The Badge of Busyness

When striking up the usual chit-chatter, I often hear (and probably have answered just as often) “busy!” If idle hands are the devil’s workshop, then maybe we subconsciously think that we must be doing good when we are “busy.” When I’m not busy, I try to at least look like I’m doing something. This makes me wonder, why do I want the badge of busyness?

I hate being busy–the image of the proverbial chicken-running-around-with-his-head-chopped-off comes to mind. I want to be productive, and the two aren’t always the same. Yesterday I found myself constantly checking in for a set of papers that was already late. I spent so much time and effort logging in to see if it had arrived. I was annoyed with myself for really wasting that but then realized I had done so for the past few days in anticipation of the arrival.. Then my husband told me about his day: he had spilled a good amount of water and put in a call to the janitorial crew for a mop. So for two hours he paced back-and-forth from his desk to the spill, worried someone would slip but not having the tools to clean up properly. Surely we were behaving as headless chickens. Headless, brainless, no higher-level consciousness to guide our actions towards something grander than the immediate.

When we answer that we are busy, what are we really doing? Trying to assert our worth? Comparing ourselves to the other? Worshipping at the alter of self glorification? But the root of the problem isn’t our answer, it’s that we are busy. I would trade all the useless busyness for peace. I just don’t know how to get there yet.

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