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What We Learned This Summer – The Science of Being Busy

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Summer was good. Really good.

I don’t know if it’s because we are leaving soon but this summer felt very special.

Like we had done something right.  We had figured out the science of busy, but this summer spent time in a whole new classroom and this is what we learned.

The importance of letting go of BUSY

We have all been guilty of “being busy”. That busy easily creates when we are just so fucking tired we have to cancel on dinner/lunch/coffee/drinks/get togethers/theatre dates/you name it. More often than not that busy stems from the work you are doing, not the fun you are having. So here’s a stinker: If tomorrow is your funeral, do you think anyone is going to stand up and say “They did a great job of being busy”? No. They will not.

Being active was a key priority
Being active was a key priority

Society has taught us that busy behaviour. Now it seems, everything needs to be scheduled, plans need to be made, children constantly are asking to be amused. (How many of you were ready to push your kids in the lake if they asked one more time, what should we do now?) We are busy monsters who have created busy monsters. We are so ingrained in doing instead of being that it feels like a guilty pleasure to just relax for a second.

This spring, we made the decision to not schedule the kids for anything. Not one single parks & rec program or camp. Slowing the pace down and simply enjoying time together was one of the most difficult & most rewarding parts of this summer. It took a shift in perspective to make all the difference. Here I was so concerned about the “should” and doing stuff that I was missing out. Missing out on the point that giving the people I was with my undivided attention was ACTUALLY what I was supposed to be doing. When the people became the focus, the gratitude came along with it. We made it our intention to carve out time with good friends, and to relish in making memories with them.

Memories like these will last a lifetime for these two
Memories like these will last a lifetime for these two

We learned: The value of time (& how precious it is). Appreciation of good friends and how important they are to your life. Being in the now. Being an active listener allows us to truly connect deeply in conversations & dialogue. 

Nothing is at it seems on social media

I have to admit the dew fell off the rose a bit when I learned that an instagrammer that I really admired ran their photos through 6 different photo and filtering apps before they publish. Yes, they are beautiful and largely because of those filters but I am really enjoying the raw parts of life these days.

Facebook updates account for very little of real life. It is so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing & Facebook knows that. That’s why they give you all kinds of algorithmic sponsored content that completely freak you out and start those “should” feelings again pretty fast.

Social can be a place for bullies, opinions, and tormentors. The content can lead to misunderstanding when how it is read differs from how it was intended to be read. I have may have alienated some friends because we have differing political, gender and race views. So be it. Dialogue is important, essential in fact, but there will always be someone with a different opinion.

Social accounts for 1% of someone’s life. There are so many layers below the surface that its important to remember that you never know anyone else’s story. Take time to connect on a deeper level. This summer was an odd one in which people shared so many stories that seemed completely counter to what they were posting online. Many times there were cries for help and a deep sense of sadness lurking beneath the surface of the happy public posts.

We learned: Don’t believe the hype. It’s important to speak your voice to support causes you believe in. Compassion, for us, is at the core of our value system and one exercised deeply this summer. 

Father & son moments that will catch you right in the throat
Father & son moments that will catch you right in the throat

You are what you eat.

I know of already knew this one. No truer is that statement than after a summer delightfully full of Coronas, G  & T’s, Prosecco, Sangria, Backyard BBQ, Late night chips over Sequence at the cottage and patio lunches with friends. It has been an absolutely fabulous summer and we enjoyed it all. No regrets.

We learned: Not to be angry with ourselves. September is our chance to reset. Healthy, clean eating is on the menu. Daily workouts are a focus for us to work towards getting stronger. 

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Other things I learned this summer

  • Being open, honest & candid about one’s life can be actually one of the most freeing things in the world
  • Gratitude fills you up fuller than any meal
  • Giving back & paying it forward are two of the most important lessons we can teach
  • Nature is the best playground to play in
  • Taking on a challenge and seeing it through can give you a HUGE sense of accomplishment & a big dose of what were you thinking
  • That I like to Soca dance but can’t get my hips moving the way I want them to (see: Whining)
  • Music can bring a country together and that saying goodbye to The Tragically Hip kind of felt like an official goodbye to my youth
  • Recovery takes a lot longer than I realized (& I suck at patience)
  • Finally getting a breast reduction after so many years of thinking about it makes me wonder what took me so long?
  • Asking for help has been one of my biggest challenges.
  • I have an amazing husband and friends who when you actually ASK for help are SO there
  • Time really doesn’t stand still for anyone. Waiting for something to happen holds you back on enjoying what’s happening now.
  • Life is beautiful.

6 Comments

  1. Great post Jenn! So many people try to convince us that we need to schedule our kids more!! We have never been like that and we truly love our kids and how amazing they are turning out to be, largely in part because they aren’t always busy and they can appreciate finding their own way. Sometimes being busy isn’t the answer, having the choice to be busy or not is.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful summer. We get caught up in the busy sometimes, too. But I think this summer has been good for us because, while there were busy moments, there was also a lot of down time. Sometimes not having a plan is the best plan of all.

  3. Great post and how wonderful that you were able to do a breast reduction. I am shocked every time I read someone needed a reduction because these are things I don’t notice or think about. I completely understand back pain and other side effects of large breasts are NO fun. I hope it makes a dramatic impact for you. Also I mean I think that’s one example of things below the surface that we don’t see on social media. If we had a cottage I think we would do this one or two years at least. My kids need a schedule which is consistent and that is a hard place to juggle. Sometimes I wish we could just relax all summer and do very little but when we try it the kids don’t respond well….here’s hoping we will get there.

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