Being “Busy”

Last night I did all the wrong things before bedtime: scrutinized every task left unfinished, scanned Pinterest on my iPhone, watched mindless TV onDemand and neglected to wash my face. Aiden was asleep, Chris was asleep, the dog was asleep and I wanted to join them. The desire to cop some z’s was not enough, though, as I found myself rummaging the pantry, fridge, freezer for a post-midnight snack only moments later.
Flax seed oatmeal, organic apples, yogurt cheese, frozen organic wheatgrass juice … Yes, Leslie, you are a health nut but would it kill you to tuck some junk food away?!
Unsatisfied and irritated, I shut off the kitchen light and headed back up the stairs; careful not to evoke any creaks with my ascent. Grasping the lever ever-so-softly, I gently eased open the door and entered the guest-bedroom-turned-office. I stared at my blank computer screen for a few seconds, debating whether to click the mouse and awaken the monitor. Against my better judgement, I clicked.
Now what?
I knew I was in no shape to write and I couldn’t muster up the energy to return the massive amount of emails in my inbox. Job searching was O-U-T of the question.  Something was nagging at me and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I rewound the day’s events in my head; all-in-all it was a good one in which I focused entirely on Aiden. I made the conscious decision to let everything else wait.
Was I going through withdraws? Is my body programmed to always be in overdrive?
I read a NY Times article over the summer, which highlighted “The ‘Busy’ Trap.” At first, the Opinionator made me very angry. Touting that busyness is self-imposed and avoidable. “The present hysteria [busyness] is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it.”
Back then, I was amidst a move, new job, childcare search, doctor appointments left and right for my little man and even an upcoming medical check for him in Boston. I felt like busyness was pumping through my veins and this article made me mad … really, really mad.. As if it was sooooo easy to stop the madness; trust me – if I could’ve, I would’ve.  Looking back, though, I realize the author had actually struck a vein; causing the busyness I felt inside, to swell. I had reached my whits end and my reading of “The ‘Busy’ Trap just didn’t jive with my current set of circumstances … or so I thought.
Last night, I found myself thinking again about the article. I have been out of work now for roughly a month and somehow my calendar is already busting at the seams: playdates, early-development classes, lunch meet-ups, and the like. Of course, the calendar doesn’t include my self-imposed to-do list which is full of house cleaning, job searching, dinner-making, writing. I know guilt is driving me – but last night I found myself just wishing things to be simple; apparently my subconscious was yelling out the very same thing.
* * *
This afternoon Chris asked for me to pick up his dry cleaning, but mentioned that I should check our bank account first. Oh guilt, rearing it’s ugly head once again. I said that I haven’t been eating out or shopping for anything but groceries. “We need to pay down our credit card and start saving again.” I know that he is right and that we need to get things back on track … rather, I need to …
Guilt, guilt go away …
Preceding Aiden’s diagnosis, I had been working in medical marketing and sales. I was driven – a border-line workaholic. In May 2010, our lives changed forever. I never second-guessed my decision, no one did, to leave the workplace and care for Aiden full-time; he needed me and, boy, did I need him. We moved in with my folks, rented out our home and made it work.
Despite the circumstances, I do feel fortunate to have been able to spend so much time with my little man. Returning to work will give me the ability to once again contribute to retirement, help build Aiden’s college saving plan, and make sure we are not one emergency away from financial collapse. We wear rose-colored glasses no more. The problem is that my struggle exists in the trade-off.
I don’t know what the future may bring for any of us, which is what makes this trade-off especially excruciating given all we have been through. I am hopeful that only good things are to come, but I am also realistic and I know that life is not perfect. I am tired of existing in limbo and I so terribly want to be with my son, my family and write. Currently, though, even being home I don’t feel like I am truly beingwith him.
I can’t win.
I didn’t want to write this entry; it is not well-planned and makes me feel utterly vulnerable. I refuse to be silent, though. I made a decision to always write out loud so I do not plant to fill my blog with untruths or fictitious renderings of my life. Silence, too, is telling, which is likely why it has taken me a bit to write a post such as this one.
This is me exposed and this is my life right now.
Many people have asked what my plans are as “Leslie Lipscomb AspiringAuthor.” I am still figuring it all out, but I know – in my heart of hearts – I will write a book. Even if I print it out at Kinko’s and it sits in my bedside table, it will be my gift to myself … and to Aiden. For now, my blog serves as a brainstorming bubble. I use it as a journal-of-sorts, but it is also helping me organize my thoughts and ideas.
* * *
Earlier today, when I started writing, I asked Aiden what “being busy” meant.  He looked at me blankly, opened his palms to the ceiling, shrugged his shoulders and said “I dunno.”  That’s when I got it.  Busyness is self-imposed; a grown-up perverseness to work, work, work.  
Well, it appears I have been caught in The ‘Busy’ Trap,even while life afforded me lots of perspective and a little break from the traditional workplace. I need to have faith moving forward that things will turn out okay and start letting go of things I cannot change. As it turns out author, Tom Kreider, had it right all along; “Life is too short to be busy.”
Below are some pictures from this past Sunday and our impromptu visit to the Heritage Farm Museum.  Here’s to many more days full of unplanned fun!
Good ole fashioned fun
This is what life is about