Life can become very busy, especially in a society where occupied time is valued as achievement. The busier you are the, the more you must be kicking goals, no matter the personal cost. I love the saying “stop the glorification of busy”. I have spent the last while slowing my life down, on purpose. Not such an easy task with four children, studying a Masters full time, running a small business amongst the usual array of commitments, responsibilities, life happenings and celebrations. However, I was determined to start enjoying life at a pace that had me in the moment, not crossing things off my list and rushing to the next thing. Where is the serenity in that?
Not an easy task, but I have found effective ways to actually move into a life I think is more considered, and much more enjoyable. The first thing I did was respond with no thank you or I will think about that and get back to you, because I always automatically said yes. I heard years ago “if you want to get something done ask a busy person.” For a long time, I believed the more I did the better I was as a human. I was a human doing, not a human being. This went on for years. Do not get me wrong, I have really enjoyed many things I said yes to but I reached a turning point where I needed to get the focus back on my life – specifically family time, study, career and relationships. I had to look at my hours in the day and what I could realistically achieve. This meant a big evaluation of where my time was going, and a lot it was on service to others, in many different capacities.
I made a decision to be very considered about who I spent my time with. I have some amazing and wonderful friends and we do not get enough time together as it is. I stopped distracting myself with allocating time on matters that weren’t important to the family or myself. This took some newly acquired pauses instead of instantly saying yes because I was asked. To do this, I considered my available time, what my current capacity was and if I wanted to turn towards or away from a new invitation. I have focused on not spreading myself too thinly just because someone or something is asking for my time.
I am not sure about others but working part time for myself and studying from home, I am inclined to receive more social invitations during the day. I started to structure my week so I knew when it was a work or study day, and it has become not negotiable. Having said that though, my close friends are very good at receiving and respecting a “sorry cannot do that right now, writing endless essays” response. They are used to that, and they are my true friends. I know they will be still be there when I finish studying.
Simply, I got tired, both emotionally and physically, of trying to juggle really busy schedules for five people. I started to say no to some of my children’s requests for joining more sports teams, and I have encouraged the older ones to start taking public transport a bit more often, which means less driving for me. I certainly have been ridiculed for these very decisions, and not by the kids. However, even in the face of this judgement I have to continually come back to trusting myself and my new limits. Really it is none of anyone’s business anyway. At the end of the day, I am flying solo, I do not have an extra person earning household income or contributing to the logistics of our lives. I believe what I do is good enough. I no longer have to be a self-appointed superwoman. She resigned a little while ago, without notice, and she’s not coming back.