I've recently made a conscientious effort to erase the B-word from my vocabulary and everyday conversations. No, it's not bitch, bastard or bloody idiot...it's "busy".
This all happened after, upon my mother's wishes, I went to church this April. Granted, I'm Christian on her side, Hindu from my father's, I grew up in a Muslim country, and when I met and was blessed by the Dalai Lama, I contemplated Buddhism. Anyway, we grew up in Oman going to both the church and the temple, and it's important to note that it's rare for an Arab country to have public places on worship beyond the numerous mosques that tower gracefully in each postal code. Anyway, I went to the Easter service at West End Collegiate on the Upper West Side in NYC, a considerably liberal Protestant parish. Michael Bos was the pastor there and he had been a friend of my family since his time in Oman.
Michael's message focused on the "Burden of Busy", how we hide behind our smart phones, typing madly as we cross the street, how we have lost the art of conversing in person as we time our sentences. And it got me pretty freaked out. I then realized that whenever anyone asked me how I was doing, I would say, "Good... Busy!" At that time, I had just accepted a full time offer at a media company, and was in the midst of finishing four feature films that were in various stages of post production, while consulting on other feature narratives and documentaries that were going into development or production, teaching, marathon training, and of course managing a pretty active social life that littered my Instagram. Things didn't seem like they would get any quieter.
I also longed for a holiday, since, instead of a two-week break after leaving MTV and joining the new gig, I actually overlapped the two full time positions as I finished off, and my usual Christmas spent in Oman had been forgone as I produced a film in Yosemite. I had seen my parents for a measly two days in October '13 as I went home to get my O-visa, my "alien of extraordinary ability" visa. Granted, I speak to them quite regularly, and my brother as well, and we are goings on a family vacation to Japan this week, so the wait will indeed be worth it.
Anyway, since early April, I decided to erase the B word from my life. I put my iPhone away during meals or drinks, (and the good thing about having a crappy battery, is that mealtime is usually when I need to charge my phone), I walk down the street listening to music and not responding to emails - if that has to happen, then I stop on the side of the road, I've been able to become more efficient at work and have carved out more time for myself and for my friends, and also for dating. Removing the B-word has, in a strangely simple way, lifted a self-inflicted weight off my shoulders.
Sure, I have a lot going on, but honestly, I should be worried if there wasn't! One of my dear friends Shivani recently stated, "You're the most accessible and available busy person I know!" And I take that as a great compliment. I will honestly note that I'm very far from perfect, when it comes to balance, and I'm quite aware of my shortcomings, which I'm trying to work on, but for now, I do feel lighter, more energized and more inspired than ever before... And that's because I removed a word that had become a definitive response to "How are you?" Now I just say, "Doing great, thanks!" And you know what? I really am.