I’ve read a few books in the last six months, that all tend to have the same theme… SLOW DOWN and enjoy life.
We are all so busy all the time that we are literally watching our lives pass before us, but hey, at least that check list is checked!
I have absolutely no room to talk, I have always been a busy bee type person. To this day, I keep a list on the weekends of what I would like to accomplish. When my house is clean, meals are prepped, and errands run, I feel successful, accomplished, but also empty. I’m missing out on the sweet moments.
In college, I took on a full 18 hour course load, two internships, two part-time jobs, and memberships in student organizations during my entire college career. I was crazy busy and like it because I was under the false impression that busy meant I was doing well. I was doing something to be proud of, something my parents could brag about. Man, how wrong I was. What did any of that give me? A nice resume that did pretty much nothing for me after college.
Like many college grads I had a hard time finding a job. Everywhere that was hiring was expecting at least 5-10 years of professional experience in that field…news flash to these businesses, you have to start somewhere! Anyway, during my search I decided I would try to start my own event planning company. I loved event planning and I was really good at it. I thought for sure this was my calling and with a lot of hard work I would become super successful and at some point have every weekend booked with an event. Oh man, how wrong I was again! I had a few clients, all with successful events, but I came to realize this was not my calling. My vision had crashed and burned, but I learned a TON about the process and myself during that time. During that time though, I was crazy busy. Busy working for my clients, busy finding and applying for jobs, interviewing, and trying to keep up with friends and attempting to have some sort of a social life despite not having any money.
Finally, I decided I would nanny while looking for a “real job”. For the third time, I was so wrong. I fell in love with nannying. I fell in love with the kids I cared for and as far as finding a “real job” was concerned, I had never been more wrong. Nannying was not only 1,000% a real job, but 10 times more rewarding than any job I had ever had. As a nanny you are a co-parent. You are helping to raise a child/children into the people they will become. You’re an educator, role model, cook, cleaner, chauffeur, counselor, and so much more. Again though, I was crazy busy. Working for one family 50 hours a week and then immediately going to another family for a few hours a week for some extra money. When I would get home, it was “Hi Honey” and bedtime. No time for anyone let alone myself.
Since these experiences, I have learned to slow down a lot and say no. It’s been one the biggest challenges for me and still is sometimes. I don’t want to let anyone down. If someone asks me to do something, I want to be there for them. I’m dependable, reliable, and if I say no I feel like I’m a failure/quitter. Yet another thing I’ve been wrong about. By learning to say no and not pack my schedule as tightly as I can, I’m so much happier as a person. I’m much more relaxed inside, my heart isn’t so heavy with responsibility and commitment. I’m learning to fill my well with the good stuff. That means that when I can say yes to something I can give it so much more than a busy version of me can.
Even then, there are times I’ve dropped the ball. I overcommit and become busy again. I don’t get to catch up with friends (both near and far), neighbors, or even spend as much time with my husband as much as I want to. There are have been so many weekends where all we do are errands and chores. We spend the whole weekend together doing them, but that whole time we aren’t really spending any time together at all. These are the moments I would die to have back! We are young, in love, and without children, let us savor these moments! Grab a glass of wine, listen to some music, and sit outside. (To clarify, we do that, but just not as often as we should).
That’s my point, we don’t get together with those we want to spend time with nearly as often as we should. We had lunch with some friends just yesterday and we both found ourselves saying “we can’t wait so long to get together next time”. Sure, they bought a house, we had family in town, I had surgery, all perfect reasons why we were all too busy to see each other, but why is that? Why don’t we MAKE the time to see people we want to see. Why can’t you call that friend on the way to the grocery store? Who cares if you only have 4 min to talk, you’re talking/spending time with someone you want to. Those are the things that fill my well, so why don’t I do more of it and stop being so darn busy.
In the end I feel like so many of my years have been being busy with an empty heart. Who cares if my sink has a dish in it when we are going to bed if it means a few extra minutes of pillow talk with my husband. Who cares if it takes me 30 minutes to go get the mail because we run into friends, when some sort of game is getting ready to come on. If we miss the first couple minutes of the big game it’s going to be okay, we are spending time with people that fill our well. If my floors don’t get mopped one weekend because we would rather have a game night with neighbors, let my floors be dirty. It’s taken me a long time to come to the realization that those things really don’t matter. What matters is filling my well so I can be the happiest, fullest me, to help fill other people’s wells. Being busy is so overrated and exhausting. Those to-do lists that we have made to be life or death are silly. Saying no to busy, no to overcommitting and yes to slowing down and enjoy the moment is what we all need a little more of.
In case you’re wondering what those books are (all of which I highly recommend):