Beth Moran

Writer, speaker, free range chick

A new kind of busy

So, it`s been a busy few weeks…months…years…life.

I`ve given up waiting for that “quiet week” when I might actually find myself with time on my hands and an empty to-do list. At least in this lifetime.

This life time is busy.

I remember once, back when I had three kids under five, and every day was one of those rushing around, tripping over mess, forgetting to brush my hair, crazy days. When most of my time was spent wiping – spilt drinks, tossed dinner, eyes, noses, bottoms…

I was delivering my eldest child to nursery school, with a tiny baby in a sling on my chest and a toddler in a pushchair, bags, coats, toys, snacks and various other sundries dangling around him.
A man looked at me, possibly a little concerned about the wild look in my eyes and cornflakes in my hair.

“You`ve got your hands full!” He said.

“Yes.” I replied, weakly, glancing down at my tribe.

But as I walked away, I started to smile. Yes! I thought. My hands, my brain, my diary, my washing machine, my house and my heart are pretty full. But then I thought this:

I don`t want empty hands.

And so it continued. As my kids got older, and learnt to cross the road by themselves, and get their own drinks, I replaced the bits of mum business I no longer did with other stuff. Writing, church leadership, organising events, running groups, meetings, speaking…

I`ve reached the point where I have to stop myself from answering the question “how are you?” with “I`m really busy!” I realise it makes people feel I don`t have time for them, time to stop or listen, or care.

But just as being a busy mum of pre-schoolers meant some days I was busy baking cakes, or reading the same story a gazillion times in a row, or lying on the floor pretending to be a crocodile. None of it essential, all of it priceless. I can be busy now strolling through the woods with my husband, listening to my kids tell me about their French speaking exam, having coffee with a friend.

Having a coffee by myself while staring out the window at the clouds drifting by.

Yes, it`s been a busy few weeks. My hands are full. But busy doesn`t have to mean rushed, or frantic, or overloaded, or anxious or exhausting.

Don`t get me wrong – I`ve had those times. I still sometimes do. Times when I end up crying in the car as I race about trying to get all the things done I need to do that day, battling a stress-migraine, turning up late, making mistakes, running out of strength and patience, confidence and joy.

People have suggested I stop doing so much. But if I stopped doing the things I wanted to do, that just leaves me doing the things I have to do, which would make me even more stressed and miserable.

So I`m learning a new kind of busy.

Busy that is intentional, purposeful, planned. Careful. Busy that means life is short, and so very precious. I want to make the most of it, squeeze the best from it, do what I can with my chapter in this incredible story.

Busy can be being busy thinking about the weeks ahead and deciding what we say yes or no to, so the busyness remains a positive thing we`re comfortable with.

Last week, busyness meant a few hours booking a holiday, so I can be busy lazing about with my family for a few days over Easter.

Yep – I`m busy. Busy doing – for the most part – what I have chosen, planned, prioritised and love to do.

So how about you?

What have you been busy doing lately?

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