I have an addiction that I’ve dealt with for years. I’ve fostered it, denied it, admitted it, thought I’d moved past it, only to sink right back into it again. It’s affected my marriage, my family and several friendships, not to mention my own well-being. It’s a quiet addiction; many people face it and don’t even realize it, or are still in denial. But I’ve passed that point. After weeks of being too dizzy to see straight, being nauseous, horrible to deal with, and not knowing whether I was coming or going, I’ve decided to face this thing, head on.
Hi. My name is LaKeisha, and I’m addicted to being busy.
I’m seeing your blank stare right now. Being busy? Is that all? Big deal. After all, who isn’t busy these days? Multi-tasking is now an art form. For some people, it’s a badge of honor to see who is the busiest, almost a game of one-upmanship. “You think you’re busy? You wouldn’t believe my schedule,” they say.
I used to be that person. I loved that people always thought I was “on my grind”, always “about the hustle”, making things happen, making moves, making strides. I was that go-to person when you wanted something done. And I was busy doing it. It felt great.
After having my first son, I continued in my get’er done lifestyle, while also seeking opportunities for him. Now this is where it gets really interesting. I started to realize that I had a problem with always wanting to be busy, and was missing out on valuable time with my little boy. So I started turning down film and TV production projects. Started focusing more on him. Started slowing down. Briefly. Ever so briefly.
Why? Because I started getting him involved in projects, in events, pursuing interests. You like to spell? I’ll find every spelling bee out there. You want to help people? Let’s do it, larger than life. Basketball, soccer, guitar? Sounds great, let’s go for all of them. Oh, and entering other academic competitions? No sweat, I’m on it. Researched, found, entered.
And I was the volunteer queen. Room mom at school, check. Helping out at church. Check. Neighborhood board member. Check.
Now in and of themselves, there is nothing wrong with any of these things. In fact, it should be a parent’s heart to want to help their child develop all of the talents and gifts God has given to him. And if you know anything about me, I go hard for my kids. For my hubby. Real hard. Anything they aspire to do or want to be, I throw my all into making it happen.
The issue became when I couldn’t find myself anymore, because I was so deep in being busy helping everyone else. And that, coupled with my own pursuits, had taken me to a place where I no longer wanted to be. I didn’t find enjoyment in anything I was doing. I just wanted to finish each thing, so I could be on to the next. I always had my to-do list in mind. If I had a spare inch of breathing room, time to reflect, actually enjoy my children, or rest, I was filling the time.
I heard my body. You’re breaking. You’re doing too much, slow down, you’re getting sick, get some rest. And I did. Long enough to get well. A quick break to recover. Then back to over-committing, suffocating, drowning, in a sea of to-do lists, and crossed out items; many of which I can’t even remember.
It was a maddening, frenetic way to live. And I wanted no more of it. I’d had enough.
Stay tuned for how I am finally making steps to overcome my addiction.