Flowerbed to weed
Book to finish
Kitchen to clean up
Calendula cream to make
Pottery to glaze and fire
Vegetable garden to plant
Laundry to do
I was going to post this collage yesterday for Wordless Wednesday. Overwhelmed with too many projects, with too much to do.
But then I remembered something I recently saw scrolling past online:
People compete over being busy; it’s about showing status. “If you’re busy, you’re important. You’re leading a full and worthy life.”
(Brigid Schulte, in this article)
Gah. Is that what I’m trying to say here? Am I trying to show off how terribly busy, therefore terribly important, I am?
Actually, no. That wasn’t my intention when I took those photos. It was really more by way of an excuse: See, because I’m already so very busy and so very overwhelmed, that’s why I still haven’t finished Star Bright. Why I haven’t read all of your blogs and left profound comments. Why I don’t post more fascinating articles on fairy tales, or Jane Austen, or How To Be a Better Writer and Human Being In General. Why my front (and back) yard is a mess (never mind the inside of my house). Why I haven’t had you over for dinner, or sent you birthday cards on time. Why, in short, I haven’t done all those things that I think I ought to be doing, that I think all of you are doing (I have proof, from your blogs and Facebook and Twitter and all), that would make me an accomplished and worthy person.
It was a plea for validation: Look, I really am busy! I’m not a slacker, honest I’m not!
Brigid Schulte again:
Psychologists treat burned-out clients who can’t shake the notion that the busier you are, the faster you work; the more you multi-task, the more you are considered competent, smart, successful. It’s the Protestant work ethic in overdrive.
Being overwhelmed as a status symbol – as a sign that I am, indeed, a worthwhile person, as valuable as you.
That is not how I want to live my life. And not the image I want to project outward here.
But what, then, is the way to live?
Maybe a small first step is to become aware of this attitude, and consciously reject it. Slow down. Slow food, slow life, slow writing. Slow gardening? Staying put instead of running.
Maybe it’s a start.
Life, the Universe, and Being Overwhelmed. Will you join me in rejecting that status symbol?