This time of year especially, with the new school year about to begin, most everyone we know tosses two words into every single conversation:
And I don’t relate. At all. Because we are—can I say this out loud?—decidedly not busy. By choice. And we like it that way.
For the most part, our family lives in relative “simplicity” and I do consider this a worthwhile goal. This might seem surprising given that we are an active duty military family that moves every few years, are raising three young kids, homeschooling, and travel frequently. Simple, of course, does not equal easy. But our day-to-day existence feels un-rushed, un-complicated, and un-busy.
We intentionally have lots and lots of breathing room in our lives. Oh, we still Do The Things. But, we are extremely selective about what Things make it into our routine.
Quite honestly, our unhurried homeschooling schedule is pretty sweet. We don’t mind staying close to home most days, and we like the steady rhythm of our days. Our general rule before adding any regular event to our calendar is to ask, is this activity worth disrupting our week?
This is an anomaly in a world where non-stop busy-ness is worn like a badge of honor. I’m not saying what we’re doing is better. I’m saying I think many people forget they have options.
I am acutely aware of how fortunate we are to be able to orchestrate this lifestyle. My husband is our sole income provider and I am our primary childcare provider and this works out well both financially and logistically. I must acknowledge how privileged it is to be able to say, we choose to do this or we choose to not do this when our family dynamics are what they are.
I realize some folks truly don’t have a choice. People for whom “busy” is a way of surviving . . . the ones working two or three jobs, raising kids without a partner or family support, taking care of aging parents, juggling childcare, just trying to make ends meet and get by.
Let’s face it, though: for most people being busy is a luxury. A self-imposed, too many good things to choose from, take advantage of every opportunity, can’t say no, luxury. People confuse I have to with I get to. We complain about having too many extracurricular activities to choose from, and then expect empathy for our purposely over-scheduled lives.
I’m not trying to imply that it’s impossible to choose simplicity unless your life is relatively carefree and basic necessities are not a worry. But, it certainly doesn’t hurt. I’m also not going to argue the merits of individual activities and schedules, or suggest that everyone needs to personally go all minimalist.
I’m just lending a voice to the (apparent) minority who do not over-schedule, do not stress fitting it all in, and do not mind the silence . . . all while being cognizant of the circumstances that make such “choices” possible. We’re out there, and contrary to the conventional wisdom of our current culture, we’re doing just fine.