Ask anyone in Edmonton, likely Alberta, how they’re doing and you’re likely to get one answer: busy. It’s what everyone says. Try it. And it’s very likely that it’s true: Alberta is booming and many people are extremely busy. There was a bit of backlash against that answer last year when the who’s who of the entrepreneurial scene started to question whether people were _really _busy or if that had just become the pat answer that everyone expected to hear. “You’re not busy? Well you must be doing something wrong.” It was a thought provoking question…is it ok to not be busy?
I wondered that for myself since have a long standing disdain for “bum in chair” accountability. That is, a measure of success or productivity based solely on how long you’ve been at your desk. I firmly believe that we should be measured on what we deliver, on the change we effect rather than how long it took to achieve that or whether your chair was held in place for a full 8 hours. Based on that metric, I was a pretty big supporter of the “Stop being busy” movement. That said, I didn’t slow down much, so was I putting my money where my mouth is? I mean I work fewer hours and fewer evenings than I have in years. I take weekly technology shabbats to get away from the bustle. But I’ve taken up working on cars and building things for my children and I train…a lot. I feel like I’ve gotten out of the rat race, but am I less busy? Should I be?
Tonight I learned the value of busy. Not busy work, mind you, but busy. I have a huge number of interests, hobbies, businesses and commitments. I have a laundry list of topics that I want to spend more time researching, learning and doing. These, in my mind, are all things that keep me busy. If you don’t have those things, apparently, you go to bingo. Sit in a bingo hall for 5 hours and you will immediately see what happens to the mind when you’re not busy. You see what happens when a person doesn’t have the drive to constantly grow. You see what happens to a huge percentage of the income of those I can only assume are on a subsistence wage. If at any point someone questions why I am so busy, from this point forward, I will have a one word response: bingo.
Today I thank all that is holy that I have the capacity and drive to be busy. I am unendingly grateful that I have sufficient wealth that I can afford bingo and that I have absolutely no desire to play. I am thrilled that my children are active and involved and keep me on my toes. And if you play bingo, I’m sorry if it upsets you that I have not painted your hobby in a particularly favourable light, but I can honestly think of about a hundred things to do tomorrow that would be better for all of us. Just ask, I’d be more than happy to show you.