On Father’s Day I had the pleasure of visiting Brendan’s Dad. While sitting on the back patio he told us a story that someone had asked him what the ideal gift was for a dad on father’s day. He replied “something simple that they’ll like, and time. Time is the real gift.”
Immediately this came to mind.
I have lost very few people that I was close to, but everyone I know who has wishes that they could have just one more day to be with people who are gone. Us foolish young people usually nod in agreement, but like most things in life, the true weight of their advice probably won’t hit until it’s too late.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a chronic “busy” person. I am always filling my time with side projects (like this blog, my other blog, my latest youtube endeavors, and contributing to various online publications). Plus I work a 9-5 and teach dance twice a week.
About a week ago Brendan sent me this article from the NY times blog about the ‘Busy’ trap. They say that the people who claim to be ‘busy’ aren’t “generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”- NY Times
At first I was pretty offended and wrote him back some snappy comment like “I’ll try to make my meaningless life more meaningful by doing less.”
**NEWSFLASH: I’m a pain in the ass.**
But after a week of time, some reflection, and deep breathing, I’ll ask everyone: what if we are, as a society, so busy worrying about being meaningless that we’re missing what is actually meaningful? I know people that can spend days lost in a good book, or lying on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. I’m always jealous of these people because they seem to be
borderline bragging happy.
But do I wish to be a porch-sitting, wood-whittling, laid-back person? Not really, even though I cannot think of a single day in the past 2 years where I have not been constantly checking my emails, fb, and various analytics. I’ve recently been considering hiring a maid to clean my studio. Why? Cause there is never enough time, and it will never be one of my priorities unless it is
an absolute third world country pretty messy. Is this a red flag, that I can’t clean 600 sq feet on a weekly basis? Probably, but I’m going to tell myself it’s not worth my time to think about.
Like Whitney Houston in her Barbara Walters interview was convinced she wasn’t a crack fiend, I am convinced that I am not a busy freak. I can put ‘busy’ down any time, but have chosen to remain in a constant state of go. Why? ‘Cause I’m refining the art of productivity, and trying to figure out the quickest and best way to be a millionaire (so I’ll have enough money to pay off my ass load of student loans).
Now, going back: If time truly is the best gift we can give someone, who am I giving all my ‘gifts’ to? And do they deserve them?
Over the next week I am going to log my time in a journal. Just to check that I am actually being productive and making strides towards no longer having a slew of debt. Every minute I spend will be jotted down in a notebook and next Monday I will be back with some impressive graphs — possibly of the pie variety, because pie is awesome. I sugest you do the same, but hey, you may be too busy to track how busy you are — seems logical to me.
Have a great week,
I’m off to work.