“You can’t have everything, but you can have the things that are important to you.” – Marissa Mayer
Driving home on Friday afternoon I was behind a minivan with a license plate that read “BUSYKID.” My first thought was poor kid. Already has busy-brain–or parents who do. There’s nothing more boring to me that someone who responds to the social nicety “how’s it going?” with “busy!”
Because the thing is, we’re all busy. We all work hard. We all have families and friends and commitments we need to keep up with, jobs we care about (or jobs we’re hustling to find). We’ve all got bills to pay and one eye on goals for next month, next year, next decade. But why fetishize busy? Why glorify running around like a chicken with its head cut off?
People aren’t even impressed by busy. Results are impressive, huffing and puffing is not. Yes, you need to hustle to get what you want. Welcome to life. But bragging about “busy” is a game of oneupsmanship where the only prize is burnout, and we don’t do each other any favors by engaging in it.
The reality is that everyone is going to have times when you’re kicking ass at life, and other times when life is kicking your ass. In both scenarios, it’s key to leave a little air, a little space. A little tiny bit of nothing.
That’s where the great stuff happens–in the air bubbles, the pockets of unscheduled time. As a writer, that’s where the magic happens. It’s getting an awesome idea in the shower. It’s waking up from a sound sleep to write down a description or bit of a dialogue. It’s writing in your head while you’re driving.
But those air bubbles are also when the real stuff happens in relationships–both your relationship with yourself and with others. A Friday night dinner with your significant other, where you skip “how was your day?” bullshitting and really talk. A delicious meal and plenty of wine with good friends. A long bus ride with only music for company. A lazy Sunday morning spent on the couch while the snow falls outside.
These bubbles are precious. To be wrapped up in busy 100 percent of the time is a recipe for burnout, and the perfect way to miss out on the real treasures in life. You’re busy, I’m busy, we’re all busy. Don’t let it define you.
(BTW, Precious Bubbles is totally the name of my new lifecoaching business so don’t even think about it.)