I always had to be busy. Take the dog out in the morning, run to the store, cook breakfast, work, chug a cup of coffee to wake me up, do more work, go to a meeting, do more work again, eat dinner, see friends, go to bed, and wake up and do it all over again. I thought being busy would save myself – save my relationship.
My friends nicknamed me the energizer bunny. At the time, I took it as a compliment. Oh, I’m so full of life and everyone sees it. No, everyone sees someone who looks like they have a cocaine addiction.
I thought my need to be busy was natural. I thought running around all day and crashing at night was normal. And for most of us, it is. This is the world we live in. This is how we define success in the modern world.
However, the busier I became, the less happy I was. When I met my partner Nate, I was basically dying over how slow he was at doing things. Even how he explained ideas or opinions. I just wanted to press forward on the remote control. But there was nothing slow about him. He was present. While I couldn’t sync my mouth and brain, his words were thought out, they released from his mouth with purpose and presence.
And I tried for years to slow down – I couldn’t do it. I didn’t know how. Then me and Nate ended up sick with Covid-19. For the first time, I couldn’t push my body to do more, it wouldn’t let me. For three weeks I sat on the couch, melting away into the cushions. I was weak. But through the weakness, I surrendered myself. Be weak, it’s okay. Just let go.
And I did. For the first time in my life, I took a deep breath. I stopped. I reflected. I turned to Nate and said, “wow, so this is what it feels like.” The anxious heat around my head evaporated and I could see and feel clearly.
I know you’re busy. We’re all really busy, but you don’t want your life to pass you by. You want to slow down life and enjoy it.
Now, the key isn’t to get to the point where you need to get sick to learn that you need to slow down. You want to slow down to prevent that from happening. So how do you do it? How do you learn to slow down to save yourself and save your relationship?
#1 Say no
Before getting sick, I could never say no. After getting sick, it’s all I would say. I fell in love with doing nothing. I fell in love with spending my time outside of work, doing things I wanted to do.
You don’t need to please everyone, but you need to please yourself. Start saying no to things that don’t bring you joy. Will you probably do things you won’t necessarily want to? Of course, we can’t only do things we want to do. But you can start to be more selective on how you wish to spend your time.
#2 Figure out your priorities
How do you want your life to look like? Do you want to spend your time with your children? Family? Having sex? With your friends? What are the things in your life that are important to you?
To un-busy your life, you need to focus on the things that matter to you. By doing so, you won’t waste your time on mindless things like social media or work. Write these priorities down and think about how you’re going to invest more time on them. When I wanted to save my relationship, I took a step back and figured out what I actually wanted.
#3 Start right now
Oh yeah, right now. Not tomorrow, not next week – right now. Your time is precious and it’s ticking. Not to scare you, but, like everyone else on earth, you will die. You want to save yourself? Save your relationship? Then it’s time to do it.
And when you do, is your last thought going to be, I should have spent more time with my family/partner? Or will it be I’m so happy I spent time with my family/partner? You have the choice to decide between these two answers. And if you choose the latter, you’ll save yourself from living an unfulfilled life.
In relationship writing, we talk a lot about how to improve relationships, but to do that, you need to improve yourself. Learning how to relax, save my relationship and it will save your relationship as well.