Just Don’t Be Too Busy To Read This, K?

I’m really busy. Like so busy, I only have time to post how busy I am on Facebook and then keep hitting refresh to see who’s liking and commenting on my status, and then like – for real. I gotta go.

Maybe I have time for one more Buzzfeed quiz, but then for real, you guys!

Some say with technology and American ideals for success, we’re the busiest we’ve ever been. Maybe. But I bet trying to raise a family during the medieval times wasn’t all hammocks and margaritas. And, as far as I know, the pioneers on the Oregon Trail had a real hard time making it to happy hour.

I think humans are wired for purpose and always have been. If we don’t spend time on the things we need to nourish ourselves physically (survival), emotionally (community) and spiritually (purpose) – we’ll fill the void(s) with something.

Like a “Little Couple” marathon. And I speak from experience, thank you very much.

Isn’t it weird how we tend to get all braggy about being busy? Like we’re about to get knighted by the King of Hustle or something?

And am I wrong to assume the King of Hustle would probably look like Master P?

Let’s be real – busy isn’t living with purpose, it’s living with stress. And a family sized bag of Peanut M&Ms for those of us who eat our feelings.

There are a lot of motivational quotes out there and tons of celebrities talking about the grind. “Work harder than everyone else so you can someday live like no one else,” kinda thing.

I like that. As someone who feels like she works 24/7, forsaking my health and my friendships at times, I also get that.

But, I’m a little concerned that instead of being inspired by these messages, some people (hello, mothers of small children?) will perceive the workload of success to be an impossible feat that will keep their dream, well, a dream.

That’s easy to do when moguls like P. Diddy used to brag about sleeping for 3 hours and working 18. Money never sleeps, you guys, ok? Diddy said so.

Color me surprised when in a recent interview he admitted to having a sleeping disorder and that his old grind was torture and caused him to fall asleep during important meetings.

Thanks a lot, Diddy. It would have been nice to tell me you had a disorder before making me feel inadequate, mmkay?

I read another article outlining the schedules of successful women. It was supposed to be an inspirational piece. The typical schedule read like this: Wake up around 5:00 am, take kids to school, work, pick kids up from school and have dinner, work some more, then lights out at midnight.

Hold up. Did you just say you get 5 hours of a sleep a night?

Oh, come on! Give me and my coffee maker a freaking break!

What these “sleepless” messages say to me is, “Success is having a touch of OCD and only seeing your family on special occasions while wearing expensive power suits.”

Sometimes, “Success is just keeping everybody alive until bed time while wearing your favorite stained yoga pants with the hole in the crotch.”

ALT-Success-Quote

Attempting to be perfect is chasing an impossible dream. Attempting to do something that matters is the dream.

The path to our purpose isn’t elusive and destructive. It’s peaceful and nourishing. It isn’t busy, it’s focused.

Stained yoga pants are the new power suit.

Now, that doesn’t mean chasing our dreams feels like a luxurious nap. We will pull all nighters. We may need weeks, or even months at a grinding pace to get where we need to go. We may need to call in reinforcements like baby sitters, grandmas and the pizza guy.

But this money never (ever?) sleeps hustle? That, in my humble opinion, has zero to do with living a life with purpose and everything to do with feeding an insatiable ego with something to prove.

So where does that leave us?

It’s different for everyone, but know this: There will be time for rest. There will be time for your closest friends and family. There will be time for your purpose.

You probably won’t have time for a Netflix binge.

You may need to get off the PTA.

Your girlfriend may need to start paying a real counselor instead of calling you every morning for free. (Or, start charging her. Remember, think like an entrepreneur!)

And, a lesson I learned the hard way – when you allot 3 hours to work on your dream, 1 hour of it probably shouldn’t be spent watching YouTube videos of a baby bulldog rolling down a hill on repeat.

Busy is a given. What we’re busy doing is what matters.

ALT-Reacting-Quote

I was challenged last week to create non-negotiable time for my writing – even if it’s just the first 10 minutes of my morning.

Why? Because we owe it to ourselves and to others to dedicate our time to what matters.

My true passion is this, right here – fellowship with all of you reading, right now. I haven’t written on this blog for almost two weeks because I didn’t allow myself the time. I had a really good excuse, too. HooHas keeps me freaking busy!

But my mind would always trail right back here.

Because I love it here. I feel called here.

