In our culture today, especially on a college campus, it seems we all suffer from the disease of busyness. Someone asks us, “How are you doing?” and the appropriate response is quite regularly, “busy” or sometimes “busy but good.” The word “busy” has somehow become synonymous with success and doing well while still creating negative feelings of stress.
Now, this is not surprising in our capitalist society where we measure worth on how much a person produces or the work they can do. This equation means the more one person does, the more successful someone is. Therefore, “busy” is the most attractive answer shows that we are of value.
In conversations with peers, I have come to understand that if we are not able to say we are busy, then there is this sense of guilt that comes from the idea that we are not doing enough. This may sound silly, but when reflecting upon my own interactions with others, I found this to be quite accurate. The only time I say I am not busy is when I have a substantial amount of free time on my hands.If you are going to use “busy” as a response to how you are doing, you should be able to justify the use of the word in comparison to how much time they actually have, and compare that to the free time you are utilizing and enjoying.
There is nothing inherently wrong with slacking off and enjoying your time alone or in community with others. Rest and relaxation are beneficial necessities for your health. In fact, the purpose of not using “busy” as a regular response is to be more aware of your time and how it is being used in order to have a balance between work and play. By doing this, you can appreciate the things filling up your time rather than only considering the time where you have to do nothing as good. Of course, some things truly are not enjoyable depending on your personality, but even things that are stressful often have positive long-term effects that benefit us in the future.
By focusing on the good that comes from the tasks that take up time, this can make the stress that occurs from these responsibilities to lose power and, ultimately, make completing the tasks a beneficial experience rather than one which makes us focus on disliking our situations.
This criticism is not intended to make people’s claims of being busy illegitimate, but rather, it is to challenge the language we use in order to be more honest and open with one another. The language of “busy” can put up barriers one may not even realize are being created. By saying you are busy, this creates a lack of time which, to the person you are talking to, means that you do not have time for them or any outside relationships. Overall, I think it is important for each of us to be more intentional and aware of using the word “busy” as a response and rather appreciate the time we have to use.