirled about my thoughts more than any other – and I don’t even remember who said it:

Life is too short to be busy.

There. A life changing challenge wrapped up so succinctly in seven little words.

At first I thought; ‘Oh yeah, just don’t fill up the diary or over schedule activities. That’s simple for me at the moment. I really don’t have a lot going on in my life outside of my home and family.’

Then my thoughts went to; ‘Life is unavoidably busy when you have little children and then decide to homeschool them. There’s not a lot I can do about that at this stage in my life.’ …. End of thought process.

But there have been many moments over these past couple weeks when those seven little words have crept back into my mind and dictated how I chose to spend that moment. You know the times, when it’s so hard to get motivated so you look on pinterest instead. The computer is a great accomplice at those times. Or when the children are all happily occupied so you busy yourself doing….’stuff’.

Yeah, so confession time. I’ve had a lot of those times lately. And those little words are there to remind me that I’m making myself busy just for the sake of it. Not because I have a lot on my to-do list that day, but simply because I feel better about myself if I’m busy. I can fuss around doing this, that and the other without really accomplishing anything because it feels better to be doing things rather than just enjoying the moment.

I think it’s a cultural thing as well, we tend to value being busy. We talk about it, moan and complain about how busy we are, yet continue to fill up our days with busyness. We reply to so many conversations with the response, “busy”. Why? Does it give us status? We must be more important if we are ‘busy’. Is it an avoidance tactic? We don’t have to face other (probably more important) issues if we remain ‘busy’. We don’t have to talk to that person or make that decision if we are ‘busy’. Is it a form of laziness? It’s easier to be ‘busy’ that to use the mental fortitude required for other tasks (such as writing or thinking). Is it because we lack self confidence? It’s easier to by ‘busy’ than put our dreams on the line and open to critique as we work on bringing them into reality. I don’t know, and I suppose the answer is different for everyone and each situation.

In response to those words and the tumultuous thought process inside my head lately, I’m determining, once again, to remember what really matters. In the big scheme of life what is it that is most important – not urgent, but important? I need to keep my focus on the life I wish to lead, the example I want to be, the person I need to become to achieve my goals and the person I choose to show up as each and every day.

My resolve:

:: Place a higher value on sitting still and just enjoying where I am at the moment.

:: Remember that relationships matter most of all. People are more important than things or achievements.

:: Write a note, make a phone call, send an email, connect in some way.

:: Write a to-do list each day/week to keep me focused and allow me to enjoy the time after those things are finished.

:: Stop more often to watch my children play, explore and learn.

:: Pick up a needle and thread more often. {This makes me stop and enjoy the moment and everything that is happening around me. It is relaxing and allows me to focus again. It gives my thoughts clarity, as a friend said this morning, ‘It’s so much easier to think with a needle and thread in hand. The thoughts are deeper and with more clarity then.’}

:: Write a journal daily.

:: Remember these quiet days which fill my calendar are a privilege – don’t busy myself just for the sake of being busy.

:: And Remember Always…

Life is too short to be busy.


3 thoughts on “Not keeping busy

  1. Roy Gadischke

    This morning I scanned through your blog and was taken by your comment, “Life is too short to be busy”.
    First it sort of messed with my brain cause if life is too short then we surely need to be busy. This became a lunch time conversation especially as I spotted an article headline in a magazine while waiting for lunch, “How to beat the virus of hurry”. What am I being told here?
    The outcome was that my wife and realised that we have been working towards this very thing for several years now. However we have not really verbalised it or focused on it necessarily as a state of being.
    Edward G.

    1. Corinna Post author

      After reading your comment I clicked through to your website. I notice the second last paragraph…… It seems to be a recurring theme here. One worth keeping in the forefront of our minds as we go about the everyday activities which make up our lives.


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