The truth is, I did have the time. And I was wasting a lot of it.

Let’s get brutally honest. If I’m still and listen, a truth emerges. While it’s true, I am busy – another truth is that I’m not totally sure what I’m doing with this space quite yet.

When I don’t know what I’m doing, I feel fear.

Aha.

If you can’t create the time for your purpose, even just a few moments with a cup of coffee before your family wakes, then stop. Be still. Let your truth bubble to the surface.

… what if I make the time … what if I make the sacrifice … what if … it doesn’t pan out like I had hoped?

Maybe it’s not time you’re lacking. Maybe it’s courage.

I know you’re busy, I am too. But if you don’t make the time for what you were put here to do, you deprive me of your gifts.

And that just makes me mad.

Someone needs what only you can give.

What a tragedy if you couldn’t find the time courage to give it. Even in your stained yoga pants.

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20 Comments on “Just Don’t Be Too Busy To Read This, K?

  1. I think some of the problem I have is Mommy guilt. Sure I would love to read that book, or finish that baby blanket, or even write more but after 8 hours of work away from my guy I feel he deserves my time (and I want that time with him too). Not to say I don’t do anything for myself, but I definitely feel like sometimes there really aren’t enough hours in the day. Weekends have more time, but they also have a crazy two year old who I am convinced doesn’t want me to sit for more than 2 minutes at a time! Luckily my MIL is going to watch him for a few hours on Sunday, and then I get to clean!

    • You’re not alone on this one. Mommy guilt is real and for serious. I even have friends that work full time at deeply fulfilling jobs – and they feel guilty for not feeling guilty!

      My take is that feelings of guilt and inadequacy (from loving, nurturing parents) are just thoughts, rarely rooted in truth. Living out our dreams/purpose won’t come at the expense of children and loved ones – so if certain actions will cause actual, real neglect – then we know right away that action isn’t the right choice. I’ll be thinking of you as you find the balance and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help figure it out. 😀

  2. You may not know what you’re doing with this space, but while you’re figuring it out, you’re inspiring me. I was actually going to go back and comment on the “Do Something Stupid” post and ask if taking a $40k pay cut to pursue a dream counted? I can live off the new amount fine. I’m a simple southern girl, so as long as I can afford sweet tea, I’m a pretty happy camper. Plus, the confidence that I am now walking into my purpose/calling is worth more than any amount of money. So, thank you for creating this space and including us in your journey.

    In the long run, you probably helped me save a ton of future money to be spent on therapy had I remained indefinitely in my cubicle.

      • Thanks! I’m pretty stoked for me, too. I’ve been working as an International Trade Auditor and coaching varsity basketball and soccer on the side. The school I coach for has provided me the opportunity to teach introductory business classes and coach full time. Working with students and athletics are my two passions…I just realized it too late…well, not too late, God worked it out for my good. I’m sucking it up in my cubicle until the fall, but just knowing my future steps is motivation enough.

      • Exactly – never too late! There were times when I wished I started HaHas for HooHas way earlier because I’m not getting any younger and I wanted success yesterday. Starting earlier would have washed away years working at a university and getting my Master’s degree (beautiful years, but not – you know – years spent practicing comedy writing). But now when I look back, I get it – and it seems to fall perfectly into place.

        You’re right on time! I’m so happy for you.

  3. Courage is absolutely what I’m lacking. I know what makes me happy, I thought that declaring it would embolden me but I find myself saying, “I don’t have enough time.” I’m terrified of falling flat on my face, I’m terrified because I don’t have a plan for it, but I know what I need to be doing. I know what I need to be sharing.
    I guess it’s time to put on my adult stained yoga pants?

  4. So great, Anna. And so true. I spend my days feeling unaccomplished because I’m not earning ___ amount of dollars or keeping up with my personal hygiene like I should. (God, I need a shower.) BUT I remind myself a hundred times a day to put down the cheese whiz and do the things that energize me and make me a better — well, me. I love my children and would lay down my life to save theirs (and, in a way, I am doing that already) but taking the time and risk to do the things I love are just as important. It’s so scary to put yourself out there, especially when you constantly feel like you’re failing in the normal day-to-day tasks. This is something I’m still learning but I so love reading about your journey and knowing I’m not alone on this road called life. I’ve been meaning to sew up the crotch of my sweats, but I think I’ll just embrace the breeze. 🙂

    • It’s very scary – for a lot of reasons – but mostly because it MATTERS and it would super suck if it doesn’t “work out” in the way we hope. If I get into this mindset, I remind myself – stop reacting, stop creating. I sit down and create. What happens – happens, but at least I did what I needed to do.

