Friday, April 11, 2014

On not being busy

There are few times in my life when I've been able to truly enjoy not being busy. I thrive when I'm challenged; I get bored when I'm not. Time off is always fantastic for about a week, but then the restlessness settles in. And if the restlessness lasts too long, it turns into moodiness and depression.

I think in a way I've used busyness to validate my existence. When I'm not rushing to accomplish 12,000 things a day, I feel like I'm not doing enough. My hermit nights on the couch with my cross-stitch and chocolate aren't as satisfying unless I've paid my dues three times over first. It's one of those uniquely modern phenomenas that definitely applies to me. I don't have time for silly things like meditating or smelling the roses or simply existing; I have to justify why I'm here first.

So my first order of business after finishing my master's is simple: to enjoy not being busy. That means not scheduling every minute of my life. Watching a movie in the middle of the week if I want. Reading during some time other than my sacred bedtime reading hour. Leaving my desk during lunch. Going to ward activities because I have nothing else to do, not because I need to interact with something other than my books and computer.

Those other goals—cooking, practicing my piano, finishing my InDesign projects and starting new ones, writing, learning completely new skills—those can wait. Right now my priority is to slow down, not fill my extra 20 hours a week with new types of busyness.

It was hard at first. I felt a little lost for a few days.

But, while I have a constant need to be entertained/challenged, I also have a lazy side. It's been helping me out. When I feel like I should start setting some piano goals, it tells me to watch another episode of Gilmore Girls instead. When I don't want to make a lunch in the morning, it tells me to skip that step and just go out for lunch, because you're trying to take real lunch breaks now anyway. (However, my lazy side also reminds me that if I don't make myself a lunch, then I'll have to decide where to eat and then walk down four flights of stairs (that or wait for the elevator, which takes like 37 seconds) and out to my car and then repeat all those steps in reverse just to feed myself. There's no winning in this situation, unless someone brings me lunch.)

Normally, I wouldn't indulge my lazy side in such travesties. But for now, I think it's what I need to do to recharge after that crazy year I just had. This recharge period will likely only last for a few more weeks at the most, but I'm learning that sometimes it's okay to just sit back and let life happen.

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