too busy?

you know when you read something that you find to be just SO true that you feel the full weight of it- the good gives you an ohmygodYES! moment and the bad makes you feel like you’re looking into one of those mirrors that shows every pore, blemish and wrinkle?  that’s how i felt reading this article after the brilliant jamie posted about it here.  when i got sick i shifted my whole life around from it’s work-centered focus to a life that included a lot more downtime.  and that guilt i’d formerly created and carried around during time off- it evaporated. i felt free, i found happiness in my freedom and in the time i took for myself every day. it felt self indulgent but necessary. i loved it.

lately (partly because of the house buying/move/IRS audit/wedding season and partly because it’s a slippery slope into old habits) i’ve been feeling guilty about neglecting a to-do list that truly has no end, saying “yes” to more work and saying “no” to social invitations and telling myself and others that i’m “too busy”.  that’s bullshit, and i’m calling myself out on it. i’m choosing to be “too busy” by scheduling a chaotic life.  and not because it’s the best thing for me, or because it’s what i really want but because I AM CAUGHT UP IN OLD IDEAS!

it’s not that i don’t have ambitions- i do, and they are large and will take work and dedication to accomplish.  but in a sense i’m not seeing the forest for the trees.  if i devote so much of my energy into work ambitions and don’t devote enough of my energies enjoying all the fun in life, i won’t truly be happy. i’ll be career successful and that one aspect of me will be fulfilled. but for me, that’s not where true happiness lies.  i find my happiest times are when i am balanced- when i’m devoting time to all areas of my life that bring me satisfaction, not hyper-focusing on one.

luckily a big part of the reason we chose palm springs is because of this very thing- we see the value in a life well lived, with our work lives being a healthy part of it but not all consuming. we want to travel, spend time with each other and friends, have hobbies and plenty of time for fun. we want to spend time with people who are in the same mind frame, even if they only feel that way for a weekend at a time. we want to live a slower paced life, and really enjoy it, you know? i’m looking forward to reading, hiking, day dreaming, exploring, practicing my pool hand-stand, doing yoga, riding bikes, watching the sun slip over the mountains, cooking & entertaining, and most of all: just being.  i hope you take the time to read tim kreider’s article, it’s a good one and i’d love to hear your two cents!  image via

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Reader Comments

  1. Stephanie T.|

    Wow! I read that very same article a few days ago and had that very same reaction. I love it when that happens! Props to you for making that life decision and sticking to it! You are on this planet for only so many years. Make them the best years they can be! Here here!!!!

  2. Tiffany @ Savor Home|

    I couldn't agree with you more! I read that article over the weekend and there is so much truth to it. I recently took a two month sabbatical from my 55-60 hour a week job and it is the BEST thing I could have ever done for myself. I have a much better perspective on life now! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. sarah yates|

    tiffany that's fantastic! it takes so much courage to step away from work sometimes i think, there's so much pressure (both real and imagined) to make work your number one priority. and ahhhhh, a two month sabbatical sounds AMAZING! are you finding it easier to maintain balance now that you're back to work?

  4. Lauren {Stylized Existence}|

    The article is great. I completely agree with the writer in the fact that people often associate being busy with being important (whereas I have started to associate being busy with an inefficient use of time). I see this often on blogs — bloggers "complaining" (read: bragging) about how busy they are… and I find it quite off-putting. I am really glad you linked to the article and gave us your personal take on it. Good for you for seeing this in yourself and seeking to rectify it!

  5. sarah yates|

    @lauren, i agree that it can be off-putting, although i think they're coming from a good place and just trying to talk about what's happening in their lives and are being genuine and authentic. i've been there. but it's also a bit of disillusionment if (in my experiences) i'm not recognizing that i CHOSE that level of busy-ness. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Heather|

    I LOVE this post and thank you for sharing that article. This is a topic me and my boyfriend discuss ad nauseum. We live in Southern CA as well, and our whole 'plan' in life is too save as much as possible and retire early to somewhere tropic with cheap living. ๐Ÿ™‚ Life is DEFINITELY too short, and we work far too much. thank you again for posting. xo

  7. sarah yates|

    @heather that sounds brilliant to me! i hope that you're able to work the right amount and save at the same time…if not cheap living in the tropics is right there waiting for you anytime you're ready. (i love thailand for that, but vietnam is supposed to be amazing too).
    @liza, thank you my dear!

  8. sarah|

    This post was a breath of fresh air. I'm always saying life shouldn't be all about work and usually I'm greeted with eye rolls. I've always had a job or two or four, but I see the importance and value in time off to explore avenues one really enjoys. I just got back from teaching English in Thailand and it was by far the best time of my life. It felt like a vacation even thought I had a full time job. That's the life for me.

  9. cianne|

    great article. and so very true. it is easy to get wrapped up in your job and allow other aspects of your life to suffer. I suppose you must just keep a clear vision of why one works to begin with.

    thanks for the reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Tiffany @ Savor Home|

    @Sarah – I actually go back to work on Monday. It is going to be hard!! However, I feel like I have the energy to handle it. I now know how it feels to feel really, really good, so knowing that feeling will prompt me to take action (even if its a small action) to reduce stress when it creeps back. I also have a goal to reduce my hours by January! We will see!

    Good luck with your move and stay cool!

  11. Catherine|

    Wow. What a fantastic post. I haven't read the article yet but this is a very relevant topic for me these days too. 4 years ago I decided to leave corporate life for this career path partly to have more balance and control over my time. And yet most days I feel like I work from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. Busy doesn't equal success either. It's the process of striving for success. I so agree about the balanced times are the happiest times. I'm so happy for you guys and your new house. I will look to you for balance guidance! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. jamie|

    when i saw your tweet i just kept thinking, GOD. moving from LA to the desert seems like such an AMAZING step in the right direction for so many reasons. well done lady!

  13. sarah yates|

    thanks everyone for chiming in!
    @sarah- i know what you mean! our culture is so supportive of those that work themselves to death and those who make other choices are considered "lazy". it's time to change that! you time in thailand must have been amazing, i adore that country!
    @ tiffany, good luck on monday! keep me posted, i'd love to hear how it goes with finding balance after a long break!
    @catherine i'm so proud of you for pursuing your dreams. it does take long days and hard work to make BIG things happen! i measure success now in happiness instead of accolades/money/things. day by day…. today success is not falling asleep on my feet as i try to unpack! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. jenny weston|

    thank you, i really needed this today. i have been on a bit of a hiatus from work while figuring out where to best place my focus and its torturous what i do to myself daily. after spending over a decade here in LA LA filling my everyday with 'busy'ness, i suffer from that terrible anxiety of not feeling worthy or earning my place on the planet without climbing a steep mountain each and every day. IT'S A SICKNESS!

    my fiance, rachel, and i have been considering getting away from the madness and settling somewhere a bit more removed like you have. its certainly in our weekly, if not daily, dialogue.

    i was so happy to read about your new adventure sarah. i remember when i found your blog & photography from the ace many years back. it was so dreamy and palm springs. so fitting for you & lou that the desert is now your new home. i am so happy for you both!

    this blog is wonderful and i so appreciate your honesty and openness.