Lately, several friends of mine have commented on how “busy” I seem to be. In fact, I recently asked how many more months/years I have left on my commitment to a local nonprofit board and the response I received back was that they can see I have a lot going on (thanks social media) and they would be okay if I need to step off. They also mentioned the “health issues” I mentioned in my previous post. *grumble*
Do they say this because they perceive that I’m doing too much? That they’re not doing enough? Is it a compliment? A chastisement? Depending on the blog you read or the podcast you listen to, it could go either way.
I feel like everyone I know is keeping several plates spinning… going to bed too late and not getting to take a nap and wishing they had more days in their weeks. But am I being an overachiever? Am I spinning more plates than the average human?
Asking myself these questions over the last week or so has been pretty interesting. Basically, the answer I come to is “Yes.” And then there’s a very emphatic “BUT…” that comes along right after. Because while it’s true I am busy, that I have my calendar full of things I’m involved in, and I have lists of things I want to do that I haven’t even begun to plan yet (so. many. things.) there is a super-valid reason for all this over-activity.
I. Am. Over. 50.
Maybe I need to add “And, YOLO!”
I assume I’m like most women my age who spent prime years in their twenties and thirties raising kids and working – sometimes two jobs – and living paycheck to paycheck, and struggling to keep people healthy, fed, and in mostly-clean clothes. In fact, those last three things lasted into my forties (hell, they’re ongoing!!!) because I had my last child at 38 while I was completing my degree and planning a wedding for the following summer. As I typed this, I’m beginning to think this over-commitment business is not a new thing.
After I got that degree and executed that wedding, we moved to a new home in a nearby town and my daughters had some adjustment challenges, then my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, and then she passed away, and THEN my oldest – while she was a senior in high school – got pregnant, and we spent two more years helping her and her daughter get some legs under them. Still helping, if I’m being honest… the nest may be empty, but they still have a key.
BUT, I’m okay with being busy. There’s a big difference between the kind of busy life I seem to have always been living, and the one I do now. It boils down to a very clear differentiation:
The things I am busy with now are not things I have been given to do – they are things I want to do.
Yes, getting my degree was my idea, and having my son was and still is a joy, but one was a requirement to continue to work in the industry in which I was employed, and the other was a very happy accident. The rest were just my responsibilities.
The things I am doing now, for the most part, are things I choose to do because they make me happy. I may also be trying to shove a lot into my days given my realization that I have an ever-growing list of things I want to do, and less and less time to do them.
This is a topic I’d love to discuss with my mother, if she were still living. I wonder what was still on her list… But that’s a subject for another post.
I am still the one doing all the meal-planning and grocery shopping, and I write on a deadline for $$, but yesterday, I applied to be a “designer” curating thrifted slow-fashion looks for a local fashion week event and I’m also signed up to create costumes for a local children’s theatre. They happen during the same month, which is insane, but these two events would help me meet my goals of “work in fashion” and “work in theatre” that seventeen-year-old-me is super disappointed I didn’t get to earlier.
Yep, I am busy. But I guess I’m okay with that.