Let’s pretend for a moment that we are sitting across the table from one another. An old oak table, worn smooth and polished by the thousands of fingertips strummed along its surface. We pull our mugs of coffee close and I ask,
How have you been?
Imagine your response.
I will imagine it also.
I would guess it goes something like this:
(Deep sigh) I am fine. We have been so busy, you know? Time is just rushing by!
I know this is what you would say, because this is what I have said and this is what everyone does say! We have been gone from home for roughly 2 months, and during the last week of being home, I’ve asked this question many times. And this has been the response. “We’ve been so busy.”
While many might think a life of travel is busy, it is actually so much more simple than being at home. Living in 200 sq. ft means everything you need is within arm’s reach, cleaning and organizing takes 10 minutes, and social commitments are minimal. The shock of the “busy life” has been the single most difficult thing about coming home!
My battle cry
I sat with Chris yesterday in the backyard and said, “You know the most alarming thing? I am resigned to it. I ultimately believe that the busyness, the rag-tag worn out life is beyond my control. That I have to live with it until we can hit the road in the Airstream again.”
But who really has control here?
I am reading the book Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and she says this,
It can be hard to grasp the idea that we have some say over the size of our lives – that we have the agency and authority and freedom to make them smaller or larger, heavier or lighter.
My conversation with Chris continues – “We have been back only a week and I am already tired and sick of being busy. I am sick of the rat race. Something has to change.”
Learning to say NO
Learning to say “no” in life is just as important as learning when to say “yes”. For some of us this is easy. But it isn’t for me.
For so long – for too long – I’ve measured my life by my “yeses”. I’ve measured my life by my accomplishments, my relationships, the number of balls I’ve juggled in the air. And often, just when life did slow down enough for some self-reflection, I’d fill my time in an attempt to run from the ever haunting question, “Am I enough?”
Time to stop running. Time to take back the reigns.
But where do I start?
For me, saying “NO” to endless commitments isn’t enough. I first need to believe that more isn’t better.
More accomplishments, more people, more money, more work, more kid activities, more sports, more… Our culture tells us more is better. Our world tells us busy is the same as productive and successful. It might be a small miracle if I can change what I truly believe in the face of so much opposition.
But I sure as hell am gonna try!
I’ll leave you today with one of my favorite all time quotes from Yvon Chouinard,
We should not fear that a simple life is an impoverished life.
How about you? How do you manage to fight to busyness or are you like me, and resigned to it taking over your life?