Unpopular Opinion: You Don’t Have To Be Busy All Of The Time

Does having a busy life always mean you're living your best one?

 

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When someone asks you how you are, what is your automatic response? While it may be a positive or negative one, I can pretty much guarantee that the word ‘busy’ has been thrown in there somewhere regardless, “I’m grand yeah, thanks, busy, you know yourself”. Letting other people know that you’re busy is like whacking on a big badge of honour for everyone to gawk at.

There’s probably a good reason why we respond like this. Think about it, what’s the opposite of being busy? Being lazy. ‘Working hard’ and ‘being successful’ are synonymous with being busy, so if we’re stagnant, for even just one moment, then we’re not thriving. Are you even truly living life if you’re not on the go 24/7? 

It’s not just in our careers that we overstretch ourselves either. We make plans with friends, book dinners, arrange trips, meticulously organise weekends, we want to fill every second of our time on this planet with something, even if it’s just watching a TikTok video. Somewhere along the way of evolution we’ve lost the ability to just sit and be. You might look at your upcoming diary and feel proud of how chunky it’s shaping up to be, but does a busy life mean you’re living your best one? Not necessarily.

 

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For myself personally, a filled diary doesn’t excite me, but does the opposite instead. I don’t get joy out of having something to do and somewhere to be every single day. I need some days spent doing ‘nothing’ in between busy days to recharge. I live for the weekends where I can relax and unwind and feel ready to face the world again that coming Monday. Equally, I also like to turn my weekends and free time into adventures, just not every weekend. And right there is where I feel like I’ve found the perfect balance for myself, and extroverted introverts alike.

Being selective with my time and activities allows me to appreciate them tenfold when they do come around. Living through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and experiencing a lack of freedom for the first time hit the reset button in many of us, I would assume. While dinner dates and city breaks were regular special guests in our diaries, for the best part of a year any semblance of outside stimulation ceased to exist. Until they began to trickle back into our lives when lockdown restrictions eased. 

Now, when I have a dinner booked or a weekend in a hotel to look forward to, I revel in the joy of it all. Pre-panny I likely would have had 3-4 other things on that week in the lead up to a weekend break, and so when my trip finally came around I would spend the night before in a state of panic to get everything in order and the weekend itself too exhausted from the week’s events to actually enjoy it. Selectivity has been the gateway to happiness for me. I don’t want to go back to a life where my brain is so desensitised to plans that I can’t enjoy an experience while I’m in it.

I forever want to hold onto the awe that we currently feel while sitting in a restaurant and spotting our food coming over, or seeing people in beer gardens plaster on a cheeky grin for the camera while they hold their pints proudly in the air, that’s a feeling worth bottling. Before everything changed, evening drinks with friends was so banal in our minds it was barely worth documenting, now, we can’t go for a walk without making a song and dance about it.

You can get so busy making plans that you forget to schedule in actually enjoying them. Busying yourself with everything and anything is a sure fire way to build up a life that is all smoke and mirrors, you’ll never get fulfillment from a life that’s dedicated to distraction, or even just one that demands more from you than you can manage.

I truly believe that the trick to living a fulfilled life is not to jam-pack it with so much that it becomes meaningless, but rather to enjoy the quality of doing things over the quantity of doing them. I want to bring the energy of Alec Baldwin in his Friends cameo to every outing I have from now on, forever taking mental pictures of this beautiful life *click*, just not every day.

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