During college, a friend worked at the only five star private restaurant in our college town, which was in the University Alumni Center. He was a bartender, and one day while scooting out before all of his chores were finished, he was called on the carpet by one of the cooks.
"Where do you think you are going?" she asked him. A very sturdy and solid woman, she took nonsense from no one.
He replied, "I have to go, I have to go to the gym, get something to eat, call my friend, and get ready for a party tonight."
"MMM hmm, you're just so busy."
"I am, sorry, I have to run," he said, with a pat on her shoulder and a smile. He was devilishly good looking, and this charming maneuver worked often.
"MR. BUSY, You can just save your smirky smile for your little college girls. I know you have to run. Run your little butt right back in the bar and finish your work."
They had a stare down. "Now GO." She outweighed him by about 200 pounds, so he went, believe it. As he scoots away, she mutters "so busy" that sounded just like this: Sooooooooooooooooooooooo bizzzzzy.
The moral of the story: We do think we are so busy. And no doubt at times we are. The older we get, there is never a shortage of tasks. But I have a friend who can turn two errands and a trip to the grocery store into a Shakespearan tragedy.
I can fill an entire day with tasks but not critical tasks, but merely the tasks I want to do. My Dad used to get fired up at me in college when I would neglect to call him back for days. Every time I felt compelled to explain to him that I too was just. sooooo. busy.
He would advise me, in an increasingly stern voice, I did not actually know the first thing about being busy. And truly busy people make time. I probably gave an eye roll and a shrug, convinced no one understands just how busy a sorority girl can be. Oh, such a wise young lady. From youth until now, I have heard this mantra on a never-ending loop. The truth is, the majority of the time, we certainly make time for the things we want to do. We all know it. Rarely have I missed a great event, a concert, or a friend's party because I was just so busy.
I adhered to this mantra much better during graduate school and by the time I started working, I fully embraced it. At my first office, I would listen to two of the young girls on our admin staff talk lament about why they couldn't get things done because, they too were just so busy. I thought, they have NO idea.
And when you don't have kids, people with kids try to trump you on the busy scale. And when you only have one child, people with two trump you. And so on and so on and so on. And then there are the people so unorganized they waste time simply trying to keep up with themselves.
And now, think about conversations we have with other people. Everyone is so busy, we try to out-busy one another. And being so busy is a built-in alibi. Couldn't call someone back? Soooo busy. Couldn't respond to that email? Soooo busy. Can't get together for dinner? Soooo busy. It's a choice, we all know it. And most of the time we have too much to do. But not all of the time. Maybe the obstacle is we are so busy being busy.
My BFF asked me several times last summer if I had looked into some theater tickets in NYC for our trip. The last time she asked, I told her I just couldn't get to it. She said, "Oh and the blog is writing itself I guess?" We both laughed. I looked into the tickets that day.
And my little brother travels every single week for work. He and I get big fun out of talking about being soooooooooooo bizzzzzy. I know you just couldn't call me back but I loved all your Facebook updates. PS: You are not SOOOOOOOO bizzzy.
The time we invest to proport about the never-ending demands on our time, our mountain of musts, our wearisome calendar, our lengthy docket of to do's, well, think of all the time we would save if we stopped doing that.
But, it is handy whitewash if you need it, is it not? So the next time you just don't want to do something, just say, "I'd love to but I am soooooooooooo bizzzzy. "