Are You Busy?

{photo from Kailua Beach, Lanikai, HI at a time I was not busy}

One of my favorite authors is  Brené  Brown as she speaks my language in her books “Daring Greatly” and “The Gifts of Imperfection.” She is real. She is raw. She is honest. Her TEDx Houston talk is one of the most viewed in TED history with over 3 million views. I believe 1,000 of those views are mine! I came across a quote of hers this week as I was reading another book on productivity.

We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.

Busy is one of those words that is like nails on a chalkboard for me. When I hear it spoken I have chills going down my spine. Busy is not a badge of courage! I want to shout busy is a choice!!! My close friends and I have replaced the word “busy” with the phrase “my life is full.” We speak it from a place of gratitude and not from a place of lament. Busy is not a status of honor. Busy is a life out of balance.

I will fully admit my life has been busy. I had three boys in five years and we had the season of three kids in sports and playing instruments and piano practice and speech therapy. Now those boys who were in speech therapy are now in theater productions and last night I listened while one gave an interview to a newspaper wile siting on my couch. I may have cried a bit realizing how a boy who didn’t talk for the first 8 years of his life was now practicing the craft of weaving a story to make an impact on the art culture in our state through being interviewed.

But during those years of being busy and raising my boys I lost a part of me. Would I do it again? Yes, however I would be more mindful this time! If I were to ask myself what was the truth of my life that I didn’t want to catch up to me, the answer would be being a family law lawyer. I was miserable.

Once you go to law school and pass the bar exam you are suppose to be ecstatic. Right? Wrong! The bar exam was not an easy test for me. I was pregnant the first time I took it, and failed. I was raising a baby the second time I took it, and failed. I was raising a baby and pregnant the last time I took it, and passed. I knew I could never take that two day test again if I did not pass that last time.

But then after the pressure of taking the test was over came the pressure of working as a lawyer. I loved being a mom so I tried to find a balance of doing both, but I was busy. My goal was to help families in some tough emotional situations in life and make a difference on children’s lives. Sometimes I failed and sometimes I succeeded. But I needed out.  And I got out. It has been two and a half years since I had my license status go inactive. It was an easy decision supported by my family and friends.

We are a culture caught up in the idea of being busy. Many are like me and trying to escape something. I am blessed to have friendships that include real and raw conversations. I am a good listener and I hear as people confess their truths to me.

What is the truth that they don’t want to catch up to them? For some it is an unhappy marriage. For some it is estranged family members. Still for others it could be addiction or mental illness or an unhealthy lifestyle.

When a client calls me it is often out of desperation as they are too busy and know that they need help to get their home or life organized. They simply don’t know where to start. But what happens is an unraveling of their lives. I have clients make confessions to me about what is really going on. Usually when they speak it to me, it is the first time they have spoken it out loud. There are tears shed, often from both of us. I have stood in a client’s beautiful walk in closet and cried about the health issues one of my children was facing. I knew if I stayed busy enough I didn’t have the time to think about it. However that day in that gorgeous closet I cried about my fears and my client cried with me. I wasn’t busy that day and I faced the truth I wanted to escape from.

If you are like me and in the midst of a busy life and want to slow down without fear of the truth, just make it happen. You have control over it. For me it was finding a supportive group of friends who nurtured me as I made that leap out of law. For others it may be making that call for inpatient treatment for addiction. Still others may need to meet with a spiritual, financial or mental health advisor for guidance. We are not alone in this journey of life. Busy is a choice and there are constructive ways to make yourself less busy. Join me as we live a full life and leave busy on the road of words we never use. Take it out of your lexicon and kick it to the curb!

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity


Melissa is a Professional Organizer living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!

2 Responses

  1. Abby

    Thank you so much for introducing me to Brene Brown! I’ve binge watched her Tedx talk, Super Soul Sundays with Oprah, and everything else I can find since reading this blog post. This philosophy is so what I need right now, I agree with you 110%. Thanks again.

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