I’ve been trying to write a blog post about being busy for almost 2 weeks now, but it seems like I just can’t find the time to finish it. I know, it’s ironic.
I’ve been doing a lot of other things besides writing for this blog. And I guess some would say I am... *~busy~*.
Truly, I am busy, and to be more specific, right now I’m in a period of work called “busy season”. There are a lot of deadlines and things to do for sure.
But hey, when are we not in a “busy season”?!
I’m not the first person to say this, but as a culture, we looooove being busy. The grind mentality is real and it’s not always a bad thing, but I’ve seen first hand how it can play out.
In college I would be so caught up in the things I had to do (both legit and perceived) I would forget to eat until 8 pm. Then of course I would munch on a bagel and down my 6th cup of coffee. #girlboss #busygoals #killingit
In fact, I didn’t take care of myself in college at all. I didn’t sleep enough, drink enough water, spend enough quality time with people, or take time for myself. I was working two jobs and going to school... all while planning a wedding, participating in clubs and generally just trying to fill my resume with a shiny list of gold stars.
I remember at one point, my sister pleaded with me to take enough time to paint my nails- just so I would participate in a little self care. I simply insisted I had no time.
Now that’s what I call yikes volume 1.
Eventually I was left so empty and stressed, my supervisor at my work-study position all but demanded I talk to someone in the counseling department.
I was kind of annoyed and a little offended. Like I need help?! Me?!
I’m just grinding, and being a baller! What’s the big deal? I mean sure, I feel dead inside but I’m accomplishing so much!
I won’t get into all the details of my therapy sessions (I’m sure everyone is relieved) but the one thing I realized was that I was insistent that I had to meet this expectation of myself, and those expectations made me believe I was irreversibly busy, and that I was a little dead inside but that’s just how life was.
My therapist told me something simple: You can’t pour from an empty cup.
I think that might be a therapist go-to phrase, and while it kind of sounds like a cutesy motivational Pinterest post, that day she explained the concept, it was like a light bulb went off.
What I came to realize it meant for me, is this: “How can you possibly give grace to other people when you can’t even give a little to yourself?”
See busy-ness can cross a thin line into bitterness very quickly, ask anyone who had to deal with my snide remarks from 2013-2016.
“Oh you’re stressed about school? WELL, try being stressed about school, work, another job, extra-curriculars, paying your insurance and making your own doctor’s appointments” -me, the most annoying person on Earth
I wasn’t like this all the time, and I don’t think it was ever as obnoxious as the quote above but I’m just gonna be transparent and let you know I was minimizing and cold more that I was willing to admit.
Which makes me cringe.
And to my friends I said these things to, if I haven’t told you yet, I’m really sorry.
Sometimes people say stuff like this this to me now, but I don’t take it personal because I know they’re going through a really tough time. I wasn’t trying to mean to my friends, I truly wasn’t even aware of how ridiculous I was being because I was so busy I didn’t take time to reflect. And I was so hard on myself, that I couldn’t offer the empathy my friends deserved, not because I didn’t feel for them, but because I was jealous of them for not being busy.
Ugh, all of that kind of sucked to write or admit.
Eventually I graduated college, got married, and got a full-time job, and life began to take a different shape. However I still felt kind of felt “busy”.
At one point, a friend invited me to go somewhere. I just said no with pretty much zero explanation after saying yes earlier that week. I had all these things to do at the last minute and it made me feel like I was too busy to go.
She was and isone of my closest friends and she was really mad at me. After a long heart to heart, I realized I needed to address the damage all of my busy-ness had caused.
It didn’t just cause me to neglect myself, and it didn’t just result it sassy condescending remarks, it led to me missing life- moments and family events and opportunities to show up.
Often times, my overwhelmed mind couldn’t offer a good explanation for this without just getting defensive and saying “I have a lot going on.”
I did have a lot going on, but I didn’t explain exactly what it was. So whatever it was, apparently took precedent over my family, friends, loved ones, and my well-being.
Something had to change.
Now I separate my busy.
And I acknowledge it.
In my mind there are 2 types of busy- the type that truly can’t be avoided, we will call that one “busy season” and a perceived busy-ness, we will call that one “VIP Busy”
Here is the difference between the two:
Being in a “busy season”, you really DO have to do the things you’re saying. I had to work that hard to pay my bills, I had to go to school, and I had to plan my wedding. I had to do these things.
Being in busy season involves things like work, school, raising a family, doing laundry, cooking/buying food, etc. the responsibilities you HAVE to do. There isn’t much you can do to change it, it’s just kind of life.
Then there is “MVP busy”
I like this phrase because it doesn’t involve a busy season of life, like starting your career, being a parent or being a college student- it involves things that grow you as person, they are success and ambition based. Things that make you feel like the real MVP. There is nothing wrong with that!
“MVP busy” is is stuff you technically choose, although at the time, it doesn’t feel like a choice.
It’s taking too many classes in college, signing up for every parent supervisor role in your child’s school, every bake sale and booster club. It’s going to every networking event even though you have a job... it’s starting a blog... its never missing a church activity...it’s making sure your house is spotless everyday.
It feels like you have to do it because there is an internal or outside pressure that pushes you to do it, but, the truth is, life will continue on as normal if you don’t.
You literally don’t have to do it, if you can pull it off, that’s awesome and you may reap incredible benefits from it, but if you can’t- well then you just can’t.
The issue with “MVP busy” is that it feels great, you feel like the MVP! The go-getter! The BALLER!
Until you don’t.
Then you’re left crying to a college therapist because you feel like being the secretary of the accounting honor society is directly tied to your self worth. And none of your friends understand why you can’t hangout. You’re lonely and left feeling helpless.
Maybe you feel like this now, I’m so sorry, and trust me I know that feeling. You’re probably yelling at your screen saying that all of the things in your life are “busy season” but... they are not.
In reality you just need to eat dinner with your family, drink several glasses of water and watch a couple episodes of The Office on Netflix.
You need to fill your cup.
You need to show yourself grace.
That starts by admitting you are feeling empty, and that you are not doing enough and then saying that’s okay.
And then making space to fix it.
It’s telling your friends what’s going on, not just saying you’re busy.
It’s saying you need help.
It’s saying no to things that make you feel important, and yes to things that make you feel loved.
It’s hard, it challenges your preconceived notions about yourself, and can often times feel like failure, but it’s not.
I’m still working through this process, and I fail at it all the time. But even trying I can tell a difference in my overall “busy” level.
I truly try to take time for myself and my loved ones in a more intentional way.
And that’s what I’ve been doing instead of writing this blog post.
I’ve been making yummy dinners, working at my job, spending time with my family and my husband and re-watching LOST.
LOST is so good guys.
I really haven’t been “busy” doing other things, I’ve just been doing other things.
Such as filling my metaphorical cup with love and literal bowl with gluten free pasta.
Thank you for taking time out of your most likely business schedule to read this.
Now go fill up your cup with love... and bowl (with chips) and then another bowl with salsa.
Even if you only do one those things, you’re gonna be glad you did.