Day 190 - Busy Lizzy
Soooo I did not have a boring day yesterday. In fact, if you could see all that I did yesterday you would be convinced that I am incapable of being still...ever. Regardless, it was a great day for me. I love home projects and am happiest when doing things to improve the place I live. I am one of those people who moves into a fixer upper and then as soon as I am done fixing it up, I move and start the whole process over. Well, at least, I used to be.
Now I am fixing up the place I live with the intention of staying. I like this place, I want to be here. I am still looking at Zillow daily so I could be totally delusional here.
As I was in motion from sun up to well past sun down yesterday, I thought about what activity does for me. Why am I this person that needs to accomplish? Why can’t stillness still be an accomplishment? What am I sacrificing for all the busyness?
I am a doer. Always have been. My nickname from my parents at two was Busy Lizzy. My middle name is Elizabeth - now you can see the connection. I just am this way. I am never going to be one of those people who have a hard time getting started. I am one of those people who has a hard time slowing down. I am type A and there is little I can do to change it because I had little to do with being this way. I didn’t sit around and decide to be this way...I just am.
I think I picked a relatively still job as a counterbalance to my natural nature of running all the time. Although I am sure my co-workers will not agree. I am active even in the stillness. It is as if I have this internal combustion engine that propels me forward all the time. It isn’t that I can’t turn it off, it is just that I don’t want to. I like it. It makes me feel worthwhile and productive. I come from a long line of these people. Farmers, hard workers, restaurant owners, military officers. That is my lineage.
However, as I have aged, I have also come to appreciate the stillness. I can be still. It just isn’t what I go to first. It is how I start my day. I have a period of several hours where I am still: writing, reading, meditating, yogaing. This is the precursor to my active days. However, stillness has always kind of been a reward for accomplishment. You do the work first, then you relax. It is hard wired into me.
I am not sure what I am sacrificing to the busyness. Mentally I can’t wrap my mind around it. I am not able to really see it, which is why I lack the motivation to change it. I think it is just an orientation. Let’s use my mom for an example...she is just as busy as me, she just does it differently.
She gets up and write every day. She meditates every day. She prepares meals every day. She has a lot of activity, hers are just quieter and stiller. She knits, crochets, writes, reads, putters around her house. She just has this much more calm way about her. She is quiet in her busy, while I am like a mac truck moving through mine.
I say all of this with this idea that I should be another way. Which I realize is a violence to myself. It is like saying “I would be a better person if I had a blonder hair” or “I would be a better person if I was taller." The two have nothing to do with each other. I am an active person. I have always been an active person. I am likely always going to be an active person until old age, sickness and death bring me to my knees. That is just how. I am. Better really only becomes applicable in how I am doing the busy.
If I am a complete asshole while being busy, that is where the work is. But if I am capable of allowing others to not be busy, to do them as I am doing me, then what is the harm here?
What is amazing in all of this is how much this corrosive thread of “ you should be different” exists in my life. While hiking with a friend the other day, she said “you are like a gazelle." I am pretty sure she meant it as a compliment, but also with a side of “slow the fuck down, you are going to kill me.” What no one, including me, seems to understand is that I can’t. I mean, I can slow down, but as soon as I do, I feel something inside me kind of pop. Something kind of pulls me down, like all of the energy is pulling me back to the abyss. I can’t explain it other than that...there is this restlessness in my heart that propels me forward and onward...it has always been there.
What I am realizing is that I have once again gotten out other people’s yardsticks for themselves and tried to co-opt them for my own. It doesn’t work. It never has. I have found that it takes a lot of courage to measure yourself by your own yardstick. To make friends with your energies, drives, compulsions, desires and busyness. I have come to find out, that I kind of love this about me. I love that I am like the military, in that I get more done before 8 am than most people do in a day.
Now, that being said, I also see the value in slowing down. I see the value in the stillness. I see how I can become a more well rounded person by working with my resistance to idle. There are lessons there for me. And I am willing to do the work to get there. But at 50, I am ok with being busy Lizzy. I actually like that about me. I value it. So I am going to stop trying to be something I am not, still, and enjoy the person I am, busy. My own yardstick to measure myself. And I will relish the moments where I can say enough, lay down in my backyard on my swing bed and read a book under a warm waning day. All that busyness got me a lovely place to enjoy all my hard work...