Monday, December 3, 2012

A Badge of Honor: "Busy-ness"

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” 
--Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie

“We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are.” 
--Bill Watterson

“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” 
--John Lennon

“Get busy living or get busy dying.” 
--Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption

With finals swiftly approaching, every student can relate: we’re all busy. Monumentally busy. Ridiculously busy. By this point in the semester, everyone is simply worn out. Countdowns until the winter holidays are scrawled across countless dry erase boards across campus, and almost every time I see one, I groan. Only 8 more days? My stomach lurches. My backpack feels heavier, reminding me of all of the stuff I have to do every one of those 8 days until I’m allowed to finally rest. Part of me is thrilled that there are that few days until the holidays. The other half is horrified. Where has this semester gone?! I wonder, my stomach sinking again.

Before we all get caught up in the “busy” (don’t misunderstand me—busy can be good), let’s all just pause for a moment. Why has our “busy-ness” become a badge of honor? Why is being so ridiculously busy considered so good? Personally, I’ve started to feel inadequate or like I’m doing something wrong when I have extra time on my hands. It’s no longer viewed as time to enjoy a walk around the lake or escape the confines of campus to get coffee somewhere else. My first thought has started to become this: What else could I be doing? Should I start that project that’s due in a few weeks? There must be something

How terrible is that? I’m not sure everyone else can identify with it, but I know that plagues me on a daily basis.

So, as we all attempt to tackle the mountain of papers, projects, presentations, and tests that we face in this finals season and end-of-the-semester mayhem, can we pledge to keep each other grounded? Yes, tests are important, but in the end, it should not define who we are. I dare you to find your identity elsewhere, somewhere far more worthwhile, and I’ll try to do the same. (I promise.)

I feel like the “busy-ness” can have a tendency to stamp the creativity out of us, narrowing our vision so that we only see the next big project we have to do, the next big exam that always seems to get in the way. I set you, dear reader, with one more challenge (though I know you’ve had plenty this semester and many more to come): take some time to let your creative juices flow and be intensely yourself. If that means you need to write, write. If you need to paint, paint. If that means something as simple as going on a midnight adventure after a long day of studying or exams to Waffle House, do it. Take your time to study, but remember, first and foremost, that you are not a machine. You are a human being that needs and deserves rest, whether you want to admit it or not.

So get out there and do something. I dare you.