Choosing busy

I read a blog post the other day about how people should stop complaining about being too busy, and just slow down. While I read the post, I found myself agreeing with it. I don’t like to be so busy. I don’t thrive on dashing from one activity to another. I’d like nothing more than a few uninterrupted days of NOTHING. Time to read a book or three, watch a movie, fiddle with a DIY project, work a little in the yard (if it ever warms up again, O Snow on the First Day of Spring). But then I started to feel guilty about the busy-ness in my life, and now I resent that article for making me resent (more) the many claims on my time and attention.

I say no to a lot of things. No to PTA meetings, no to chaperoning field trips, no to scouting and soccer and Little League. No to joining a second choir, no to Wednesday night club meetings. But there are still so many things I can’t opt out of–and wouldn’t want to–and it doesn’t do much good to anyone to resent the time they take.

Cooking dinner, doing laundry, helping with homework, sweeping up the crumbs, writing. Junior high band festivals, supervising snow fort construction, book signings with a favorite author. It’s all about choices.

Yesterday I said no to folding the mountain of clean clothes in favor of finishing the paint job in the bathroom. Little Five spent some quality time with Curious George and PBS Kids, and I spent an hour and a half painting the baseboards and giving the beadboard wallpaper a second coat of paint.

Today I skipped emptying the dishwasher, and instead framed and hung the kids’ artwork. Later this afternoon I’ll say no to folding clothes again and say yes to a playdate. But at least the bathroom is complete.


10 responses

  1. Thanks, May! I tried to keep the bright colors to things cheaply and easily swapped out, so when I get tired of the color scheme, it won’t take much to change it. But I don’t know how I could ever get tired of the masterpieces on the wall!

  2. Great job on the bathroom!! It looks like such a cheery spot…such a good idea to frame the kids artwork, I will be doing that someday soon :). It is hard to say no, but I’ve gotten more comfortable with it over the past few years…it feels so freeing in a way to say no to certain things!

    • I’m so grateful to the art teachers at school–they make sure I have an endless supply of colorful pieces to frame! Our walls are now full of homages to Monet, Mondrian, Van Gogh, Warhol, Cezanne, Matisse, Kahlo, Pollock, New Zealand aboriginal paintings….:)

  3. I love this post.

    I get annoyed at the “just slow down” thing. You know what? Many days I literally can’t. It’s just that stage of life for me. My life is full and complicated and there really are only so many hours in a day. But I love what you’re saying here: We all have choices. We all make choices. I wish someone could have helped me understand that when I was younger–but I’m glad I get it now!

    Love your bathroom, too. All those colors look so happy.

    • Thanks, Rita.

      You’re right–it’s a stage of life, and I expect that some things will naturally slow down in a few years. But right now we try to choose to spread our time around on things that matter most to us. But it’s rarely an easy choice.

    • Gradually the kid art is taking over the house (family room, powder room, hall bath, upstairs hall, kids’ bedrooms…)! But it’s free, it’s colorful, and it makes me happy to look at it. My laundry room could use a dose of happy instead of cobwebs!

    • I wish I could go weeks without folding laundry! But skipping even one or two days makes the backlog unbearable. Laundry baskets everywhere, overflowing piles at the bottom of the laundry chute. I need to start listening to podcasts or something while I fold clothes.

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