I hear it all the time. I get it from friends, relatives and even random people I may just happen to bump into.
They all say the same thing, without even really knowing what my day-to-day life is like. They all say the same thing – “You’re too busy.”
Now, anybody who knows anything about being a journalist probably knows that things move at a pretty good pace most of the time. I’ve always heard that – in my field – if you’re not busy, you’re not working hard. Because there’s always a story to be pursued (or edited, in my case), there’s always something that can be done.
My job keeps me busy, which is just the way I like it. When I’m busy, the days fly by, things rarely become stale or boring and I feel like I’m constantly accomplishing something, no matter how miniscule it may be. This job keeps me plenty busy. If you don’t believe me, I’m sure my lovely wife would be happy to set you straight. She’s always telling me I work too much and too hard.
However, when people are telling me I’m too busy, they never seem to be referring to my work. No, it’s always about my personal life. According to these people, I’m too busy living life. I guess I should probably explain why they might feel this way.
See, I don’t get a lot of downtime. Or maybe I should say, free time. I work a demanding job that can have odd hours at times, and I’m taking a full load of online courses this semester in hopes of finally finishing my degree. That’s more than enough for most people. But, I pride myself on the fact that I’m most certainly not like most people.
I have a house I’m trying to sell, and in the interest of saving money, I’m having to play real estate agent, working a number of house showings into my schedule. If that’s not enough, I’m active in my church, which is not to simply say I attend church services. No, I’m ACTIVE in my church.
I’m in a men’s group that is really taking off and an adult leader for our youth group. I’ve also recently taking up running, completing my first 5K two weeks ago. I’m active.
But if that’s still not enough, I have a wife, two kids and a couple of dogs that require enough attention and care to be considered additional children (we really love our dogs).
My boys – 8 and 11 years old – keep me pretty busy. I coach my youngest in soccer and baseball as well as my oldest boy’s baseball team. Demanding is putting it lightly. It can be downright exhausting at times.
This week I took on an evening that included a 5:30 p.m. soccer practice, then into the truck and across town for coach pitch at 6:30 and back across town again for 12U baseball from 7:30-9. It was a bit of an evening. I can still feel that evening burning in my legs.
Maybe if I was like some Little League coaches – who just stand around and bark orders to the kids – I wouldn’t have been so exhausted. But I can’t stand doing that, because what’s the point of teaching the kids if you’re not willing to get involved with them?
No, I like to play the game with the kids, and more than three straight hours of that took a toll on me.
But, I’m always reminded of what it was like growing up, without a mom or dad at the games to cheer me on or throw a ball with me in the yard. There was no support, nobody to give encouragement, and that’s the absolute last thing I choose for my kids.
I want my boys to know I’m there to lend a hand, there to offer encouragement and certainly there to let them know I’m proud – win or lose. So I coach every sport, every season. It’s the life I’ve chosen and yes, it’s keeping me quite busy.
So, of course my schedule is pretty full, my time is extremely valuable and maybe I’m taking on too much. But, on the flipside, what good is a life that’s not being lived? Not that I’m living some extraordinary life full of monumental moments, but my life is being lived.
The time in my life is being filled with things that are meaningful to me, things that I can be proud of.
I’m not sure how one could be proud of a life spent on the couch watching television, or filled with worry over how I’m too busy to do things they deem more important. But, to each his own.
In my opinion, I’m living my life to the fullest. And for those who say I’m too busy, let me offer up this piece of insight – maybe you’re not busy enough.
Cliff Gibson is the managing editor for the Rockwall County Herald-Banner and Royse City Herald-Banner. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.