A few months ago, I read a perfectly timed blog post about being "unbusy" or "still". For the purpose of this post I'll be mostly using the word unbusy because it applies more to where I'm at in life. When I read this other blog, I had been feeling stretched and with a lot of demands on my time. Asher had, and still has, therapy 4 times a week. I was, and still am, trying to build my business so that I could decrease hours at my other job 3 evenings a week and half days every Saturday. At the same time I was feeling like I just needed to be home with my kids more. Then I would get requests or invitations to do this or that and all I really wanted to say was no. I had one person in particular, a massage client, that kept asking me if I wanted to go get coffee (don't worry, they won't see this). I should have said no from the beginning and simply stated that this is a boundary that I like to keep between therapist and client (unless we have a friendship prior to them becoming my client). Instead I was caught off guard and awkwardly fumbled and said "maybe" or something similar thinking that if I told them enough times that I couldn't because of this or that, that they would probably stop asking. In case you are wondering, this is not a good technique to use.
Finally I just came out and said that I was just "too busy". They responded that maybe I should organize my time better so that I wasn't busy all the time. They wouldn't have been off base with this comment if my reasoning was really that I couldn't schedule it in, but saying I was too busy was just easier (and kinder so I thought) than saying, "I just don't want to, but I don't have the words to explain why I don't want to". I had the time to schedule it in, but it meant getting a sitter to watch my boys while I went out to coffee that I should have never agreed to in the first place.
Then I read this blog and she talked about being "still" or "unbusy" and I finally had a word to describe why I didn't want to go get coffee. What I really felt was this need and desire to be "unbusy". This desire to not have to try to fit something else into my schedule that took my away from my kids and left me feeling stressed and guilty. To not have to go anywhere or do anything other than stay home, work around the house, cuddle and play.
We all need times where we take time away from our responsibilities and take care of ourselves, but if I'm going to do that, I really want that time to be refreshing and restoring, not something that leaves me feeling stressed. My desire to say "no" had nothing to do with this individual personally, it had everything to do with me and my desire to just be home and present.
We also all need time to be unbusy or still. Depending on where you are in life, one word might fit better than the other. It's hard for me to use the word "still" when I have two toddlers in the house that are constantly demanding my attention, but simply not having to do something or be somewhere at a certain time feels unbusy. There are even some days were I wake up, and it's raining or too cold to walk the dog and Asher has no therapies, which means I don't have to rush to get all of us dressed and the house semi picked up (or at least make room on the floor to have therapy) and I feel like I can take this big deep breath of "unbusyness" (I know, not a word, but you get the point).
So in the future, if you invite me to do something and I say I can't, it might be because I'm practicing being unbusy. Not because I don't value you, or our friendship, but just that I need to not put something else on my schedule at that time.