Around this time two years ago my life looked quite different than it does today. As he does now, my husband was traveling a lot out of town for work. Both of our kids were in school, I was running a business of my own and working a part time job. Each day I would leave from the part time job to gather up my son from school and rush to get home in time for my 1st grader to be dropped off by the bus. Straight off the bus she jumped into the car so that I could drop them off at a part time daycare where they would eat their dinner each evening so that I could work until around 7.
I then collected my sleepy children, got them home, fed, bathed…oh and homework. Somehow in the midst of the chaotic evening routine we resentfully stumbled our way through first grade homework. I honestly, missed my daughter learning to read and had no clue what she did in school that year. By the time I got them tucked in, it was just 8 more hours before the madness began all over again.
And yet, in all the ridiculous busyness our lives had become, I felt proud. As if all of my busyness and rushing were some sort of badge of honor. That feeling overwhelmed with demands was proof of a thriving, successful life.
It was an evening conversation with my husband in which he asked me, “WHY are you doing all this? What is making you feel like you have to push yourself so hard?”
I guess somehow I had convinced myself that we needed the money – which we didn’t. I mean sure, extra money didn’t hurt, but we weren’t going to not be able to pay bills if I cut something out. I realize there are people who don’t have a choice not to live like that, but I did.
I was driving myself and our family to the point of exhaustion and chaos so that we could afford the life we were told we were supposed to have. Because isn’t that what good Americans do?
Somehow, I had convinced myself that all of the rushing and the making more money made me more valuable and important to society….maybe even my family.
I eventually realized this is so far from the truth.
I look back and wonder, what was I trying to prove back then? Who had made me believe that the insanity of the rat race equalled success?
I am not unAmerican. But I would like to UNAmericanize our culture’s way of thinking and doing when it comes to what true success looks like.
Being busy and being productive are two completely different things altogether. Sometimes our lives become so busy, that they cease to be productive or even meaningful at all.
Since selling everything, leaving our house and traveling light in our camper; our lives, as one can imagine, look vastly different from the very American suburban life we lead. Our days are slower, easier, more intentional and the smallest details (like trips to the library, science projects, calls home, grocery store trips, or nature walks) feel like big deals….rather than necessary evils.
And to be honest some days I feel guilty. Wondering why it feels like I haven’t done enough?
I think mostly my definition of productive got skewed long ago. Now I am working to retrain my mind…and my soul
to stop the glorification of busy.
To slow slow down and embrace the light, the slow and the beautifully simple things in life.
It could be that abundance is found when life becomes stripped down a bit more closely to it’s original state.
Less is more. Slower is better.
It’s time we stop the glorification of busy.