Busy? Get in line.
If I ever tell you that, “I’m so sorry that I’ve been too busy to…” then… please call me on it.
Of course I’m busy. That’s life. That’s my life. That’s most people’s lives. Grown up lives tend to be… full. Add kids, or business start-ups, or illness into the mix and you have… much more of life to be busy about.
“I’m just so busy,” is the typically gasping, rushed refrain that’s become a contemporary anthem. It doesn’t make us look more important, it makes us look just-this-side-of-frazzled.
It’s typically used as a lite apology, an excuse, a duck-out, as if your Life Master is making you do stuff that you don’t want to do. Even as a well-intended social pleasantry, “Sorry, I’ve been busy,” has a little hard-done-by ring to it.
Whatever is on your plate got there because you said yes to it—in the fullness of ambition and desire and wanting to eat life whole.
Caveat. Of course there are always exceptions to every theory—real tragedies and setbacks happen. What I’m discussing here is how we normalize our addiction to busy lifestyles and how we frame it with our language.
Sometimes we take on to-do’s and commit to climb mountains because our soul demands it. Sometimes life throttles us with unforeseen and unrelenting demands. Sometimes busyness is the result of keeping up with the Joneses. Busy can be healthy. Busy can be sickness. But busy is most often a choice.
“Sorry, I’ve been busy,” sometimes we say this to please other people who are busy-bodies. You know, the kind of people who text you to see if you got their email. We’re trying to use mutual busyness as a way of connecting. It’s not entirely a bad thing. Wanting to connect is a healthy, gorgeous impulse. Let’s just do it in a healthier way.
So what do we say to others when we can’t fit another meeting or event into our calendar, or when we have to send regrets, or pass on an opportunity? Tell them the truth. Report on life, rather than whining about it. Deliver it with ease. Don’t pass on any frantic energy. Say it with pride if you’re inclined. “Been travelling a lot for work. It’s tax season. The start-up is all consuming right now. I carved out a lot of time to be with my guy… woman… family… Higher Self… imaginary friend. Netflix.” Let people meet you in your clear truth rather than your apologetic panic. You set the stress level when you set the tone.
And sometimes, many times, you don’t need to excuse yourself at all. Just show up, no explanations or apologies. Present and accountable. We all understand.