Monday, January 31, 2011

This Busy Life

Been thinking about several blog posts I've read lately. Being busy seems to be a mark of pride in this day and age. Everyone has lots of things going on. Ask anyone how they are, and chances are they'll respond "busy!" To-Do lists are long, there are always lots of after-school and evening activities, work, housekeeping, and don't forget all the things to keep up with on-line: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, blogs, Flickr, e-mail. And of course all the books I want to read, TV shows to watch, movies to see, magazine subscription to keep up on. Something is always demanding our time.

But at the end of my life, what do I want to be remembered for? And what do I want to remember? I have always loved this quote from a poem by Mary Oliver:

image from Ali Edwards blog

This thought needs to become something I keep at the forefront of my thoughts every day. Am I doing the best with my one wild and precious life? Is what I'm doing contributing to my precious life? Or do I need to stop, rethink, and refocus what I'm doing.

Ali Edwards wrote a wonderful post about the rhythm of her work day and what her systems and choices are. I found profound this quote from her post "I want to live a full life. Busy does not equal full." Wow. How true is that? In fact, quite often the opposite is true. Taking time, fully enjoying the moment is what makes a full life. The kind of life I want and need.

We have a lot going on in our lives, but looking back, I realize that over the years I have begun to cut back, say 'no', and re-prioritize. No more Home & School, no more PTA meetings, no more room parent duties, no more school board or Pathfinders. I cherish my evenings at home and have no desire to be out "doing" things. I'd rather be home with the family. The boys are busy (aren't most kids?!), but in actuality don't have lots of activities. Swimming is the big time sucker in our lives. They all do it, for several hours each week. Besides swimming, Kohler only has guitar, Kieran has saxophone and basketball (1x a week), and Kaden, with the most, has two after-school clubs and guitar/band.

Is that too much? I don't know. I try my best to make it work for us/them by not rushing and helping as much as possible. I have systems in place, and carpools that help. I always try to get as much ready as possible the night before. And I try to make sure that they all have plenty of downtime each week, even if it's only on the weekends. I like to think that I know them pretty well and try to give them what they need. Kaden, especially, loves his downtime, and always looks forward to weekends with nothing to do.

Is there room for improvement? Definitely! Are there things I feel guilty about? Yes! Family game night would be great. Making evening stories a priority needs to be done. I need to step away from my computer more during the hours the boys are at home. I know about myself that I like to read about things more than I like to actually do them. But enough with the research already! I know what needs to be done, now I need to implement the changes. It's tough. I like to be busy. I like having lots to do, people who need me, places to go. But I think I like it because it makes me feel important and needed. And it shouldn't.

This post from Tara Whitney really resonated with me. In it she says "I have to constantly remind myself that being busy does not bring meaning to my life." Yes! We only live this life once; do I really want to spend it being "busy"? Or instead filled with small, slow, everyday moments that get lost when you are busy? The small, happy moments doing what may seem like nothing are often the moments that mean the most later.

These amazing children of mine will be gone sooner than I want to think about. I do not want to regret not spending more time with them. My computer will always be there. Other time-sucking activities will always be there. The boys won't be. What is important to me? What do I truly want to spend my time doing? What do I want to do with my one wild and precious life?

image from Ali Edwards blog

Posts to read:
Ali Edwards, Things I Have Learned
Tara Whitney, Kind of Life
Zen Habits, The End of Busy

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