When Beckett was stewing inside my belly, we talked a lot about what we wanted our life as a family to look like, and one thing we both wanted was to create a chilled out environment. We made a decision to try our best to not run around like our hair is on fire all the time, which was our normal modus operandi.
The holiday season has made me reflect on this decision. Since holiday season is synonymous with party season, we all do a lot of socializing, often with people we haven't seen much throughout the year. And in the midst of all this lovely partying and catching up, I've been realizing how much we use "busy" as a way to summarize our state of being. Examples:
"How was your year?"
"How was your day?"
"How's life treating you?"
"Oh, god. We're just so busy!"
And then you have to respond that you, too, are beyond busy and that it's a miracle you are even still sitting down to pee and poop rather than just wearing a diaper all day long. What?! Why is this acceptable? I'm sure I've said this a thousand times myself. And maybe these conversation snippets are just evidence that I need to think of better party questions, but I bet you are recognizing yourself in at least one side of this conversation if not both (both for me). Of course, we use busyness as an entry point to talk about the rest of our lives, which often times are full of rich and interesting things, but why do we have to head off in a who-is-most-miserably-busier competition first?
As some point, I just asked myself the rhetorical questions, some of us must like to be really busy, right? At least a little bit.
One of the best pieces of wisdom my dad passed on to me is that some people actually like to be miserable, so don't try too hard to make those people happy. This has been the single most helpful mantra for my I-think-I-can-control-how-everyone-acts-and-feels nature, especially as a younger person. Lately, to deal with my personal struggle with free time and fact that everyone I know also seems to be struggling with it, I've been replacing "miserable" with "busy." Which leads me to ask myself: "Do I like being busy?"
And I don't. But I will admit I like wearing the badge of busyness. Without it I feel lazy, insufficient, vulnerable, and sometimes even selfish. I like to be able to claim that I'm too busy to do be held responsible for my actions (or lack thereof). I like to empathize with my friends' and acquaintances' woes. I like to feel like everyone else. Mostly, I like to have an excuse for not doing things that are important to me and make me feel good, but require a little more work, like write and read and spend time with people I love. You know, all the cheesy stuff.
Another thing that is awesome about being busy is that you can always claim to be too busy for stuff you don't want to do, and when you not in so busy I can barely cope mode, you have to just be honest, as in: "I'm too tired to go out tonight"; "I want to stay at home with my family instead of volunteering"; "I need to work on a short story instead of responding to student emails three minutes after they come in"; "I'd like a bath." This last one is the most difficult one for me: just saying no without justifying why. Surprisingly, I don't think I have lost any friends or long-term professional opportunities due to utilizing these phrases, although I realize that is the risk of saying no.
I've been working on dealing with the difficulties of not being crazy busy, but I did have a hiccup this last semester wherein I freaked out about my impeding joblessness and took on an extra two classes. And like an addict, I felt the sweet relief of being too wrapped up to take care of myself or anyone around me, focusing only on how I would survive the next few days. But halfway through the semester I figured out how I could not have a mental breakdown every other week and still get my shit done. And right now, as I go through my photos, I realize that most of these pictures are from home, during times we were just hanging out. After reading this post about slow parenting, I realize that if I look at the year collectively, it's been a relatively "slow" year of watching our little dude explore and whine and giggle. So, after the look in the mirror finger wagging, I'm patting myself on the back a little to say: "You messed up a little, but you did some good stuff, too."
Looking at these pictures also makes me realize we're so lucky that we can slow down, because some people have to work their asses off to make ends meet. And so I'm thankful that concept of slowing down is even on my plate. That alone speaks to the goodness of my life. So, without further ado, here are a few pictures, mostly of Beckett, of us doing pretty much nothing spectacular.