Mindful with Irene (20)

Being busy is a fool’s game, you might say. But why? Irene puts the “busy-busy-busy” behavior under the microscope.

“Only suckers are busy,” was the headline of an article in the [Dutch online newspaper] nrc.next, recently. I found that rather funny. For indeed, how often do you hear “oh busy” when you ask someone how they are. And, in fact, for how long had I been saying that, too? I say “had” because I don’t actually give that answer anymore – I found it to be an incredibly irritating reply, and always thought to myself: What am I actually saying here? Being busy makes you sound boring and sad and dissatisfied. But was I all those things? No, I wasn’t. I was often tired, I’ll grant you that, but I was tired from a day spent doing nice stuff. Nowadays, I simply say, “Fine, thanks. Busy doing lots of lovely things.” Okay okay, so I’m still saying the same thing, but I’m giving it a positive twist. And by looking at life from that perspective, things feel better. If you look at life through busy-doing-lots-of-lovely-things-tinted glasses, all the irritation disappears. Because then the pile of stuff that is being done actually translates into this: my kids are having fun doing their regular sports activities; I have to work long hours because I have a lot of beautiful things to create; I’m exhausted in the evening because I fit a lot into one day; my mind is in overdrive because there are still so many things on my wish list to do (currently on the top: follow a course to become a mindfulness trainer, and do a crocheting course with the neighbors). And I don’t have time for a lot of things because, umm, I am too busy enjoying lots of other lovely things. I stopped complaining, and I hope everyone else will. “Being busy” is a status symbol that has been transformed into a mindset for fools. Now there’s a rather relaxing insight.

Irene, together with Astrid, is the founder of Flow Magazine. She lives with her children (10 and 13, co-parenting) in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Each Friday, she writes about how various Mindfulness lessons apply in her daily life.