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Why I Wanted To Be The Busiest

A truthful extended title of this blog post would be Why I Wanted To Be The Busiest & How It Sucked The Life Out Of Me.

"If you rest, you rust." - Helen Hayes

One could argue that this quote promotes dedication and persistence. It's a quote about working hard to reach success and making a name for yourself. We need to persevere or we will become stagnant. I'm not against working hard or keeping busy by any means, but there's an undeniably massive focus on the constant state of being busy. Maybe it's our deep-rooted competitive nature, constantly feeling the need to keep up with everyone who surrounds us or who we see on social media.

I'm not a competitive person on the surface. Sorry to anyone who has ever been on a soccer or softball team with me. I most likely didn't care whether we won or lost. I probably treated a game of cards more seriously than I did with sports. However, my favorite (see: least favorite) form of competition is when the comparison game comes out to play. We all love that game. Who doesn't love comparing their completely unique and different life and appearance to somebody else's?
 I compare everything. Hair style, nose shape, height, weight, shape, skin, fashion, work experience, internships, relationships...the list is never ending. I always tell myself it's important never to compare my chapter three to somebody's chapter ten, but sometimes it's hard. We're all different for a reason, it's what makes us supremely unique and who we are.
There is one competition that I've never been able to get under control, no matter how many times I go through the same cycle of work in succession without so much as coming up for air before I try to do something else to keep up with everyone. The number of times I've caught myself needing to one up somebody with my packed schedule is...embarrassing. It's beyond that, though. I attribute quantitative values to everything.

I've been at work for like 10+ hours, ugh.

I have like, 500 letters to address, stamp, stuff, AND seal today. 

I have to go from this place from 9:00 to 5:00 and then here from 5:30 to god knows when. #FML

I'm sitting here reading this thinking "that's SO dumb," but I can guarantee that in the next week if someone tells me about something that they're doing, my suppressed competitive nature is going to surface and I'm going to make up something about how busy I am too so I feel like I'm keeping up.

It's why I drank coffee when my roommates were going to sleep so I could stay up later to get god knows what kind of work done. It's why I took on too many projects during my junior year of college and cried for thirty minutes straight in the car because I took on a shift at work the same day I had a big pitch meeting for the student newspaper and a big Spanish exam that I needed the day to study for. It's why I took on an internship I didn't really want after graduation because I didn't want to be sitting around doing nothing while my roommates still had classes. It's why I'm writing this blog post because for some reason, even after I tell myself repeatedly that it doesn't matter, it still does matter to me even if I only reap consequences from it and never benefits.

When did it become glorified to be completely and utterly worn out? When did just plain old hard work turn into back breaking work that required sacrificing any sense of sanity and order so we could feel like we were successful? What is success? Will we ever find satisfaction if our life becomes a never ending series of things to do without any breaks?

We are always on

We give ourselves less time to rest because resting would require taking time away from the schedule we purposely packed. Sure, it's accidental sometimes. You can't change the dates of exams or big deadlines at work. But you can change the dinner you planned with a friend and the drinks you planned with another and that big night out with a different group of friends. You can change the extra projects that you took on because you wanted to be able to talk about it earn the experience.

There's a certain satisfaction in checking off points on your to do list, but at what point does that stop being enough? When does self-validation become enough? I would wait for my roommates to question my schedule, asking if I ever had free time to sleep or if I was okay because I seemed stressed. I lived for those moments. Their concern felt like pats on the back like I was doing enough that they took notice. WTF, right?

The truth is, people are always going to be doing things. 

Yeah, FOMO sucks, but we can't be everywhere all at once. This applies to both physically and mentally. You could be hanging out with your friends on a weekend after a long week of work and, to be honest, life and be totally spaced out. Is it worth being there if you might as well not even be there mentally (and probably emotionally, too)? Mental health is real. There's not weakness, only strength in the time we take off from everything else to care for ourselves.

I asked more questions than I answered in this post. I'm still baffled by this, to be honest, and it still affects me, albeit much less than it did when I was in college. It's hard to see everyone doing their own things on social media, whether it's people you know or just people you follow online. What used to just be comparing our appearances and social status/wealth has now turned into comparing experiences, schedules, how much sleep we didn't get, how much coffee we needed to drink to stay "sane," all of those wonderfully unhealthy things that combine together to determine how busy we are.

What's the saying? Busy is the new black? I think I'll pass for now and try to work at my own pace.


  1. AMEN GIRL. Busy is the new norm and no one knows how to get out of it, including myself. I love everything I do but I need to figure out priorities because I want rest, too. Thanks for addressing such an important topic!

  2. I totally agree! I always want to be busy but having time for rest is super important!
    Elise |


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