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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Whoa, Slow Down, People by Bea Tifton


A brief disclaimer: First of all, this post isn’t to minimize the way many people struggle with mental health issues now that our entire world has changed. I hope anyone who does gets help immediately. I’m not minimizing the people we lost, the things that will never be the same again.

March of 2020:  The whole world shut down. And we waited. And waited. We cleaned out our hall closets and our junk drawers. We baked banana bread. And more banana bread. We read books and marveled at how enriching and vital that is. We went outside. People spent time with their kids. Some people marveled at how much more relaxed they were and how happy their kids were. No longer scurrying from one activity to another without really taking time to enjoy each one.


Yes, it was stressful. I lost friends and family, too. My wonderful, gregarious, and restless neighbor fretted about not being able to spend time with crowds of people. But, surely you remember how many people vowed to spend more time doing the things they loved. People took a deep breath. They reevaluated their worship of busyness. Workaholics vowed to spend less time working and more time living. Parents promised not to overschedule their kids. The Danish term hyggae was batted about. Hyggae is a feeling of contentment and coziness. It’s about spending time with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere.  

Then the world reopened.  We could go places again, restaurants, stores, sporting events. Adults went back to work. Kids went back to school. And suddenly, everyone was busy. They had to catch up. They had things to DO. And calendars filled up. Where does the time go?

I have great friends. I’m more of a “has many friendly acquaintances and a few, very close friends” kind of person. And I work at home, so I know my reality is different than most of the people I know. But my friends overall are so BUSY. Committee meetings, kids’ extracurricular activities, STUFF. I have a few dear friends who mean a lot to me. I know they value our friendship. But they’re so busy, I never see them. I swear it wasn’t like that as much before the pandemic. We try to schedule getting together, but they end up having to cancel. There’s just so much to DO. What. Happened?

I think that in some ways, people are seeking to restore what we previously had. The new normal is scary. Covid isn’t going away. And people struggling with mental health issues is at an all time high. I’m not minimizing the physical and psychological damage Covid created, believe me. Perhaps filling our lives with meetings and events is an attempt to feel that the world is back together, after watching it fall apart for two years. I miss my friends, but I understand in many ways.

Still, I’m surprised at how many people I know overscheduled after so many vowed to incorporate more leisure activities and free time into their lives. I’m not talking about the necessity of having a job and a career. Some people did drop out completely, and that’s not healthy, either. But the balance isn’t there. Certain populations in our society went right back to the endless meetings, the legion of afterschool classes and organizations our children attend. Maybe, just maybe, it would be good to pare down the extras, the busyness again. To breathe. To experience hyggae.

Are you busier than ever after the lockdown? Leave a comment below. You’ve got time. Really. (And thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it. Now take a deep breath and go do one thing you truly enjoy just for the thing’s sake. Just for a little while.)





  1. Being retired from the day job means I'm as busy as I want to be...or not. If I still had kids at home, still had to show up for work, I imagine we'd be too busy again. But we had a lot of together time in that busyness that I still miss all these many years later. I do love what you're saying, though.

  2. I think there are two kinds of people. Those who enjoy busy activities and the busyness of our world. And, there are those who like the calmness of choosing carefully how they spend their time, and who like more a more peaceful atmosphere. My husband and I are opposites. His busyness and commitment to volunteering allows me the time to write and enjoy some quiet time.

  3. I have always been a little ADHD and hyperactive and my busyness goes as far back as I can remember. I think it's just the way I'm wired. I rarely have downtime and if I'm watching TV- which is extremely rare, I am multitasking. When things get too slow though, I get restless.

  4. At different times in my life I was BUSY. Now, I have decided to relax along the way and do things I enjoy as well as my writing (which I also enjoy). I have vowed not to overcommit and become too busy again.

  5. Seems like we're always busy, so the one thing I vowed to do in December was to visit at least five longtime friends that we hadn't seen since COVID hit. It was remarkably fun to NOT be online--just hang out in their living rooms and chat. All the folks we visited were so happy and every single one remarked as to how we no longer visit IRL. Mr R and I had two days of fun that we hadn't even known we were missing.


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