There’s a magnolia tree down the road from my house, and it is one of my most favourite sights of the season. Every year, these trees come out in their full glory and signal to the world that winter’s (at least mostly) gone and it’s time to bloom. I feel like this year, following a particularly busy and trying winter for me, those magnolia blossoms represent even more than normal.
This experience of being too busy for my own liking—recently and in the past--brings up something I see with my clients, too. It’s around the notion of being busy for something vs. being busy for the sake of being busy. We run ourselves ragged trying to prove that we are doing enough. But enough for who? We might say that we need to work that many hours to pay for the things we think we need, or that we couldn’t possibly give up any of the things we’ve committed to. But often, we don’t need those things and our lives would be fuller if we were to give ourselves a little more space to enjoy them. So then the question becomes, what do we get from being so busy? For many of us, that’s a tough question to answer. We don’t want to admit that we feel like we aren’t enough—but there is often an element of trying to do enough to prove we’re enough. We don’t talk about how our society glorifies busy and those who appear to do it all—effortlessly, too! We sometimes don’t want to slow down long enough to really check in and really feel what we’re trying to distract ourselves from.
This is not easy stuff.
We all go through periods in our life where we are so busy that we barely have time to notice what’s happening to us. Do you know the feeling you get when you’re running down a hill having a blast, but then all of a sudden you’re barreling down the hill far too fast for your own liking? That happens in life, too. For those of us who thrive on being busy, productive, and engaged, there is a fine line between being fulfilled and overwhelmed. For the past few months, I know that I’ve teetered on that line. Luckily, that kind of teetering is exactly the spot where we can learn about ourselves. I’ve learned to notice when I’m feeling spread too thin: I fight with my partner, I neglect my self-care routines, I stop calling my family and friends. And I know what recharges me: a coffee date with someone I can talk to, a sweaty workout where I can forget about my to-do list, a day spent hiking or on an adventure outside.
And with spring in the air and that feeling of regeneration and a fresh start all around, I think it’s a perfect time to take stock of what we really want to create in our lives and also what we want to cast off. Just as in nature, spring’s a time of new growth as well as a time for letting go. I encourage you to hit pause, no matter how busy you may be, to think about how you might apply that to your own life. These questions might help.
What are you ready to cast off, like the winter?
What do you want to grow and create in your life this spring?
Are there things in your life you do for the sake of doing, or being busy?
What is your relationship like with free time? How does an empty calendar make you feel?
I would love to hear from you with what you’re working on, and as always, if you’d like some help with this stuff, we can set up a free session for you to try out coaching and make this spring one of extra intense growth!