Monday, July 2, 2012

The 'Busy' Trap

This morning an article popped up on my Facebook feed, and, like most things that come floating across my consciousness this summer, it is timely; it discusses how busy we are. Constantly. Ridiculously. Falsely. "Busyness, says the author,

...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."

Bingo. If we, or our children, are not engaged in something that society deems " meaningful" (a class, a job, a project, etc), then we must not be "adding value" or "contributing to society," "making a mark," or "leaving a trail." We are the opposite of all of those things.

This article comes on the heels of a discussion I had with my husband over the weekend. I asked him to do some minor chore, nothing too intense or objectionable, but something that needed to be done nonetheless. He replied that he was too busy to do it; I pointed out, in a non-judgemental way, that he not, in fact, too busy, but that he chose to spend his time differently. This resulted in some prickliness, as he felt I was judging him on how he spent his time, but, at this point, I don't really care. I explained that since we killed the TV, we had, on average, at least an extra two to four hours a day; how could we not have enough time?

I am rejecting this concept of busy. This summer has been "busy," with a student coming to me once a week, a French class, and art class, the food pantry and three tutoring students. I am trying to redesign the website and switch servers (which takes forever because I am not a tech person), get ready for an accreditation meeting and overhaul how HoneyFern plans curriculum. And all summer long I have felt like I am spinning my wheels; I feel stressed and overtired. I am snapping at The Child too frequently and feeling decidedly unjoyful.

So my decision has been made for me. I need to back slowly away from the main time-waster in my life: the Internet, specifically Facebook (and, increasingly, Twitter). Spending time on non-essential and non-joyful technology pulls me away from what I need to do and what I truly want to do and cultivates this stressful aura of important busyness.  Days are longer; we have more time. It is time to use it more joyfully, as it is not infinite, and I will never have this day again.

On that note, I give myself two more hours online today, and then I am done. I may have to install a little meter in my laptop, but it is time to lose some structure in my day. I am done with being busy.

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