How Busy Is Too Busy?
As I flipped through the Montreal Gazette this morning while drinking my coffee, I came across a headline that caught my eye. The kids had no school, so it was a pleasure to sit down, slowly, in my bathrobe, with my cup of joe, and enjoy the unfrenetic pace. Definitely a welcomed change from the usual whirlwind of a typical school morning. The headline read, “Crazy Busy is too busy– but what of not busy enough?” I liked it. I read on.
The columnist Susan Schwartz (whose writing I enjoy), discussed the state of women’s lives today… most of us are feeling overwhelmed, over-committed, with little “me time,” little time for friends, and are overtaxed with deadlines and other obligations. But the “On the fence” issue she mentioned struck a chord– “Listening, I thought how not being busy enough can damage the spirit as much as being too busy, how we all need some purpose, some structure. The work need not be paid or be considered work in the traditional sense, but it must be fruitful, make us feel like we matter.” (Susan Schwartz) I have been saying this, you all know, since I started this blog Sept. 11, 2009.
After I read Susan’s article, I couldn’t help but think back to something that happened two weeks ago. And then that sinking feeling of guilt came over me again. It was definitely my warning sign to slow down. We had been gearing up for our Disney vacation, I was preparing for my weekly radio segment, writing blogs, preparing my Women In Leadership speech, packing up the family, balancing mommyhood and wifehood, and I was just very busy. Too busy in fact to re-read the teacher’s instructions for my son’s Torah Consecration ceremony (a Jewish ceremony in the synagogue at school). It was the first time I’d ever done anything like this. My boys are my life, my priority, my #1.
In fact, Miss Organized (that’s me), had put the instructions in her Blackberry last month: dress pants, white button down, dress shoes and white kippah. But, the morning of the ceremony, rushing of course, I had remembered “grey pants” (they had to wear grey pants LAST year), and I forgot the white kippah. So, off he went to school in his grey uniform pants, white button down, dress shoes, and no white kippah.
At 9am, my husband, myself, my four year old, and the grandparents all took our seats in the synagogue. We were excited, as the whole class had been preparing for months for this big day. Then out came the kids, walking and singing in a single-file line right to the stage. They were adorable. But there was my boy on the stage– the ONLY one in the grey school uniform pants, and a white kippah the size of Russia, that the school had lent him. My husband looked at me– if looks could kill, I would have been six feet under. I fucked up. How could I have done this? All the kids were in white kippahs sent from home, that fit them. All in their black dress pants. My son clearly stood out. I wanted to die. But there he sang, so confident and completely unaware. It made me feel even sicker.
I decided right then and there, instead of beating myself up, or feeling embarrassed, I would watch and enjoy the show. The kids were brilliant, and my son of course, made us all so proud. When it was over, we hugged him and told him how proud we were of him. But as we were walking out, my mom, always the most honest person to me, said, “Sweetie, you need to slow down. It wasn’t a big deal, but it’s a sign.” And I knew she was right. Busy is great. Too busy is not great.
I shared my story today in hopes that you will learn from it. Now luckily, it wasn’t a huge error, but as my mom put it, it was my wake-up call. I think we all need to find that fine line between not busy, and too busy. And then it all comes down to priorities, life obligations, life choices, responsibilities, and then I’m back on the fence with how to juggle it all. But I’ll leave this dilemma for another day.
Instead, I will close with something I’ve never done… taken someone else’s closing line, but I think it sums up how we should all organize our busy lives. “In the end, then, let us wish for one another: to be busy enough to feel a part of the rhythm and the beat of the world around us– but not so busy that we don’t hear its music.”
Well said Susan Schwartz.
Tell us, HOW BUSY IS TOO BUSY? Do you like being busy or do you find it overwhelming? How do YOU find time to enjoy the music, and master the fine balance between doing enough and doing too much? Please share with our readers.