12.11.14

On Time


I’ve been meaning for a while to write about being busy, about filling my life with too much stuff and how it isn’t making me happy. I haven’t got around to writing this post until today because, ironically, I’ve been too busy. Busy with work, with catching up with housework, with extra-curricular commitments like being the secretary for my church PCC, being a school governor, helping with kids work at church and hosting the world and his wife at home. 

That’s before you add in the secondary busy-ness – the emails, the checking Facebook and Instagram, the reading blogs I feel the need to catch up on, the banking and filing and other ‘personal admin’ - and before you think about all the other appointments in life – the doctor, the hospital, the blood tests, the chiropractor…sometimes it seems the list is endless. And I don’t even have children to think about! 
Does all this activity make me happy? No. I do a whole host of things that don’t interest me, don’t add any value to my life and, quite honestly, some of them make me pretty miserable. 

I decided to write about this today, after weeks of procrastination because….enough. I do too much. There – I said it. I overcommit myself to things because I don’t want to let people down, but these are often strangers, acquaintances, even people I’ve never met because I’m so worried about keeping up appearances. I feel as if I should do everything because I’m not living my life to the full otherwise. 

Then two things made me stop today. 

One: This morning I rushed to the doctors. I was late because I had cut it fine and left the house with just enough time to reach the surgery in time, and the tube was broken so enough time suddenly wasn’t enough time. I got there ten minutes late, and the doctor wouldn’t see me. I wasn’t annoyed or surprised that she had made this decision; after all, she has other patients to see and can’t let one tardy woman mess up her whole day’s schedule. What really threw me was the receptionists’ behaviour. I rescheduled an appointment, and apologised for being late, explaining that I’d had travel problems as I’ve moved further away from the surgery, asked if they could print off my blood test results and I sat in the waiting room while I read them. Then I heard them – the receptionists’ audibly ‘bitching’ about me in their little reception area. “She should leave more time to get here”, they said. “Why would you stay registered here when you don’t live here? It’s so selfish and not fair on everyone else”. I got up, too mortified to give them a piece of my mind, and burst into tears outside the surgery. 
Leaving aside the fact that in any other industry bad-mouthing your customers/clients in front of them would get you fired, they were right. Half-way, at least. I don’t think I’m selfish for staying with my GP, especially as my GP told me not to mention that I’ve moved as new legislation comes into effect soon meaning you can register anywhere, and I don’t want to switch mid-way through tests for things. But they were right on the first part. I should have left more time. 

I rush EVERYWHERE. In the last week alone, I’ve been late to the hairdressers because I booked my appointment too close to my previous one at the chiropractor’s office, late to call people when I said I would, late to countless meetings at work and late home afterwards. I am always late, and I am always running. 

Then I got home and read this that a friend had linked to on Facebook. A sobering read that made me consider the impact my constant lateness has one everyone else. 

Why am I always late? Because I try to pack too much in. I can’t do it all. Not anymore. 

Two: Then I saw another friend had posted this and it made me nod along as I was reading it, conscious of how many times I answer the question “how are you?” with the word “busy!”, a shrug of the shoulders and raised eyebrows as if to say “chuh! Isn’t it typical!”. And it is. 

The first thing I do in the morning is look at my phone and check social media. When I’m on the tube to work I’m answering emails, looking at social media, planning blog posts or reading because I’ve convinced myself that I don’t read enough and, anyway, I should always be doing something. I sit at home reading while I watch TV and simultaneously neglecting the conversation my boyfriend is trying to have with me. 

And then I beat myself up about the things I haven’t done – like booking a dentist check-up, calling the bank to sort my internet banking account, or doing any exercise for the past month. 

And please don’t ask me when the last time I called my mother was. My Dad rang me over a month ago and I still haven’t returned his call. I’ve been saying I’ll arrange a girls’ night in for two months now and I have a phone full of texts from people who I’ve said I’ll have dinner or drinks with but haven’t got back to. 

By trying so hard to do all the things I think I should be doing, I’ve been failing at being a good girlfriend, daughter and friend. Guys, I’m sorry. 

The over-busyness ends here. From now on I am going to make the time to see and talk to the people who I love and care about. If that means I have to cut back on other commitments, so be it. I’m going to try my hardest to only ever do one thing at a time, and you know what? Sometimes I’m going to do nothing. I’m going to just sit and enjoy…living. I am so fortunate that I am free to spend my time however I please, and that doesn’t mean I have to pack it full of things that make me stressed and miserable. 

I’m lucky that I have time; it’s time I started appreciating that more. 

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