May 19, 2020

Sorry, but “Busy” Wasn’t Working for any of Us.

Elephant’s Continually updated Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon
Author’s note: This is for the privileged of us who are able to quarantine at home.


As I scroll through social media, I see many people talk about what they’re looking forward to post-quarantine, how they miss their old lives, and their hope for all forms of lockdown to be eased soon. (I honestly wasn’t expecting all that excitement about travel restrictions being lifted in various countries since the pandemic is nowhere near over.)

I see some people rant about their boredom, and others joke about how their personal relationships have gone downhill from having to stay home with their partners, parents, children, or siblings.

This is all understandable. And I won’t lie and say that none of this is relatable.

But I am surprised that few are talking about what wasn’t right with the old ways. Why is this not a major trending subject?

Here’s a brief description of a typical pre-quarantine month of mine:

At least 10 days when I didn’t have time for a decent lunch.

At least 15 days when I ran around for 12 hours straight, after cancelling plans because I really just wanted to be home.

At least 22 days when I drove for two hours just to get to work.

I wonder what’s good about busy.

Busy slays the possibility of any form of self-reflection. It takes away our ability to sit down, slow into life, and actually let it flow. It stands in the way of knowing what we need, and silences our intuition.

I wonder what’s good about that.

I wonder what’s good about the ongoing pressure to fulfill social obligations that don’t nurture our soul in any way, and yet our learned patterns make us feel obligated to meet these expectations (when in fact, we create obligations from nothing) as we are secretly trying to avoid being seen as uncaring, unsocial, or insensitive by others.

I wonder what’s good about everyday exhaustion, when all we can think about is the moment we’ll get to tuck ourselves into that warm, white bed and scroll through our phones until we drift to sleep.

I wonder what’s good about having no time for ourselves.

No time for self-care. And I don’t mean massages and bubble-baths, but rather time for processing our feelings, time for learning and unlearning, and time for healing.

I wonder what’s good about a life that leaves us with no energy or time to love other humans; for love is an action, not a feeling, and action by definition calls for doing (and doing requires time and energy).

Busyness leaves us tired, irritated, and short-tempered, so we end up with less emotional space to give to our relationship with ourselves, and to our relationships with others.

I wonder what’s good about a system that keeps us wanting more things that we don’t need, when we could easily and happily do with much less.

I wonder what’s good about not being able to taste the bitterness of chocolate; smell the burning candles; watch loud, beautifully annoying children play from our windows; find out if we actually like that Persian red-blue-green rug that’s been lying on the living room floor for at least 10 years; take photos of our baby kitten as she steals our food; and smell the raw lavender as we lather our bodies with an all-natural soap bar.

I wonder what’s good about living less genuinely than we all yearn to because we don’t have the time. We don’t have the time to feed the stray dogs, call our parents, text our good friend who lives on another continent, and just be present.

I wonder why we would miss a way of life that is designed to keep us busy and disconnected from what we our souls scream for.

For the lucky of us who are able to quarantine at home, this could be a chance for a detox, but only if we allow for it. For reflection. For finding out what works and what doesn’t. For finding out if we really like that rug and processing that difficult conversation that we had in our last relationship that ended over a year ago.

For many of us, this is a rare chance to reconnect with ourselves.

Let’s let the light dimmed by busy—in all its aggressive forms—flow through.


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