I Solemnly Swear to Not Say That I’m Busy

I will be moving from Chicago in a couple weeks to start a new job. These last few weeks have been filled with lunches, dinners, and drinks with friends and relatives that generously freed time in their schedules to see me before I leave town. However, after this many 1-on-1 interactions, I noticed a consistent pattern.

Everyone is “busy.” This isn’t like being “busy” in your 20s when it’s lots of activity masquerading as value. These are people in their 30s that have been promoted into jobs they like that have lots of responsibility. They also are people who have started families with a spouse and possibly one or multiple children. These are great ways to fill your hours. So why does the tone of the people talking about how busy they are still sound like equal parts excuses, complaining, and pride?

The truth is any of us sitting in this stage of our lives is blessed. Being “busy” at work means you have delivered on all expectations to this point and have been rewarded with an even more challenging role that hopefully pushes you to improve further. Life at home is “busy” because hopefully you found an amazing spouse and are on your way to building a fantastic environment for you and your growing family.

It will be tough to fit in other activities such as socializing with friends or working out to stay fit, but that’s where discipline and prioritization come in. You get to make the choices about where you strike the right balance. You are living your life on purpose. There is no need to apologize or be frustrated if time cannot be found for each activity you used to do. Our lives naturally constrict toward a smaller number of people and pursuits that gain more of our attention.

The new job I am starting will require more time and commitment than anything else I have pursued. I will have to make decisions about how and when I incorporate the other parts of my life. I will have to say ‘no’ more often. This is all okay, because they are my choices. My hope is instead of feeling “busy,” my overriding emotions are excitement and gratitude for the opportunity.