To Be, Or Not To Be: Busy-ness Version

Where has the month of June gone? Seriously. It seems like I just flipped the page on the calendar the other day and here we are a few days away from doing it all over again. All through my childhood my mom, who was a cosmetologist, had these wonderful older ladies come through her beauty shop all the time. I loved sitting and listening to them talk about their lives and their own childhoods and young adulthoods and child rearing and marriage and just ANYthing I could listen to. I learned so much from these ladies. So much about love and life and grace and happiness. There was always a recurring theme throughout. Don’t blink. I understood that there was a certain kind of blink that could cause children to jump from 3 to 30 . . . in mere seconds. It would take a couple from 5 years of marriage to 50 in an instant. And it even had the power to turn these once young beauties into graceful, gray-haired grandmas (and great grandmas) who couldn’t recognize the face staring back at them in the mirror any longer. It would usually be said because I had mentioned something that I just almost couldn’t stand to wait for . . . a school dance, a choir performance, a vacation. I remember saying one day to one of my all-time favorite adopted grandmas, Electa Smith (Chartier), that I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to drive and then graduate and be my own boss. She looked at me and said, “Don’t wish for time to pass by any faster than it is, sweetheart. It’ll be here before you know it.” I just thought that was something old people always said to young people. Haha! I heard it all the time! But, you know, she was right. I have had a couple topics this week that have been on my mind to write about today. One was just that . . . the busy-ness of life. And the other was how we are constantly taking on new forms of busy-ness like we are going to get a trophy in return. 

A friend of mine, a radio personality, had contacted me a while back about doing a podcast with her. She had said she wanted to get into podcasting and she mentioned when she thought about doing one about health, I kept coming to mind. So she started the “Losing Lacy Podcast” and once a week we get together over Zoom and we talk about things that are related to health and life and my journey to better health and wellness. Thankfully, at this point in my life I do control my schedule and can place things on the calendar, pretty freely, where I wish them to be. There are things I can move and rearrange to make things fit where they need to. However, I am busy. I have caught crap in the past year because I am not working outside the home and have still said “no” to a couple things that I could have just as easily said “yes” to. The most recent one being a volunteer opportunity to help with meal delivery in our community. Now, to be clear, the person who talked with me about that opportunity was kind and understanding. This person didn’t say anything along the “crap-giving” line. I explained that I honestly don’t know where or how that will fit when I start working at the end of July and so I politely declined. But there have been other things I did catch a little attitude for turning down. I have a plaque that hung over my desk when I worked at the newspaper that I still refer to today. It said, “Stress is what happens when your mind says ‘no’ and your mouth says ‘yes’.” That is the simplest way to explain what happens when we feel obligated or guilted into helping with something we really don’t want to. I remember at one point in time I was on several committees at our church, I taught Sunday School and Youth Group, I led worship services and had a weekday practice for that, led VBS in the summer – which is more than just the week in the summer when all the activity takes place, by the way – I was a wife and mom and worked 35+ hours outside the home. It was exhausting. And there were times when I didn’t feel like ANYthing or ANYone got 100% of me. I don’t know that you can do all those things effectively or even well when you have so much going on. And if you do, it comes at a great cost. I am learning more and more as I get older that I have to protect my time and my energy. I have very limited quantities of both! And I want to spend them on the things and people most important to me. 

Another thing I believe falls in line with this topic is that there seems to be some silent competition among people, particularly us women, about who is doing the best job of holding their crap together while at the same time managing to be so busy we are in constant motion from sun up to sun down . . . and then some. I know in the past even I have been guilty of saying, “I just can’t handle one more thing right now as I am already way too busy!” I had someone ask me why I did so much during the time mentioned above when I was busier than I should have been. My answer was that there wasn’t anyone else to do it. Let me share a secret with you. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE ELSE. We are strange creatures, you know? We will complain that we are exhausted and worn slick and loaded down and overwhelmed. But at the same time we are reluctant to hand off any of the things we are responsible for to someone else. I learned a long time ago (when leading VBS and other committees I was on) that just because you are the “leader” of a group of people, doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. In fact that’s the fastest way to a classic burnout I’ve ever seen. I am a person who likes to have total control of the things I do. I feel like I do things well when I do them and it’s hard for me to relinquish control to someone else. Some of that is my OCD and some of it is just plain pride . . . like, “Can they really do it like I’VE been doing it?” The answer to that is simple. Maybe. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter. If the job gets done, does it matter HOW they do it? When training people at the office I would always show them the “standard, found-in-the-manual” way of doing things. Then I would show them how I did it because typically, it was a little less time-consuming. But then I told them as long as the end result was the same I didn’t care how it got done. They only needed to do it however it was best and easiest for them. But for a lot of years, this was a source of some of the busy-ness in my life. A lack of delegation. 

Life’s busy-ness seems to keep life moving along faster and faster each year. But one thing I do know . . . the majority of the busy-ness we face in our own life is because we chose it. We choose to be busy. Whatever the reasons may be that we choose a certain “busy”, we still choose. It’s up to us. My advice? See the above definition of stress and then practice some practical and kind ways to say “no” when you need to. If it takes away from something else, say “no.” If it is going to leave you no time to do the things you love, say “no.” If you know in your heart it isn’t in your best interest and isn’t going to add to the person you are, say “no.” And do NOT under any circumstances feel guilty for guarding your time, your heart and your happiness. I promise you, there will be someone out there who can and will say “yes” in your place. And I have chosen to adopt this belief . . . it may be their blessing to receive from helping and not mine. If I say “yes” out of obligation or selfish motives I am robbing someone else of the blessing meant for them. 

I will not apologize for the things I have said “no” to in the past year. I really, REALLY needed to step back and take care of myself for a minute. Or what seems like a minute. I must have blinked one of “those” blinks because it sure doesn’t seem like a year should have already passed since I left my job at the dental office. I will not apologize for not staying so busy I met my back end leaving as my front end was coming through the door. There is a fine line between “idle hands being the devil’s workshop” and “Jesus take the wheel ‘cause I can’t manage ALLLLL of this much longer!” I will not apologize. I have stayed busy working my business, writing this blog, doing a podcast, spending time with my mom and dad, taking my mom to various appointments, and just being a more present mom and wife in the last year than I have even been. I mean, I haven’t ever had to miss much of anything when it comes to the boys and their activities, but I mean more PRESENT in mind and conversation than I ever have been. There are less thoughts of worry that flash across my mind when I am talking to them. My mind doesn’t wander to things I need to do tomorrow or the next day or before next week. I have the time I need to take care of those things when no one is around. And I have healed. I know that is vague. And that’s how it needs to be. I have healed in so many ways over the last year. I have grown in unexpected ways. I am more me than I have been in a very long time. And I absolutely love that. I want that for all of you. I want you to find the things that bring you joy and drop the things that don’t. You’re worth it and so am I.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

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