The Easter Bank Holidays were just under a week ago. I didn’t really have a rest. I went from work to a family gathering to a conference to another family gathering to an intense weekend of foster caring with various Easter themed entertainments thrown in and then back to work. I will say that I am tired, I will say that it’s hard and demanding but I will not say that I am busy. I can’t stand the word and choose not to say it.
I once worked with a person and I still know them now and they love to talk about how busy they are. They run through their diary, their appointments, their trips and the people they are spending time with using the ‘busy’ word, the ‘hectic’ word and the ‘wild’ word. They use these words in ways that imply that this is a wave of unasked for, uncontrollable scheduling and life is somehow damaged and lesser because of the busyness.
I’ve also been around people who have talked about burn out, who have talked about demands and pressure in their life and similarly implied a lack of control over their choice of job, routine, company or task list. I see people who are too thin, too tired, too sick, too heavy and so unhappy. I’ve also been there; in a job and life without boundaries, people I didn’t really want to be with, information and intimacy I didn’t really want to share. When I resigned from a particular job I made a resolution to choose what I do and to stop using the word busy. I associate it with a lack of control and so when life is full, it’s full because I choose it and I control what and who is in it.
It’s a fantastic principle and whilst I’ve learnt and applied serious lessons about professional boundaries I’ve taken longer to learn about personal ones. Life can get full and feel a litte out of control, my creativity and enthusiasm means I’m for wanting to develop lots of projects, spend time with lots of people, stay up late drinking and dancing, write a few books, house small children, watch films, take naps and go on long walks – it’s not possible all at once and I hate the thought of closing something down. At times like these I’m reminded of my ‘not busy’ principle and have to re-examine, explore and prioritise the way I spend my time. I’m living through lots of change at the moment, lots of vision and lots of ambition and this is most certainly a time when I have to try not to say busy and because it’s a when time I am open to all kinds of ideas and words and poetry that cause a pause.
– I’m thinking about simplicity.
– I’m thinking about values, ritual and legacy.
– I’m thinking a lot about love.
– I’m thinking about my body.
– I’m thinking about God.
– I’m thinking about time.
– I’m thinking about sleep.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver (The Summer Day)
This week I will be back to my usual two to three posts – keep an eye out for more sex thoughts, body thoughts, simplicity thoughts, love, theology and cultural comment on Mad Men, Katy Perry, GIRLS and The Hunger Games.