Ever since I can remember I've been busy. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was bored. Growing up it was running from one sports practice to dance class, and finding time in between for homework. Through college it was juggling a full class load, internships, jobs, and an attempt at a social life. And after graduation, it never really slowed down. Even when I kept trying to convince myself it would. Up until a few weeks ago I was working three jobs, seven days a week, spending hours in front of my computer screen and saying no to the things I really cared about.
But what I've learned, is that saying yes to more work, more events, more projects you are saying no to all of those things you really need in your life. Like sleeping in on a Sunday, family gatherings, dinner with your girlfriends, a workout, and god forbid we make time for a little self-care.
When people ask me how I'm doing my instant answer is "busy - but good". To be honest, busy does not equal good. But somewhere along the way our generation began glorifying busy. And I'm the biggest culprit.
I thought that more weddings, more projects, part-time jobs, event planning, meetings, all meant I was doing something right. But in fact, I was probably doing it all wrong.
I began keeping a gratitude journal and that's when things started to change. Every morning I would wake up and physically write out three things I was grateful for. I would also write three things that would make today great. Then, at the end of the day I would write how I could have made today better. I started to see patterns. The act of physically writing out what you are looking forward to and what you are dreading in your day to day life is honestly so eye opening. You see how days turn into weeks, into months and then before you know it, it becomes our life.
So I needed to make a change. I started outsourcing things in my business that no longer brought me joy. I'm paying small amounts of money for time back in my life. Hours upon hours that I get to crawl away from my computer screen. And you know what? You can't put a price tag on that.
Then, I decided that my part-time job was something I seriously dreaded. I loved the people that I worked with but I felt no passion for my work. I was turning away photo shoots to be sitting behind a desk and punching a clock. WHY? So I quit. I took back 20 hours of my week to pour back into my business that I am passionate about and also to start investing into myself.
I started making daily affirmations. Believing in myself. Actively choosing to set goals for each and every day. From less screen time, to more patience, to calling an old friend, to simply stopping and taking a deep breath.
The past few weeks, I've been giving myself two days off a week! Can you believe it? I sometimes snooze my alarm, and I close my office door nat night. I work out 4+ times a week. I journal. I have weekly lunch dates with my Mom. I visit my grandparents. I have date nights with my boyfriend. I decided to slow down, and choose joy over busy.
Photo: Mackenzie Lamoureux
I'm not saying it is easy, and I'm certainly not saying I'm perfect. I'm the biggest work in progress you have ever seen. But so many events in my life have reminded me that life is so freaking short. So what are we doing with our time? How are we making it matter? How are we enjoying the days, the weeks, so that our months and years are full of joy - not just "busy"?
So today, I want to invite you to reflect on your life. Are you glorifying busy? What's something in your life you could say no to in order to say yes to something that brings you joy - or just have more space to breathe?
Maybe it's cleaning your house? Hire a weekly housekeeper so that you can spend that time with your family, or reading a book in the sunshine, going for a walk, or not stressing about a mess. Maybe it's a toxic friendship that sucks all your energy? Maybe it's saying no to sleeping in so that you can find time to meditate or get a workout in before you start your day.
There are so many little things we can do to bring joy back into our lives. I hope as the season changes, you take a moment to reflect, grow, and choose joy today and every day.
Interested in purchasing a gratitude journal? Here is the one I use: