There’s a meme making the rounds on Pinterest and Reddit, as memes are wont to do, but when I saw it on a friend’s Facebook wall, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut any longer. It’s a quote usually presented on some “artsy” background that proclaims: “Stop the glorification of busy.” It’s usually posted without further explanation, or sometimes with an “Amen!” or something.
Every time I see it, I wonder about the type of person who posts this quote. Is it a reminder to themselves? They’re sick of the rat race, the fast lane, the dog-eat-dog world, the number of clichés a person can fit into a single sentence, and they say it as a suggestion to take life in at a slower pace? That might be it.
I always read it as a slightly passive-aggressive proclamation to one’s friends. Sure, “Seize the day” is the sort of commanding order that serves to inspire oneself, but beginning a command with “Stop” has such a negative connotation, I can only imagine it being directed outward. You may say “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” as words to live by yourself, but “Stop punching people in the face” is usually an order given by some outside source. Often someone speaking to me.
I WISH I could remember the article, but I recently read, somewhere like HuffPo or Jezebel, what a shame it is that now that “we’re” in our 30s, there’s no such thing as a spontaneous get-together. Dinners and brunches between pals are booked weeks in advance, no one has time for shenanigans, and everyone’s got babies and dates and work events, and it’s not like it used to be.
I am here to ask everyone to Stop Stopping The Glorification of Busy. What is wrong with being busy? When exactly were the good old days, where we had nothing going on? Think about that — NOTHING.
Sometimes I tell my friends at work I did nothing the past weekend. Of course that’s not true. I’m not comatose. I went to karate Saturday morning, probably played video games in the afternoon, went grocery shopping for the week, and watched a movie with my husband. Then on Sunday, I probably watched “The Soup” over breakfast, read a book, watched “Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones” at a friend’s house, and wrote a bit in the evening.
It’s not a weekend skiing trip or building houses for orphans, but it’s not nothing. And if someone had invited me somewhere on Saturday morning or Sunday evening, I would have had to tell them that I had plans.
I am busy on weekdays. After a 9-hour work day, I have karate Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, although I do try to rotate out one of those once a month for Book Club and Craft Night. In Dodgeball or Softball season, I give up one of my karate nights a week, but I’m considering not doing that anymore, because I get a better workout punching people in the face.
Dinners with friends are relegated to Thursdays or Fridays, but, obviously, since they’re my ONLY nights to do anything, I sometimes save those nights for everything from shopping (not groceries), obligations (work events, taxes, writing), to just having a night to myself. And I don’t even have tiny children to look after! Although I do have a very demanding cat.
So what, bossy Pinterest pontificator, would you have me do?
Should I quit my sports? Should I quit writing? Should I leave television, video games, and book readin’ for the nights I don’t have social events? Or are social events not allowed either? And then…what am I allowed to do in all this “free” time?
I guess I don’t understand “the glorification of busy,” because isn’t reading every night being busy? Isn’t going out with your friends every night, as the maybe-HuffPo/maybe-Jezebel article seemed to want, being busy? Are these false platitudes trying to inspire us to stare, slack-jawed at the walls so we can finally relax? I’m relaxed after a night of karate. I’m relaxed after a video game.
I want to point out that I’m not bragging about how busy I am, because bragging suggests that it’s difficult or something not everyone can do. I started karate and dodgeball last year, having had no prior experience. Softball I still manage to be mediocre at, even though I played all through high school. If people want to do the things that I do, they should. There aren’t enough musical-singing, book-reading, video-game-playing, karate-chopping, craft-making, Internet-loving, cat-petting weirdos out there to share my feelings with.
I also want to make it clear that I’m not judging people who don’t have a schedule like mine, and in fact, I’m arguing FOR you. Unless you ARE staring, slack-jawed at the walls, whatever you choose to do in your free time IS being busy, isn’t it? That’s the whole reason this crusade makes no sense to me.
I like being busy because it means I get to do everything I want. I work out for health, I have dinners for friendship, I have hobbies for fun. What exactly am I doing wrong?
As I’m writing this, I’m actually concerned that this blog will come off like that scene in “Community”…
…but I just keep seeing the proclamation crop up on Pinterest and Facebook, and I feel like there’s an entire crusade out there against people who like to do things.
I don’t even want to counter with “Stop the glorification of lazy,” because isn’t it all relative? Maybe you could call my decision to read and play video games all weekend “lazy.” What if I finish 5 books in a weekend? What if they’re textbooks? Then it’s back to busy. (Isn’t it?) To be clear, I am not reading 5 textbooks in a weekend. I’m usually reading 1/6 of a young adult novel about a dystopian future, but SHUT UP.
Maybe just “Stop the glorification of bossing people around, you bossy cow”? Ah, you’re right. That would never work for me.