we know you’re busy. now shut up about it.
“So sorry, I’ve been busy.”
“I’m just so busy with…”
“I’ve been too busy too…”
Busy? Get in line.
If I ever tell you that, “I’m so sorry that I’ve been too busy to…” then I’ll pay $500 bucks to your favourite charity and get you a year supply of Haagen Dazs bars. Of course I’m busy. That’s life. That’s my life. That’s most people’s lives. Grown up humans tend to be…busy. Add kids, or business start ups, or illness into the mix and you have…much more of life to be busy about.
“I’m just so busy,” is the typically gasping, rushed, whiny refrain that’s become a contemporary anthem. It doesn’t make us look more important, it makes us look just-this-side-of-frazzled. It’s typically used as a lite apology, an excuse, a duck-out, as if your Life Master is making you do stuff that you don’t want to do. Even as a well-intended social pleasantry, “Sorry, I’ve been busy,” has a little victim ring to it.
Whatever is on your plate got there because you said yes to it – in the fullness of ambition and desire and wanting to eat life whole. Sometimes we take on to-do’s and commit to climb mountains because our soul demands it. Sometimes life throttles us with unforeseen and unrelenting demands. Sometimes busyness is the result of keeping up with the Joneses. Busy can be good. Busy can be bad. Busy is most often a choice.
The “busier than our predecessors…age of technology…workaholic culture,” argument. I don’t buy it. Yes, we appear to be more compulsive, less nuclear, and surviving on less sleep than the pioneers, but their lives were just as packed. They were extremely busy planting potatoes and raising barns, and surviving from sunup to sundown (they got more sleep than we average because, a) they didn’t have the luxuries that light bulbs afford, and b) they did physically exhausting work.) The fifties housewife was just as busy. Before eco-evil but ever-so-handy tools like disposable diapers, the Swifer and microwaves, June Cleaver had to work it.
“Sorry, I’ve been busy,” is often used to appease busy-bodies. – the kind of people who email you to double check if you got their email from yesterday, or their thank you note.
So what do you tell ‘em when you’re late? When you can’t fit another moment into your daytimer, when you have to send regrets, or pass on a sweet opportunity? Tell them the truth. Report on life, rather than whining about it. Deliver it with ease or with pride if you’re inclined. “Been in five cities in four weeks. The kids all had the flu. It’s tax season, you know.” Let people meet you in your clear truth rather than your apologetic panic.
And sometimes, many times, you don’t need to excuse yourself at all. Just show up. Present and accountable, full of life and it’s demands. We all understand.