“How are you?  Busy?…”

 When I run into people I haven’t seen for a while, they always say, “How are you?  Busy?” without giving me a chance to answer which I have started to find really conflicting/ annoying.  
There’s typically a brief internal moment weighing up options.  And I find myself agreeing with them.  Whether I am busy, or not, just for the sake of social protocol I feel the compulsion to nod,  agree with them,  just so I don’t seem like a slacker. 

If I am busy, I feel a bit guilty that I obviously have not been staying in touch with them or allocating my time carefully enough and have lost all control of my day, my week, my life  Phew!  I’m overthinking this, right?
What are THEY up to?  Am I busier than they are?  Less busy?  Would I be a lot better off if I were more busy?  Is this some sort  of financial judgement?  Or do I just look harried?   

As a working mum,  I started thinking about what it means to be busy.   I know my kids are older now and I don’t spend hours driving them to soccer practice or dance rehearsal, or making sure I purchase tooth paste (essential) or Nutella (less essential) but really, where does my time go?   
And its not just my time, but my husband is ‘busy’, my kids are busy, my neighbour who doesn’t work is busy, even my financially-comfortable, non-working friend with a full-time housekeeper is busy.   What the heck are we all doing with our time?  


  • Being busy sometimes means we aren’t taking care of ourselves. 
  • Being busy doesn’t necessarily lead to fulfilment.  
  • Busy suggests we aren’t ‘present’, but we are looking to see whats coming up next, the future. 
  • Busy can mean we aren’t fully focusing on the person immediately in front of us.   
  • Boundaries cross and we work and parent at the same time and everyone loses.   
  • Busy costs us money when we don’t prepare for something and have to pay through the nose to remedy our lack of organisation.  
  • Busy means we don’t spend enough time refuelling friendships and and they drift into becoming acquaintances. 
  • Busy can multiply into unnecessary stress. (Really do you HAVE to check your email/ facebook/ twitter account right this second?)  
  • Busy means we hurry our kids (“Quickly!  Get your shoes on!) 

Unconsciously being busier and busier and and hurrying like crazy, yet running in place.  The Hamster Wheel syndrome.

Has ‘busy’ got in the way of actually doing.  Or even worse, being.  
When do we enjoy all the things we are being busy for?  
I’ve decided to slow it all down.  Take a few breathers.  Take a stroll, rather than a rush.  Chill out and be silent and listen, rather than fill in all the blanks with chat and music, and digital media. Spend the tiniest bit longer paying closer attention to people, really being fully focused on the person, rather than the next event.  Book a lunch or get together with four friends I haven’t seen for a while, even to just go for a walk.  Recharging by reading a book and being still  – not just physically but mentally -for half an hour every day.  Concede that I can’t run the world, and more importantly, that I can rule my own little universe and not be driven by external measures to be busy.   
So I might get up ten minutes earlier, spend some time sipping a cuppa and looking out of the window, stop to have an actual conversation with one of my kids but more importantly consciously live my seconds and minutes and not rushing to fill the hours.
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