"Busy" Has Taken Over Real Life
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Orange is the new black? more like "busy" is the new norm

We are too busy being busy that we don't know how to actually live a regular life, to relax, to take time to be ourselves.

Orange is the new black? more like "busy" is the new norm

I recently moved back home from college for the summer; for a lot of kids my age, this is a normal thing. We go to school for nine months, have the times of our lives, then go back to the towns that raised us in order to catch up on sleep and work 2 or 3 part-time jobs so that we can continue to afford Jimmy Johns at three in the morning once we move back to school in the fall.

During the month of May, I was fortunate enough to land an awesome internship that allowed me to live near my college and continue in the student life. I worked 12 hour days almost every day, but that didn't matter because I absolutely loved every minute I spent working; it proved to me that I was right in the majors I chose and the future careers I dreamed of pursuing.

After the internship, I nannied for a family friend, moving into their home and taking up the role of a "Mini Mom." I also really enjoyed this time -- if you ever sit down and actually talk to a child, it becomes apparent that their little brains are amazing in what they already know and in what the dream of doing.

The point of all this is that now-- in the middle of June-- my summer is finally beginning. It's been my first chance to see family and friends, and it's great to catch up, telling everyone all the awesome things I've been up to and everything that I accomplished during the school year. They're always so happy for me, basking at how much fun and at the success I've had. As soon as the formalities are over, however, the same question always follows:

"What now?"

Yeah, well, what now? I have my miscellaneous part-time jobs lined up, a few tiny trips to visit friends, a vacation with my family planned, but these things seem to lack the luster of what I have previously done.

At first, it wasn't a big deal; I brushed off that little question with something about relaxing or taking time for myself. And the first couple days home, that's exactly what I did. I slept till noon, went to the gym, had my nails painted a color other than black. I even made a smoothie! For the first time in a long time, I had time to take care of myself.

Day three, however, I was done. I couldn't take the waiting, the hopelessness of trying to find something to do to fill the empty minutes between prior obligations. In the midst of my free-time, I thought a lot. About anything and everything, especially since thinking gave me an excuse not to workout which seemed to be the only thing I did, and my thighs could not take another Stairmaster session.

Then it hit me- I don't know how to NOT be busy. For the last year, I had been so caught up in work and school and scholarships and new friends and yoga. Given, the last one only lasted 2 weeks, but, nonetheless, I had been so preoccupied I didn't even remember how to breathe.

I mentioned to some of my friends, both from home and from college, about my impending boredom, and their summer stories seemed to be following the same path. What we couldn't figure out, however, was why? We had jobs, friends, families -- we were living the same summer that hundreds of thousands of college kids had before us. What changed?

To put it lightly, we live in a world that so often demands excellence every minute of every day that we do not know how to be ordinary. I'm not saying that being great is a bad thing-- greatness is just that, great-- but it has become such an expectation that we don't know how to be normal. If our lives don't have us on the brink of anxiety and continuously busy, day in and day out, then we aren't doing enough. Extraordinary has become the ordinary.

And, honestly, that's ridiculous.

It's okay to take a breath, to have a summer, to not know what is coming next. In fact, if we don't dedicate time to relax, this life will become too much to bear. We are too busy being busy that we don't know how to actually live.

Go to work, see your friends, eat dinner with your family, and know that the life you're living is just right. Enjoy summer, enjoy quiet evenings. Sometimes, we need a nap. We need a pool day. We need to spend an afternoon rewatching NCIS. We are excellent in and of ourselves; the fact the busy has become so normal means the tenacity and perseverance it takes to be great is there, but we don't have to run ourselves into the ground in order to obtain it.

We aren't supposed to be so busy that we forget how to live. We aren't supposed to fall asleep without telling those we love goodnight or leaving the dog outside because we were too preoccupied to let him back in. We aren't supposed to do business calls during football Sundays or miss dinner because of an extra help session for Calc II. We aren't supposed to be busy for the sake of being busy.

We are, however, supposed to be brilliant. We are supposed to be the future, the saving grace of generations past. We are supposed to make the world better for our children just like our parents did before us. We are supposed to work hard and earn a living, for us and for our families. We are supposed to juggle baseball practice, Girl Scouts, pilates and work pitch-ins just like the millions before us. We are supposed to live the lives we've imagined, not ones dictated by schedules and reminders and ever-present to-do lists.

Time spent living is never time wasted; don't be too busy to miss it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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