1 I Am NOT Busy | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

I Am NOT Busy


Sorry We're Sorry - Colleen Friesen


  • “I’m SO busy!  
  • I’m SO stressed!
  • I have SO much to do! “

Our culture glorifies the cult of busy-ness combined with I-have-no-time-to-do-what-I-really-want mindset.

And I am calling bullshit.

Are we in the driver’s seat of this pick-up called life or simply riding shotgun?

If there is one thing I have learned, it is this: when everyone is swimming in one busy-status-seeking direction? Then the best advice is to immediately pull a 180-degree spin and go against the stream.

If popular culture dictates that we should all be swanning about with the back of one hand pressed against our foreheads while blathering on about our killer schedules…then my job is to do and say the exact opposite.

Back in my old life, I was certainly prone to uttering those exact same catchphrases.

I get it. I do. It validated my existence. It made me important. It kept my status in line with the cult of busy. I was forever running, and quite frankly, not getting anywhere very fast. Those were my choices (choice being the operative word).

That was then. This is now.

I still have some people who call and say, “I know you’re really busy, but…”

I always chuckle.

Am I portraying a busy life? I don’t think I am, but then I’m always surprised by how I come across.

So please consider this as my disclaimer: I am NOT busy.

I have been occupied with this crazy downsizing task but that means I am absorbed in the task and choosing to do it to the exclusion of some other options. Does that make me busy? I think not.

These are simply choices. I am choosing one way to spend my time versus another. That’s all.

I/we have been traveling quite a bit. The fact that I’m unavailable on certain dates doesn’t make me busy…it simply means I’m not here.

I have no idea how much time I will have on this planet, but while I’m here, feel free to connect. As you have no doubt ascertained by now…

I’m SO not busy. 

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9 Responses
  1. Gwen says:

    I think that people are so terrified of NOT being busy. If you are BUSY, that must mean you are doing something of value. Whatever that means. I have been guilty of getting on that merry-go-round a time or two myself. Once you’re on that ride, it’s tough to get off. As though being NOT BUSY means you’re lazy or wasting time. Bah-humbug!

    We are so consumed with making ourselves BUSY that we push people away. Make ourselves unapproachable – too busy to stop for coffee or break for lunch. Aren’t we so important?

    Being not busy is uncomfortable for me. I will admit. I’m the chick who cleans the fridge while on the phone and wipes down the shower while washing my hair. Sitting on the deck with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and just breathing is tough. But I’m learning. It’s okay to be still. Healthy, even.

    Thanks for the reminder. Have a great day!

  2. Catherine says:

    I like this blog, Colleen. People always seem to be running around, saying how busy they are. Perhaps they are creating some obligations for themselves to justify their existence! How many times you hear people with “see you when I am not so busy”, or “I must dash”. It always make me smile when I see a comment on “busyness” but like you I am NOT so busy.

  3. Colleen Friesen says:

    Amen Gwen!
    I think too, that busy helps us avoid the frightening prospect of thinking…of being…of ascertaining what, exactly, we want to do with this, our one wild and precious life (thank you Mary Oliver!).
    But I know of what you speak when you talk about the compulsion to clean while talking, to organize when I’m supposedly sitting, to (fill in the blank here)…I am just a little TOO familiar with that tendency.
    However, at least now, I am finally aware of it and breathing my way through. I am teaching myself new tricks like, “Sit. Colleen. Sit.”
    I really appreciate your thoughts on this Gwen. More to think about…while I sit!

  4. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thanks Catherine. Now you made me smile!
    We should start a ‘I am so NOT busy’ club…and we could be really busy organizing it!

  5. Catherine says:

    So we should!

  6. Lesley Peterson says:

    I often think we’re not a tenth as busy as our pioneer great-grandmothers in the prairie north. Hauling a plough because there was no ox or horse, shaving and pickling mountains of cabbage to be frozen as sauerkraut in a barrel to keep children alive over the winter, a chunk hacked out each night before dinner and served as the only vegetable, picking wild shoots in the spring when the sauerkraut ran out, scrubbing diapers by hand in melted snow water…
    No, I’m not busy either, when I really think about it. Free as a bird!

  7. Colleen Friesen says:

    Good reality check Lesley. I can’t begin to imagine how hard those lives must have been. I think of my ancestors homesteading on the frozen prairies with too many kids and not enough food.
    I am so very grateful to be living in my era with my incredible leisurely life. We are indeed very lucky and very free…

  8. Lynnette says:

    Yup, I wholeheartedly concur (and was just writing a post about it too!!). The more busy we are, the less room we have for the spontaneity that makes life interesting. I consciously leave room for that by NOT booking back to back things, but I do feel many people interpret that as a lack of ‘importance.’

  9. Colleen Friesen says:

    Lynnette. I think you’re right on the money with the ‘importance’ attributed to being booked and busy. I guess that means we’re not very important? I say, bollocks to that :) I still struggle with wanting to say yes to everything, and the whole hating-to-miss-something syndrome. Mostly, because it all sounds so great. But. I’m getting better at it as time goes on.

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