How many times do you use the excuse “I’m too busy to…” or “I don’t have the time to…” in your daily life? If you’re like the average person it’s pretty often. The last three weeks I’ve been at home with my child due to the Safer-at-Home order issued by our Governor so I’ve had plenty of time to evaluate my life and one thing has occurred to me…I need to stop lying to myself about how busy I am.
For years I’ve used the excuse of being busy to get out of all sorts of things. I’ve been too busy to exercise, write, cook dinner, clean, return phone calls, complete continuing education, send emails, and even attend funerals. I’m super embarrassed to admit that last one is sadly true. My final exam in nursing school was a bigger priority for me than my great grandmother’s funeral. To be fair, I hadn’t seen her since I was a kid but my family thought I was a real asshole that day.
Let’s be real, the things we want to do…don’t we always manage to find time for them? Those people that have amazing bodies always manage to find the time to exercise and the money to eat healthy. The people who love to write always find time to write. The people who love to garden always find time to play in the dirt. We are never too busy to call the people we actually want to talk to or to watch that movie we’ve been wanting to see.
Ultimately if there’s something we want to do we will find the time to do it and if we don’t then we are saying that it’s not important. Which is why I’ve realized over the last three weeks that I’m constantly lying to myself when I say I don’t:
- have the time to exercise everyday
- have the time to write
- have the time to go for long walks
- have the time to read a book
- have the time to call family members.
It’s all bullshit. I have plenty of time. In three weeks I could have called every family member twice, exercised, written, and taken a long walk around my neighborhood. I could’ve done all these things…EVERY SINGLE DAY!
I have chosen instead to look on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Instead of reading a book I’ve read blogs. I’ve written text messages instead of blog posts. I’ve napped instead of going for long walks.
In my head, I’ve never been able to reach my full potential because I’m always so busy with life. The person I aspire to be takes a lot of my time. She is meant to be more impressive than I am; she is my finest and best self. She is accomplished, doesn’t waste her life, and cares about what matters. Yet she stays unrealized because she is hard! Being my best self requires a lot of me and it requires a lot of time.
I can’t say I don’t have time to exercise. That’s a lie. I should say that exercise is fucking hard and I don’t like to do it. I hate how weak I feel when I work out, how fat I feel when my stomach bulges during certain exercises. It makes me feel bad to admit that, so it’s easier to say I don’t have the time.
I can’t say I don’t have time to call my family. That’s a lie. I should say, we’ve grown apart and we don’t have anything in common anymore. I don’t enjoy talking to them and it hurts my feelings that all the onus of the relationship seems to fall on me. That maybe, there’s just not much of a relationship left…but that’s painful, so it’s easier to say that we are all just too busy to talk, that nobody has the time to get together for a meal.
I can’t say I don’t have time to write because that’s a lie. I have to admit that it’s really really hard for me and in fact it takes up too much time because I go through draft after draft. It’s hard to admit that this is much more difficult than I thought it would be. I want to put out good content and that’s more labor intensive than I want it to be.
It’s hard to admit this stuff. It’s hard to acknowledge that your wasting life. Annie Dillard said “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” and to me, I don’t want to look back and see days and days of time spent scrolling social media apps. I need to realize that the person I want to be is possible. I can bring her into existence. It won’t be easy, but now, more than ever, I have the time to work on that.