About a year ago (pre-packing up & moving to Oakland. pre-trying to settle us in a new ‘hood. pre-really having any sense of what busy really truly was…) I made a decision to change the way I spoke.
You see, when asked to participate in something (work or pleasure), Id noticed Id begun to respond:
Gosh, school volunteering/book club/starting a girl scout troop etc sounds great—Im just too busy right now.
It wasnt a lie per se as my feeling *slammed* & busy really was the direct result of too many YESes.
(MizFit note: A friend & I like to refer to this TOO BUSY! feeling as ‘being in the corner.’ A shortened, slang’ish version of being backed into a corner. As in “Ugh. Im having a rough morning. Im in the corner.” I love the phrase & its accompanying visual.)
The problem/mental discord with my state of busyness arose—as it often does—-when stepped back and was honest with myself.
The realization—while initially uncomfortable—was not necessarily a bad thing.
When I stopped to consider it I was forced to acknowledge Id conveyed the priority sentiment all along each time I said NO.
(Again not a bad thing. Im a big advocate of NOing & believe in drawing boundaries in Sharpie as it keeps me out of said corner.)
The change occurred when I chose to no longer to say the phrase:
Im too busy
And instead replace it with:
It’s not a priority right now
- Do you want to join our book club? It’s not a priority right now.
- Will you come to my twitter chat? It’s not a priority right now.
- Do you wanna see a movie? It’s not a priority right now.
I never actually used those words as, to me, they felt borderline rude . I imagined saying them, the reaction they’d garner and *challenged* myself to decide if that was really the sentiment I wanted to convey.
Sometimes it was precisely what I meant & needed only to be more gently phrased (it wasnt a priority to see a movie. the Tornado has circus class at the same time. right now she’s my priority).
Other times it was not what I intended at all.
And many times my immediate reaction of being too “busy” was in direct opposition to my striving to live my priorities.
Changing how I phrased my NO’s (even only in my head) served as a repeated reminder life didnt just happen to me. Every action, every commitment, every addition to my ever-growing to-do list was a choice.
This shift in semantics has been a struggle.
Yet removing my ability to give the ‘socially acceptable’ answer (when did being busy!busy! become an admirable trait?) has immeasurably helped me prioritize my life.
Flash forward to the other night.
Flash forward to my being asked to do something.
Flash forward to my semi-overwhelmed gut reaction being:
I’d love to. It would be fun. Im just too busy right now.
Flash forward to my learned mental rephrasing of:
Im sorry. That just isnt a priority for me right now.
Flash forward to my reflexive (finally! took a year!) internal evaluation/realization of:
YES. Yes Im busy. Yes Ill do this. Yes it’s a priority!
Why am I sharing this today?
Because Im grateful.
- Im thankful someone took the time to share the concept above with me.
- Im grateful Ive made the choice to feel the discomfort that comes from acknowledging to myself what’s a priority and what’s not.
- I appreciate I learned life “in the corner” is not a badge of honor *before* I missed out on things/experiences.
In that vein, I give you the Tornado’s elementary school’s new mascot.
I learned the hard way, however (oops!), Im not supposed to tell my seven year old friends it’s me.
- Have you swapped the phrase “Im too busy” for “It’s not a priority right now” too?
- How did it feel to you?