We’re busy doing nothing, working the whole day through, trying to find lots of things not to do.

This weekend a few things really slapped me in the face spoke to me. They were all about being busy.

This time last year, Matt and I, with the kids, were endeavouring to change our life.

Our life had been about achievement, work, and success. But, eventually, that focus became our undoing.

Matt was stressed and not very well, and I ended up diagnosed with post-natal depression (I actually now think that the pregnancy hormone craziness was just the straw that broke the camel’s back – post-natal depression is rarely just about the babies in my experience). We were strung out, exhausted, on our last legs.

Through a combination of gradual realisation, moments of epiphany, good literature, very good friends, anti-depressants, gardening, and (for me at least) a lot of slowing down and saying “no” to things, we started to find our way back to health.

Although it wasn’t really our way ‘back’ as we had to find a new land and a new way of living in it.

We were pioneers.


I don’t mean that no one had been that way before, but that we had to venture out of safe territory, where our meaning and worth was tied to success and expectations (sometimes other peoples’ but often our own unrealistic and unattainable expectations). We had to chart a new course.

It doesn’t sound very sexy, but we had to begin to reply to the question of ‘how did you change your life’, with the answer ‘by lowering our expectations’.

And that is kind of what we did. We didn’t expect perfection. We didn’t expect a failure-free existence. We stopped anticipating personal glory and being crowned with accolades (wow… how shallow does that make us sound? But really who hasn’t entertained a few success-fantasies…).

This year we have been recalibrating.

It is slightly depressing frustrating that being busy has crept up on us again, and that this weekend I was so confronted by this fact. Why isn’t it easy to hold on to the new way of living we have been attempting?


It turns out it isn’t just me and Matt who are hard-wired for achievement. Who search out opportunities to succeed.

It would seem most of the western world is. (Thank-you consumer capitalism).

If it isn’t about who we could be, the position we could hold, the title, the promotion, the badges and hats to wear…,then it is about what we can afford, what we earn – it is about stuff.

And it is so easy to get sucked back in.

You can’t just blaze a trail to a new land called health, set up home and forget about it… You have to keep trekking into it. Keep learning, keep checking coordinates to check you are still in a place of freedom.

Otherwise, like on a travelator at an airport, standing still means you end up back where you started.






(remember her….? I don’t want to go back there…)

I realised this weekend that in my head we had started to get very very busy.

Since Christmas new challenges have presented themselves, new opportunities.

Really good ones. And ones that we both think are right for our family, for us, now.

But now, and this is the important thing… How do we stop ourselves slipping back into the world of measurement?

We aren’t back where we started, but some ways of being from the before-life have started to re-emerge.

We have had evenings where one of us is too emotionally drained and stressed to talk about anything other than work. Where laptops have again become a fixture in the lounge. I have had to be vigilant about anxiety in a way I haven’t had to in a while. Comparison-prompted-dissatisfaction has reared its ugly head. Sleep has been disturbed.

There was an article in the Guardian on Saturday (In the “this column will change your life” column). It was about busyness. It stated:

‘Most time management advice rests on the unspoken assumption that it’s possible to win the game: to find a slot for everything that matters. But if the game’s designed to be unwinnable, you can permit yourself to stop trying”

In the World of Measurement the game is ‘unwinnable’.


I’m remembering to stop trying. There will always be more to do, more to get done. I could always have done it better, been a better friend, been better prepared, better read, have eaten more healthily, taken the kids to more life-shaping events, seen more of my friends, spent more ‘quality’ time with the people who matter, cooked more meals, taken more jobs, dressed better… I’m never going to win that game. It isn’t possible.

And also, its the wrong game. I want to play a different one

One based on health and living a life where I prioritise things according to what matters most to me and the people I love. I want to seek joy and know peace, to discover and share beauty… and to let the rest of it go.

For the dishes to remain un-washed. To know that if that email isn’t answered tonight, or even this weekend, nothing bad will happen. If I miss a social occasion, there will be another one. If I don’t blog for a few weeks, it’s not the end of the world…

To remember that the premise we are being sold is a lie, I have to be violent about the new truths. I have to repeat them. Remind myself. Practise them.

Brene Brown says it better than I ever could:

“If we want to live a Wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating rest and play, and we must work to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.”

Anyone with me?








  • Hannah
    Posted at 18:38h, 22 April Reply

    Yes, I’m with you !
    Even with an illness which makes being busy near impossible it’s still something I battle. Lowering expectations and keeping things simple are certainly the way forward aren’t they ?!

    • DJ Lukac
      Posted at 12:02h, 23 April Reply

      Love this!! Really agree with you. To turn life upside down to the standards we find surrounded by at every turn. Really hope we can find the space we need to be, to connect relationally and to dream! ps. I’m also a fan of Brene Brown — she has some amazing ideas!!

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