Has Halifax become a hub of global industry recently, and nobody told me? Is the Canadian Space Agency launching a rocket from downtown Halifax, perhaps based Scotia Square? From where does this busy-ness which seems to be afflicting everyone come from?

Gentle Reader, I have lived in three or four cities in my youthful life, Halifax being the smallest, and dare I say it? the most insignificant. That’s ok- I chose to move to Halifax, I didn’t want to live in some crazy big city with people rushing around all hours. I was seeking a gentler pace of life, a small city with enough bright lights, out of the rat race, as it were, but not too far. And yet, all the time, I am hearing how busy we are- far more than I ever heard people living in capitals claim. So busy. Especially in academia, but I understand it is the same in industries too; we are always, always busy. Indeed, one cannot admit to reading a novel, or going out occasionally, or even having children, for such comments will be always be greeted by hysterical screams of “Oh My God! How can you do that? You must be so busy! I find it difficult enough taking care of myself!” I kid you not, Gentle Reader- I mentioned I was a grad student to a kind-hearted inquirer only a few days ago, to hear “And you have time to go to student council meetings? How can you do that?”  I do believe this person didn’t even know I had children.

It is nonsense, of course. We Haligonians are not so busy as that, rushing up and down Robie and Quinpool (2 minutes when there’s no traffic, 15 in rush hour), commuting across the bridges to Dartmouth and back (8 minutes no traffic, maximum 22 minutes in ordinary bad traffic) going out even further to wild places like, like, Fairview? Sackville? But we claim busyness to protect our precious selves, lest we be asked to do something, or go somewhere, or say something.  I have noticed, please correct me if you think I am wrong, Gentle Reader, people usually have time to do what they want to do. And of course, let us not forget the balance of power- did you ever tell your professor, or your boss, if asked to do something, how you would have loved to, but you’re really so busy these days? But yes, let’s do it some other time? No, I didn’t think so.

So. The next time we open our mouths to complain about how busy we are, let’s take a moment to reflect on where and who we are. Then let’s say “You know what?  You can’t make me do anything I don’t want to! So there!” See? Stop telling everyone how busy you are- you’ll end up believing it yourself.



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