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not-busy

Everybody is busy, I am not. Everybody is productive, I think I’m not. Everybody is doing something. Everybody except me. 

 

In the past few days, I felt really frustrated about not being busy. After the summer break, most of the friends and family I hang out with, are now back to either school or their work. I, on the other hand, even though I already enrolled for my master’s degree, still feel like a bum. I worry because I think I’m supposed to be pre-occupied, or should be juggling things about my masters and all its complications, or should too busy that I won’t even have time for writing or reading. The opposite is happening; I feel guilty because I think I’m unproductive.

Everybody is busy, I am not. Everybody is productive, I think I’m not. Everybody is doing something. Everybody except me.

The truth is I am enjoying what I am not doing; what haunts me is the thought that people think I have it easy because of what I am doing or not doing. I actually feel frustrated whenever I think about this, so I try to create something precious of my time just to satisfy the thought of being busy.

I attended a mass earlier with my 2 nieces, and the sermon was about precious time and what really matters. The priest mentioned something about being busy as a blessing,  and that one can never be too busy because time is all we really have. We have 24 hours a day, and it adds up every single day as we wake up and continue living.  We have all the time in the world, and it’s just up to us on how we spend it with purpose and value. On the other hand, he also said that being “not-busy” is also a blessing which is for everybody but only few can enjoy.

Being “not-busy” may seem to sound like the opposite of being busy, it’s not. When I googled for the antonym of the word busy, there was no specific word for it. Apparently, I did find one word that perfectly interprets it: FREE. Being “not-busy” is being free to do what you want to do without considering limitations, limitations that are set by the people around us, the regulations we have to go through, the image we have to project, and the pressure normality can become.

I was watching a Ted Talk episode (yes, I have the luxury of time) with speaker Jon Jandai, a Thai farmer, about Living an easy life. In a year he only works for 2 months: 1 month for planting crops, and another month for harvesting. The rest of the year, he does what he wants: he builds beautiful handmade houses (from wood and mud), he created Punpun Center, an organic farm and meditation center, and he tends to his family’s welfare. He was living at basic; he was “not-busy”; he had the time.  Of course, his was a different story from most of us, even for myself. I get the concept and the simplicity (or so) that it wants to imply. Although it’s difficult, it was not impossible to do.

Being not busy is not being unproductive, or being lazy, or being idle, like what I used to believe it was. For me, it is more about self-control, time management, prioritizing activities and actually seeing through what is essentials and doing only what is important. Being “not-busy” is basically enjoying freedom, it is an opportunity to do what you love to do; for my case, I love to read books, take long naps and cook for my family whenever I have time, and right now, I have all the time in the world.

There is no reason to feel frustrated or defeated or embarrassed. Instead of thinking about the stress of being busy, it’s a lot better to enjoy being “not-busy” and do worthwhile things that will make your soul happy.

 

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