Are you keeping busy?

A couple of people asked me this recently – a part of a long-time-no-see kind of greeting.

My automatic response was: I’m busier than I need to be.

I wasn’t being entirely honest. Ok – not at all honest, actually. The truth is I haven’t been busy lately. Work has slowed to a comfortable pace and I’m enjoying my time just.. enjoying things, taking things slow. What was it that kept me from answering honestly? It was like some subliminal vibe informing me that the appropriate response is: Yes, I’ve been keeping busy.

What is it with our society? How did BUSY become a vituous quality worthy of a friendly greeting? If I’m not “keeping busy” then what is the image being projected upon me? That I’m unprofessional? Unintelligent? Spoiled for having time on my hands? Sloth-like?

I’m not trying to make a big issue out of a small well-meaning comment by friends. It just made me realize that our society in general seems to have an obsession with BUSYness? Are we afraid the BUSYness gods are going to come raging at us and give us a good talking-to about being slackers! Yikes! Can’t you be working at what is important and living life without being busy? How can we ever discover peace and create a life where stress doesn’t cause negative anxiety and resentment if BUSYness holds such a prominent place in our psyches?

It haunts my psyche too. I’d like to exorcise it! I don’t want to be busy. I’d like to be purposeful. I’d like to do what I need to do, choose to do, want to do with my time. The hours in the day are too precious to waste on being busy.