The Busies


I have noticed an interesting phenomenon of late (well, okay, that’s if “of late” means “the past 40 years”). Whenever I accomplish something, or do something that someone else admires, they are quick to tell me that they are “too busy” to do anything like that, but they really would if they had the time. The tone in which this is stated is designed to make a person who has just worked their ass off to accomplish something of merit feel like they have been sitting around all their life just trying desperately to fill time while their friend, colleague, or whoever happens to be speaking, has been working to make sure the world keeps running. In fact, I have discerned that the people in this world who accomplish the most are apparently only accomplishing stuff because they never do anything.

So I’ve decided that we need a term for all those people who are too busy to actually do anything. I have dubbed them “The Busies”, because they are always busy, never having time to actually do anything because, well, they are always doing…something…but…no, I don’t know what, because they never say. They are just “too busy” to get anything done. “Too busy” to finish anything they start. “Too busy” to take on a project. “Too busy” to actually show anything for all their hustle and bustle.

I used to think I was busy, because, well, I always seemed to be doing something, and I often completed projects that I started. But over the years I have discovered that I actually am not busy, because if I was, I would never get anything done. Truly busy people don’t do that. Only those who spend their time just spending time have time to get things done. (If that last sentence is confusing, don’t blame me. I just sort of ramble here and there, letting my mind wander while others rush around me too busy to settle. I’ll just brush off this bit of moss growing on my ass. There.) I have watched The Busies from time to time, and noticed that they seem to spend a lot of time doing…not much, really. They move from here to there, and back to here, rushing to be the first person who gets there, and then rushing to make sure they are the first back here. Then they do…something…maybe…or…nothing? It’s hard to tell what someone is actually busy at if they don’t actually accomplish anything, finish a task, or, in some cases, start a task. They seem to be busy being busy, and telling all their friends how busy they are.

I rush here and there, too. I get back here when I am done there. I move…a lot…run…some…but I don’t use that as an excuse for not getting to the things I really want to do. And that’s the real secret, you know? Because The Busies aren’t using that as an excuse for not getting to the things they really want to do, either. They are using it as a hiding place to pretend they want to do those things, they are capable of doing those things, and they would do those things if only they weren’t so darn busy.

You see, The Busies do accomplish things, but they are different things than the things I accomplish. They don’t write a novel because they don’t want to write a novel or believe (maybe correctly) that they are not able to write a novel. They don’t bake a pie because they don’t want to bake a pie or believe (maybe correctly) that they are not able to bake a pie. They don’t do the things I do, and they admire the things I do, so they want to pretend they could, and would, do them if only…darn, they weren’t so darn busy.

We make time to do the things we truly want to do. I cook not because I have time to cook…often I don’t…but because I like to cook (and I like to eat, which is a fortunate juxtaposition). I write not because I have time to write…I have to make the time…but because I like to write, because it is important to me. I don’t go to baseball not because I don’t have the time…though I don’t…but because it’s not important enough to me to find the time in my schedule. I don’t watch television because it’s not important enough to me to find the time in my schedule. I don’t…but you get the idea, right? 

Here is a little tip for you, whether you are one of The Busies, or whether you are sick and tired of hearing The Busies imply that you, yourself, are a lazy lieabout with nothing to do, and that is why you accomplish so much: if you really want to do it, if you feel a compelling need in you to do it (as I do to cook and to write), you will find the time to do it. That will be what you are busy doing. I, too, am busy. I am busy at different things than you are, because I value different activities and set different priorities. And that is all right. I am not too busy to do your activities, nor are you too busy to do mine, we simply have different interests, choose different activities, and arrange our time accordingly.

So, if you are one of The Busies, and you see me somewhere with my new novel or my freshly baked pie, do me a favor: Shut Up. Don’t tell me you are “Too Busy”. Just…I don’t know, congratulate me, or something. Then go off and do what you want to do that I am “too busy” doing my own thing to find time to do. Then we will both be happy.