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2.2.18

Is being busy always such a bad thing?



We've all been there. Your mum has sent you the fifth message in as many days asking where you are, whether you're alive and whether you're ignoring her intentionally. When you finally get round to responding, it's something along the lines of: 

"Sorry, I've been so busy!" 

"Oops, saw this message mid-meal and then completely forgot to reply!" 

"Yes I'm alive - my feet just haven't touched the ground all week, sorry!"

BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. That catch-all word which excuses pretty much any poor messaging/social etiquette - right? 

Hopefully it isn't just me that has found myself in this position one too many times. I used to be so addicted to my phone and so quick to respond to every single message I received, but over the course of the last year, it's as though I've dropped off the face of the earth every day come 5pm. 

I realised that when I do eventually respond, it's usually with an apology and an excuse, which nine times out of ten, is just that I've been mega busy, no further explanation required. Now it's no secret that my life has undergone a lot of change in the past 12 months, and I am genuinely a lot busier than I've been since 2013-2014 , but why do I always feel the need to apologise? Are you the same?

I am one of those people who thrives off of having lots of fingers in many different pies. I like to have a long to-do list of tasks, which I like to cross off periodically throughout the day and I like to keep things as varied as possible. If I don't make those lists, I literally get ~nothing~ done all day, and wind up feeling really crappy and demotivated by the end of it. Busy, therefore, is best and I don't end up remembering important things I should've done when I'm getting into bed later that night. 

So why do I feel the need to apologise for that? And why does the word 'busy' have such negative connotations to me? 

A quick scroll through Instagram on pretty much any day of the week will guarantee you coming across at least five or six people with to-do lists as long as their arms. At this point, I have to confess I'm guilty of exactly this, and the phrase is taken directly from a pre-Christmas post of mine. I find lately that there's so much pressure to be omnipresent, particularly on social media; you don't post on Instagram for a few days in a row, you take a huge hit on follower count and you feel the need to explain yourself on your return. I don't really understand that pattern of behaviour, and I try not to take any notice because ultimately, it's just a bit of fun, but I can't help but feel the pressure to post, the pressure to be present and the pressure to look like I'm doing something interesting with my life. 

When I was younger I imagined myself to be a super successful, corporate-type adult, so busy I had to delegate tasks and employ junior staff to complete them, knowing I would then spend the evening whining about it to friends over a bottle of wine later that night. Sounds like I basically imagined I would grow up to be a total bitch, and whilst that's not the career path I've actually chosen, I still carry that stereotypical, and negative view of being busy around with me today. 

But, and this is a hard-fought lesson I've learned, being busy doesn't have to mean rushing around, at Duracell bunny pace, ticking six things off of a to-do list at any one time. Busy can be having a bath without responding to emails at the same time, it can be taking a walk or sitting out in the summer sun, hell, busy can be whatever you want it to be. Busy can be that Harry Potter marathon you've been threatening to have for the past few months, or the well overdue catch up with a friend you've neglected. Busy can be taking twenty minutes to flick through a magazine with a frothy coffee (my favourite), burning your favourite candle and singing along to The Greatest Showman soundtrack. 

Busy can be just about whatever you want it to be, and it doesn't always have to be just an excuse. I've always apologised because I've historically felt like taking time out to myself, and not always being accountable, was a bad thing, almost as though I had some some misplaced sense of duty to respond to people instantly regardless of the context and regardless of whatever else I'm doing in my own life.

I've started to see a bit of a shift from that thinking on social media lately, and and I'm all for it. Yesterday was Time To Talk day, and there was an amazing amount of positivity online; mental wellbeing really is having a moment and if you're one of those people who never allows themselves the time to just be, I'd recommend giving it a go - leave your phone upstairs, and just disconnect. It's amazing how quickly you get used to it. 

And when, later, you find yourself typing out the words 'sorry, been so busy' or something along those lines, take a second to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Do you really need to apologise? Or did you actually enjoy taking some well-earned time out?


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