I was about to write and apologize for not posting on my blog recently—overcome by current events and a busy schedule. When I remembered a conversation I had with my mom and sisters a month ago. One of my sisters remarked that I really did not know what busy was. At first I was offended, but I realized she was defining busy as a long day filled with “requirements”. But, oh yes, I was that kind of busy for many years of my life. After receiving my college degree (which in itself required my time 24/7), I set off to have an ambitious career. Working long hours, volunteering for special projects and accepting additional assignments. I was promoted and my salary rose with the increasing responsibilities and eventual advancement into management. There was very little time at home/leisure and my life was way out of balance.
This went on for 20+ years until 18 years ago, after a particularly grueling stint of months and months without a single day off from work and 12 to 14-hour days, I looked in the mirror and realized this was not the life I wanted. I did not have to be “busy”. My hair was literally falling out from stress. I developed a irregular heartbeat and I took medication to prevent the pounding from keeping me up at night. Although others noticed and remarked on my declining health, it wasn’t until someone loaned me the book in 1995, Your Money or Your Life, published in 1992 by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin that the proverbial light went on.
A few years later I was able to transfer to an individual contributor/staff position. One that required very little overtime. Yes, I took a slight cut in pay; but overall the hourly wage was actually higher (my corporation’s management positions did not pay for additional hours worked—most companies do not). My husband and I downsized to a smaller home and yard (no yard actually, we purchased a townhome), got rid of toys (camper, boat, etc.) that were used very little or no longer used, downsized my wardrobe (no more dry cleaning, no more heels!) and generally downsized everything that needed care and took up space. I devoted my new found time planning for a retirement—a future when I could do activities that pleased me everyday, all day. Best of all, I no longer needed the heart medication. The retirement planning paid off and we retired at the young age of 55. I feel better than ever (out of the office/cubicle and in the outdoors again).
I could go on in more detail how I made my life “requirements” much simpler and replaced them with meaningful “to-dos”, but I will leave you with this for now. You have choices. Yes, you really do. My life is no longer “busy”. My days are very, very full of happy and rewarding activities spent with my husband and friends and just myself. So, forgive me as I skip a few blog posts--I am enjoying myself with days bursting at the seams with things worth doing. In the future, I will no longer describe my day as busy, I will say with a smile, my day was full.