I don’t remember when Busyness became so “In”. Not that I have not been busy in my life. From being a working mom of two young children to a single mom when they were both under 10, to adding university classes, both under-grad and a graduate degree, I remember being tired a lot, especially when I combined out of town classes with parenting and part-time work. Yes being very tired. And I remember that I survived those sometimes weeks, months and even years by making choices. I had to make choices. I am lucky in a way because I need my sleep. So choosing to not go out on Friday night(s) and to go to bed instead was a no-brainer. Choosing to not socialize much outside of what was needed for work and school became how I managed to keep my sanity and my health.
Now I hear you say “well, I can’t do that” or any other excuse why you don’t see how you can stop being busy. I beg to differ. Unless you are a single mom with two jobs – and even there, you can let the housekeeping go. There are always ways to clear your schedule to take time to just breathe, or sleep. Imagine if you had a car accident and were bedridden for a month after a close call with death, or you learned you only have a year to live. What baggage would you throw overboard? Which social obligations would you drop? Which friendships would you keep? Would you devote so much time to work? To housekeeping? Would you keep over-scheduling your kids’ extra-curricular activities or choose to hang out and just play with them more often? Would you spend so much time on Facebook reading about other people’s lives? Would you stay up so late to watch movies or choose more sleep so you could have more energy for life and for your loved ones?
While I did not get into a car accident nor did I learn I had only one year to live, I learned about 10 years ago that I was living with the proverbial sword over my head. I belong to the pool of people who have everything it takes to develop Multiple Myeloma, a pretty much fatal and ugly cancer of the bone marrow. This puts things in perspective. At least it did for me. I went from a full time job to a 4 then 3 then 0 day work week, choosing to live more frugally to have more time for life, for me, my family and the people I choose to keep in my life. More time to hike, swim, be outside, read, dance, love and just be. And sleep enough.
What will it take for you to make a change, to follow your bliss, to practice more extreme self-care, to purge everything from your life that’s not an absolute Yes. You don’t need to wait to be hit by a brick over the head. Do it now. Let go of something that’s stealing precious minutes from your life. Stop before accepting any invitation and reflect: Is this something I really want to do? Is this someone I really enjoy? Ask “if this was my last evening on earth, would I choose this?” The more you make your choices conscious, the easier it gets. The easier it gets, the easier, smoother life gets.
One last tip: highlight in green your day planner (electronic or not) what are your favorite activities and people. Now highlight in an ugly color (your choice) what you do out of misplaced obligations – those dreaded, life-sucking ones. There is your answer.