How to Get Off the Busy Drug

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Busy Drug

You know the busy drug. The one that keeps your body jazzed and moving all day from one task to the next because busy is the way to be. “How are you?” “Busy, man, busy. You wouldn’t believe how busy I am.” We all strive to earn the busy badge each day and compete to be the busiest.

How did it get this way? Is this the Protestant Work Ethic gone mad? Is just an American thing? Being busy seems to be our only excuse to not do something. You can’t say that you can’t show up because you need time to do nothing. That is just not acceptable in the busy race.

Even I have trouble down shifting into nothing. I talk to women all the time about the value of retreat and taking a pause but I still feel the discomfort of not feeling productive if a day comes along that there isn’t a long list of chores in front of me. Days when no dinner prep is needed, groceries have already been bought and no laundry is piled up.

I woke to a day such as that today. After meeting a friend for coffee at 9 a.m., there was nothing on my to do list until attending my son’s track meet that evening. I almost felt a panic at how to fill those hours. “This is crazy!” I thought. A retreat day was being handed to me and I was hesitant. Thoughts of things I could do such as pull and wash all the sheets, clean the bathroom, organize that back hall closet filled me head.

It is so easy to fill our lives with things to do that don’t have much meaning other than to fill our time so we can avoid the things that really matter or the difficult things in our lives. My quick list of chores that appeared in my head were one option. Certainly getting online and going to FB or trolling around for something to buy was another option. But what I really needed to do was pause. Think about where I am in my life. Consider my feelings. Thoughts of my dad who passed away in 2012 are never far from my mind and though the pain of my grief feels overwhelmingly fresh at times, I do not want to lose my connection to his memory. Thinking about my marriage and how I want to show my love for Michael is a good place to put my retreat energy. Considering the best way to care for myself is worthy of my time.

These are things that we leave to the side when we have too much busy drug coursing through our veins. We think that we shove all those things in the closet or take them for granted because they will be there – later – when we have more time. The myth is that there is never that time because the busy drug keeps us moving and always filling it in with endless tasks. You have to make the time in your life for the things that really matter. The busy life is not a life. You have to balance the busy times with times of quiet to move toward the fullness of days which we all desire.

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