Well, I’m back less than a month since my last post so we’ll consider that a win for the team, right?
I wanted to check back in with an update since my announcement that I’ve removed the word busy from my vocabulary. On December 24th I announced that for the year of 2017 I’ve given up busyness. The truth is, this has been surprisingly easy and incredibly rewarding. I know that sounds impossible. And honestly, if you’re my friend in real life it will surprise you even more.
Last year I traveled not only around the world (US to New Zealand to Australia) but about 15 times domestically (not for work). I hosted 10ish houseguests for overnights, regular book clubs (2), bible studies, and a high school youth group. As I heard other people talk about how busy I am, I kept feeling surprised (also, maybe, a little annoyed). Something has to change, I thought. I do not want people to immediately think ‘busy’ when they think of me.
So I’m fasting busyness and replacing it with fullness. I thought when I set about this commitment that the result would be doing less. The truth is, I’m doing more than ever. Hang tight, this might make sense in a minute. I realized that I was organizing and scheduling my life to death. When I stopped doing that and left a little space in my calendar (and my brain) I actually got MORE done.
In December I hosted a birthday party for a friend and promptly fell in love with my friend’s friends. I heard myself say ‘we should do this every month’. Normally I avoid saying things that sound like me volunteering to organize something. But who doesn’t have a night a month to have fun? Last month, we went to paint pottery. We ordered Uber Eats sushi or Chipotle and met as soon as we could all gather from work or for some, waiting for their husbands to get home from work. I painted the platter in the picture above.
I started leaving my Friday mornings open to just be at home. Amazingly, this resulted in purging my garage, every closet, my kitchen cabinets, and even old DVDs I never watch anymore because: Hulu. I finally planted flowers in a pot for my front porch and repotted succulents for the back porch. I took a Friday morning and drove to a local plant grower and talked with him about the kind of sun my porch gets and my crazy life of travel and what I might actually be able to keep alive. I bought a pot with drainage (because apparently succulents need that).
You’re probably thinking, great, you took a morning off and you planted flowers. So what’s that really say about getting more done? Well, I’ve also read 26 books towards my goal of 125 this year. I took on meeting with gals who are also reading through the bible in a year. I booked flights to see my best friend, to take my nieces and nephew on individuals dates, and I took a weekend to fly down and help my Mom move. I even texted a friend who’s going through a hard time and said – girls weekend? Let’s get out of here. And we are.
In the next two months my college roommate AND my best friend are making trips down here where I get to take them to the beach, cook them meals, and take them shopping. I even sat down this week and made a list of fun things we could do while they’re here and their favorite food and drinks I want to have on hand for their visits.
I’ve learned to cook new meals and bake new goodies. I’ve had room in my head to remember birthdays, special events, and I’ve spent more time praying with and for my friends and family. I scheduled all my dentist, doctor, even skin cancer checks for the year by mid-February.
Saying no to busy has meant a lot more spontaneous ‘yes’ too. Yes to brunch on Sunday’s after church. Yes to ‘can we come over early to hangout before group?’. Yes to writing hand written letters with my 5 year old niece. Yes to facetimes with my friends and their kids who live far away. Yes to watching a coworkers new baby so they can get out of the house without paying for a sitter. I’ve even somewhat kept up with laundry this year.
So maybe this just sounds like I’m doing things I always should have been. True. But somehow in the busyness of my life before I never really felt like I was enjoying those items. I sent cards and acknowledged birthdays but I didn’t have time to really think about them. I made trips to visit people but I got there and it was like whew, I’m exhausted. I read books and I loved it but I rarely had a quiet morning with coffee to do it. And yes, sooner or later the laundry got done, the drawers got cleaned out, and friends got a phone call. In fact, I may have been more ‘perfect’ in 2016 but I’ve definitely been more ‘present’ in 2017.
The best part is this – I like full Becca a lot better than busy Becca. Because she’s fun. She says ‘hey, let me teach you this new game I got for Christmas’ when she’s sitting out in the driveway chatting with her neighbors. She enjoys sitting on FaceTime learning about the stretchy dinosaurs her nephew loves. She thinks to offer to lend a crimper to a friend attending an 80s event and to send ‘hey this flight is on sale -come visit me’ texts to her friends so they can plan a beach trip.
It’s very possible that as you read this is makes no sense to you because you’re fun all the time and never flustered. I hope for your sake that you don’t care quite as much as I do about to do lists, tasks, and clean floors. But for me, I’m celebrating the wins. That when your friends say they’ve had a bad day you get to say ‘come on over’ and you put down what you’re doing and just be there. I don’t get to do this all day everyday but I get to do it.
So cheers, to slow mornings and full lives. To scheduling less but somehow doing more. To having room in your head to solves a few of your friends problems. To being thoughtful and fun. To getting a lot done but knowing when to just be present too. Trust me, full is so much better than busy.
Oh and here’s a bonus. The recipe for the best cake I’ve made in a WHILE: Pink Champagne Cake.