Commentary – What type of busy are you?

Pearl Lorentzen

At a conference, a friend was asked if the things she is busy with bring her joy.
This has stuck with me since she passed it along, because I am chronically busy. I often respond to the ubiquitous question, “How are you?” with, “Busy, but good.”
Back in July 2021, I wrote a commentary about how busyness is not necessarily bad. On the flip-side, since then, I’ve written one (maybe more than one) about the importance of rest.
My mom always says the hardest thing in life is balance. Some other people talk about harmony between the various aspects of our lives. I find both metaphors useful when I’m deciding if I should do something or say no.
At the risk of repeating myself, I’m going to delve a bit deeper into busyness that brings me joy. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines joy as, “(noun) the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or the prospect of possessing what one desires, a state of happiness or felicity, a source or cause of delight, (verb) to experience great pleasure or delight.”
Joy is also often connected with peace and contentment.
To be clear, the type of busyness that brings joy can still be frustrating. One form of busyness that brings me both is writing. For me, writing is the best and the worst thing. It helps me collect my thoughts, it inspires me, it makes me giddy.
However, it is also the hardest job I have ever had. There are times when I want to throw my computer out the window, which at The Slave Lake Lakeside Leader office would mean throwing it through two walls. It is infuriating, at times torturous, but also extremely fun.
Writing brings out every emotion, but mostly it brings me joy, peace, and a sense of accomplishment.
Volunteering is another type of busyness that brings me joy. I am likely a little too heavily involved with community organizations, but each one has aspects that bring me joy. I really enjoy being around other people who volunteer.
Also, the focus of the groups I’m involved with align with my passions. Therefore, this involvement brings me joy.
When I’m done writing or volunteering, I am exhausted, but excited. I’m an introvert, so most of my energy comes from being alone.
In a different way, busyness gives me energy. In the moment of talking to people on a deep level or figuring out the best way to get a project off the ground, I am energized, joyful, and passionate. However, I usually crash and burn afterward. This is why I find it so important to schedule some rest, alone time, and contemplation.
Over the years, I have sought to decrease the amount of things I do that do not bring me joy. There are things, such as laundry and cleaning, which I still have to do, but for the most part, I fill my time with things which I think are worthwhile.
The things that I find fascinating aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they work for me. I encourage everyone to think about the activities which fill your day. Do they bring you joy? If so, do you want to do more of that? If not, are they essential?
The rampant pursuit of joy at the cost of all else is not a good idea. However. We have only a limited amount of time, so why not fill it with things we enjoy?

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