      Also? I LOL’d about embracing the breeze.

  5. Thank you for this article. It was a lovely bit of inspiration I’ve needed. Setting aside time to work on my dream is something I have been struggling with. I recently (2 months recent, ha ha) had a little baby girl. She’s now sleeping a little longer at night and she provides so many good excuses to procrastinate. After so many years I found a dream that I feel I could actually achieve and I seriously enjoy it. I wrote a trilogy! I struggle with courage. The first book is up online as an ebook. That took a ton of courage and is taking even more to get the second book ready and available. I need to stop wasting time. Thanks! Check the book out, if you like, at josiwales.com.

  6. Love this post! I moved overseas 13 years ago and I wouldn’t change a thing. However, I miss these kinds of conversations that touch something profound in such a witty, zany, comfortable way. Thanks, Anna, for your time, your thoughts and observations. I’m sitting here, in my “power suit”, enjoying my coffee even more because you are the first person in my house to speak to me in English today. And what you said reminded me of who I am. Thanks.

  7. Anna, thank you so much for being honest (and hilarious) in your writing. I think a LOT of people needed this.

    I am a high school English teacher. I am also a photographer and (rarely, these days) blogger. I want to be a photographer and blogger more…but I don’t have the time. 😉 You hit the nail on the head with this post, and it is working on me, big time.

  8. When I go through a day without getting much of my creative stuff accomplished (I write[rarely], make jewelry, sew, paint, bake, draw, lots of other stuff), I get the reminder of all the time I waste online just browsing. It’s just so distracting and easy to lose an hour or more on.

    In a weekday, I have to drop my husband off at carpool, take care of two girls (one almost 5, the other 3 months old) including feeding them both, keep house clean, take care of important phone calls and do the shopping we need, before picking my husband up from carpool around 5. Then other stuff happens when he’s home. I rarely get creative time, I complain, but really I’m just wasting time dragging the computer or kindle around paying more attention to facebook and other things.

    My older daughter has really been driving this home lately, saying, “I’m too busy,” when I ask her to get something for the baby, or playing house and being the mom, and saying the same thing. The reality is, I’m busy with unimportant stuff so much, that when I really am busy (rushing to clean up before getting husband, hurrying to bake something last minute), she needs me most and I really can’t do something with her.

    I’m starting to make more time for my passion to create, and if I want to get a birthday dress done in time I had better! It’s just so easy to sit and start reading and reacting, especially when I’m sitting feeding the baby every two hours or so, for 30 minutes or more.

    Thank you for this! Now I better check my etsy stats, then close the computer and pay attention to the girls and work on my passion!

  9. Anna, this is an incredible call to action! And you’ve nailed it once again – we confuse busyness with purpose all the time. Spinning our wheels isn’t the same as going somewhere, even if the going is tough and slow. It’s funny how we can consider it “wasted time” to buck up the courage and pursue a dream, but not to play on Facebook for hours at a time – goodness I get in that rut. Anyway, more brilliance, more encouragement. Thank you, thank you!!

  10. Scared was what I was when I recently went back to teaching. I had let my fear bring me down. After years of education and getting my teachng certification, I quit after only 3 months. Now here it is 14 years later and I’m back on the road, head first into the wind and looking for a full time gig.

    If I’d have seen your blog earlier maybe I wouldn’t have had to spend so much money crying to my therapist 🙂

  11. Love your post! Luckily and sadly, my son is grown now, I work so much I barely have time to think, but as I have gotten older I have learned even when it comes to work sometimes you just have to say no. My passion is my son…and history, now I make time for it. 🙂

  12. Sweet Jesus, this so speaks to me, as I linked over to your blog from reading your Fart story on HooHas for the 30th time, after seeing it in my Facebook news feed, while watching Ridiculousness on tv, sitting next to Mt Laundry on the couch, trying to decide if I should take a morning nap because I have a long day of housework ahead of me. All while I have a folder full of writing waiting for me to finally put on big girl undies and publish my thoughts online in a new blog, but have been “too busy” to post. Time to be less “busy” and more purposefully productive! Riiiight after this nap…

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