I think we can all mostly relate to two sides of one flipping coin. You’ve woken up, had a workout and a meal, and gotten caught up on emails before the sun even rises. By 10am, an entire day has passed. At 2pm, your 6-page to-do list has been cut in half and still shrinking. You meet a friend for coffee at 5 and they relay their day.

They woke up around 11, began folding laundry at 2, but had to break mid-way for lunch. They had to keep checking their voicemail for one important call that never came. And by the time 5 o’clock rolled around, they almost couldn’t make it because they were just too busy and stressed out from it all.

You smile politely but internally scream. You accomplished more before 6:30am than they’ve done all day, and you’re supposed to be sympathetic? Yes.

Think back several months, years, and further, if you can. How did it come to be that your days became packed? Think back to the days where you got over 9 hours of sleep a night, but still felt tired the next day. Weren’t there days where you had little to do, yet still you felt weighed down?

You don’t instantly become busy, and you don’t instantly become capable of living a busy life. It is a gradual process that sneaks under your nose, right there in your planner or calendar. You say “yes” to many things over time and you adjust to fit those things into your normal routine, until you start to say “no”.

Maybe you can relate to that other side of the coin, your head pounding due to the stress of your day, in awe of those around you who don’t have time to breathe. You, too, can remember a time when your days were full and your body was racing. Maybe you are grateful that you have space in your life now. Or maybe you’re ashamed that you’re exerting yourself on your comparably tiny to-do list.

Don’t be ashamed of your stress. Don’t be prideful of your capacity. Life is a rhythm and the tempo will change, and the change is good. At times, our planner is full and we grow in our capacity to handle tasks. At other times before or after, our schedule is clear and we are clear to rest and breathe. Both are necessary. Both are good. We are all busy because busyness lies in our own perceptions, and we are free to respect that in one another.

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