I’m not sure how it started. Maybe when I got into my 30s? Maybe when I moved into a place of my own? I’m not sure. But what I wanted to talk about today was a case for being anti-busy.
When I moved to New York I nearly burned myself out by making so many plans. From sun up to sun down I had my days packed full. I found it fulfilling at the time. I was in a new city and trying to soak up as much as possible. I was also putting efforts into making new friends and trying out loads of spots I’d heard about.
But something recently has changed. Do you remember when we started talking about a few years ago how everyone would reply “busy” to the question “how are you?” The “B word” was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. And the growth of social media hasn’t helped. It’s made us feel as though we must always be seeing and be being seen. And somewhere along the lines it grew exhausting! I vividly remember reading this NYT article several years ago and being like “Yes, yes, yes.”
“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. “
I know so many people who get self-assurance by talking about how busy they are. And it is certainly something that some New Yorkers in particular associate with status.
Earlier this year when I began penning this post I had started leaving my weekends open as much as possible. It allowed me the bliss of saying yes to last minute plans, allowing for an early morning walk in my neighborhood or having an evening to myself to do something I normally wouldn’t do. (Read nearly an entire book in one sitting! Watch a lot of Planet Earth! Cook an indulgent meal!) The practice has made me more peaceful and less anxious.
Nowadays I am extra purposeful with my time. I think more critically about the things I say “yes” to and I’m more indulgent in dolling out a polite “no, thank you.” I also make less excuses when it comes to saying no or politely declining an invite. I guard my evenings carefully and I am extremely thoughtful with where I spend my time and with whom I spend it. As a result I am less “busy,” but more fulfilled. The openness on my schedule has allowed me to fill my days with more rewarding activities and opportunities. Certainly my self-employment has helped with this flexibility in my schedule, too. That I can’t deny.
While this summer has been an exception because of my travel schedule, several of the trips I am taking are because I hadn’t overbooked myself far in advance. Being less busy has allowed me to flex my spontaneity muscle that was sorely underused.
So what do you guys think? Thoughts on being too busy?
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A quick note on this outfit! I snagged this sweater blazer immediately at J.Crew last week because it sold out last season and I am sure it will again. I am going to wear it so much in the coming months. It’s also perfect for a cooler summer morning or evening. I sized down to a Small as it definitely runs big. (It also comes in several other color options.) I paired it with these sneakers I can’t stop wearing, my new go-to denim shorts (love that they are high-waisted), a silk cami (I have it in black, too!) and this bag that I’ve gotten WAY more use out of than I ever thought possible.
A few other great J.Crew new arrivals I spotted: This top with the prettiest back, this top (just added it to my cart – who are we kidding – it is so my style!), this pretty eyelet top and this perfect rain jacket.