Excuse Me, I’m Busy

Living in the Bay Area, “busy” is really the pace of life for many of us it.  We are busy with work, with church, with school, with family, with dating, with hobbies, with a lot of things.  It is one of those cultural markers that distinguish the Bay Area (even if we’re not the only ones that are perpetually busy–I think I’d dread living on the East Coast).

But it occurs to me that as busy as we are, we are not always as busy as we make ourselves out to be.  Below are a few reasons that I believe we like to tell others that we are so busy…

1.  People are constantly banging at our door asking us to pay attention to them, to help them out.  We’re so gifted and talented, we can do so many things so well, why wouldn’t they keep asking us?  But we’re stretched and stressed, and the only reason seem to understand without feeling too offended is that we’re “busy.”

2.  There’s a little bit of a martyr in all of us.  If we are so busy that we can even forget to eat and Godforbid neglect our email, then it’s because we are laying down our lives constantly at the hands of busyness.  If this is our reason, then we like to make sure that even if you were deaf, you could read it on our haggard faces.  We look miserable, but we feel great knowing how spiritual you think of us when you look upon us with that compassionate furrowed brow.

3.  Giving people the impression that we’re constantly busy can also be our own self-important way of saying, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”  If people can finally get it into their thick heads that, by default, we are always busy, then they will naturally stop trying to be our friends, stop asking us for favors, stop trying to get to know us.  When we are fine and ready, then we will descend from our busy thrones and let you know that we are ready and available.  And when we’re ready, you had better be ready too because who knows how long this holy moment will last?  Because remember, by default, we are busy.

This actually reminds me a lot of people who go on AIM and like to always be invisible or away–even if you know they’re not.  I mean, who in the world would sign on just to be away?  People like us like to have the option of avoiding or ignoring you with you knowing.

4.  Busyness is a handy excuse for all sorts of personal failures–failure to exercise, to pray, to floss our teeth, to keep in touch, reply to emails, pay me back that $20.  We are victims of the rat race, we have no control over our lives, and you should understand that and feel sorry for us.  In fact, you should feel bad that you even bothered to try to remind me to return your sweater or go to church…g2g…2 busy 2 talk 2 the likes of u.

5.  “I’m too busy” can also be a great manipulative tool to get others to do things you don’t want to do.  “I’m so busy, I don’t have time to do this, can you…” is a great way of implying how superior you are because you have no time and how everyone else has nothing to do in comparison (completely ignoring the fact that everyone is busy in the Bay Area).

6.  Busyness is also a polite way to turn down a date, but you already knew that.

I’m sure there are many other versatile reasons for telling people we are busy.  You might want to add your own to this list.

But I’m more interested in finding out–how different would your life be if you spent two hours less a day working, watching tv, idling surfing the web, running after people who don’t care about you…and spent that time resting, praying, walking, calling a friend, spending time with family, sharing meals with people, or just open to whatever worthwhile thing pops up?

7 thoughts on “Excuse Me, I’m Busy”

  1. I think my world would fall apart. it’s true… I’m always busy without really being busy. it’s an epidemic. btw, you went from cool painting to cheesy clipart in just two posts. what’s up with that?

  2. My emotions are mixed. If I were to get a hard-working job in Supermicro for six days a week and many hours a day, my life will never be the same as now.

  3. i’d be healthier for sure… so why can’t i stop running the treadmill (ironic cuz i hate running the treadmill at the gym)? i’m addicted to work, addicted to being “used.” and i’ve certainly used every single reason, #1-6, that you posted. argh.

  4. your reaction to changsusan made me laugh out loud during statistics class. then people around me looked at my screen and knew i wasn’t doing hypothesis testing for standard deviations.

  5. thanks for the prolific, and quite convicting post. instead of being too busy to thank you, thought i’d leave my 2 humble eprops for putting into words what we sometimes fail to recognize within ourselves, and yet jump through elaborate hoops to construct. it’s sobering to realize that #1-5 make regular appearances in my life, though fortunately #6 is water under the bridge (and the boy was persistent).

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