About a month ago, I was getting coffee with an old friend (he sat down and said, “I don’t think I’ve seen you in like, ten years.”… and then we immediately launched into this awesome conversation about our ministries/businesses), and I was telling him how I feel so…busy. And he smiled, shook his head, and said: “is it busy or is it active?”
I cocked my head and waited for an explanation.
He goes on to explain that busy is when you’re doing things you have to do, or don’t want to do. Active is doing things that you choose to do– busy has this nasty, negative connotation, whereas active– active is a choice. You decide to do those things.
This feels like semantics but you know that it’s more– there’s something to this. So I started to try to differentiate– when people asked how busy I was, or why I was running late, I tried to use the words accordingly– I’ve been so busy today, OR, my schedule was really active today. And as you might imagine, the first couple of times it would get some weird looks. “Really active? We know you spend a lot of time in the gym, but…” and I’d go on to explain. And after a while, I wondered why I was still having to say “busy” at all.
I have plenty to do that is not “busy”– my “active” list is way more full, brings me way more joy, and leaves my soul full– it involves making the world better, growing a beautiful company, and spending more time with my tribe. Why would I ever choose another life?
Perhaps because we were raised to believe that’s selfish– that by taking a chance on yourself, by leaving the world of “norm”, we’re somehow cheating. I’m only 26– how dare I consider choosing to live the life I want to live over the life I’m “supposed” to live. Damn millennials.
We have this one life– no matter who we are, how old we are, what our job is/jobs are– this is it. This is all we have, and if we want to spend the next X years of our lives doing something we think someone thinks we should be doing… then what are we really doing?
I’m reminded of one of my favorite pieces of all time by Alan Watts:
So then… what are we waiting for?