I've always led a busy life. Managing multiple classes, working full time, and running a business was the norm for awhile, but I always anticipated these bursts of exertion to end at a point. "When I graduate...", "when I'm living on my own...", "when I'm fully self employed", etc. I've said it all.
Well, I have graduated, I am living on my own, and I am completely self employed. But this week, I have a strenuous time ahead of me.
-3 wedding shoots
-3 event shoots
-Discuss the rental of a studio/office space with my business partner and another fabulous lady.
-Look at a house
-Go to the doctor with Shelby (poor thing has Bell's Palsy)
-Visit Grandpa as much as possible in Massachusetts
-And, of course, every other little thing that needs doing.
According to Merriam-Webster, "busy" is defined as:
-Actively doing something
-Full of activity or work
-Full of people or things
I think most people's busy tends to revolve around the middle definition. Throughout the past seven years or so, I've been so busy with work, and school, and everything else that I have refused to use the word "busy." Seeing it, reading it, and saying makes me feel stressed. Usually I go with "occupied," but is that really much better?
I also feel like society judges you based on if you're busy and to what degree of busy you're experiencing. Why is it such a competition? Isn't life meant to be enjoyed?
My prior boss, Emshika, told me about Thrive by Arianna Huffington. Although I fully intend to read the book, I found this article which seemed to be an excellent summation of Huffington's points. She argues that instead of focusing on money and power, we focus on thriving as a metric of success.
Because I'm such a logophile, let's look at the definition of "thrive":
-To grow or develop successfully; to flourish or succeed
Doesn't that sound more fulfilling than busy?
Huffington notes that thriving is spending quality time with family and friends, sleeping an adequate amount each night, avoiding burnout and much more. It's certainly a difficult practice to start, but one we all should be doing.
I am fortunate that because I'm self employed, I can take a moment to process everything by writing (this blog post!), take a nap, make a to do list, and get going. For me, to do lists help pull worry from my mind by recording thoughts and tasks tangibly on paper. The satisfaction of checking items off keeps me going.
This week I have to work on each task at a time and each day at a time, putting on my blinders to everything else. In the future, however, I need to reign in my busy and make time for cleaning (yes!) and relaxation (absolutely yes!). Saying "no" is a struggle, but it does pay off. My mantra this week comes from Winston Churchill: If you're going through hell, keep going.
What keeps me going is knowing that I'll make it to heaven and calmer days next week. And hopefully thrive after that.