Monday, October 2, 2023

The End of Busyness

Ever think about the connection between business and busyness? The one letter difference suggests that they’re often the same. Sometimes it seems like the hoops to jump through, bells to ring and pins to knock down are just so much unnecessary distraction from the real business of living. Other times is feels like an exciting game of pinball, hitting the right spots that light up the board and reward you with that satisfying high score.


But no matter how you feel about it, a certain amount must get done. And yesterday to kick off the month, I did it. Got my e-mails down to 0 (a minor miracle!), organized my computer desktop and my actual desk desktop, put all papers in their proper places (including recycling), paid some bills (yes, some of them still with checks and stamps and envelopes), did the food shopping, filled in the month’s calendar on my phone and physical bulletin board, confirmed upcoming rehearsals and guest teaching, bought a plane ticket for the November Orff Conference, added Apple TV to our streaming services (finally I can see Ted Lasso) and miracle of all miracles, strapped myself in to complete my taxes! I had started them in April and then happily deferred them to Fall when I heard about the new October due date. So, as my wife often reminded me, there they were for some six months hanging over my head, a shadow that I mostly could ignore, but was always somewhat aware of.


My—our— resistance to all this busy work is the notion that it is all work and no play, dull drudgery getting in the way of playing cornhole in the park. Yet there is also a great pleasure in just sitting down and doingit, that sense of clearing the deck so you can be more wholly present for that walk in the park knowing you weren’t running away from responsibilities, but towards the sights and sounds and smells and just being pleasures that awaited you. It gives a certain exhilarating feeling knowing you’ve finally taken care of business.


For a couple of hours if you’re lucky. Then the e-mail box starts to fill again, the bills come in, the invitations to the baby shower— from “follow your bliss” back to “follow your list.” But hey, that’s the way this life works, that endless cycling between hunger and satiation, sleep and awakening, getting dirty and showering, Really, it’s all one piece. 


Out of curiosity, I checked e-mail in the time it took me to write this and it went from 0 to 4. All junk, so nothing more to do than press delete. But the cycle has started again. I better run out to the park while I can!

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