OPINION — Beyond busy: Living a life of intention

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A decade ago after being smacked upside the head with my own mortality when I suffered my second coronary “event” I made many changes in my life. Recognizing that we’re not guaranteed a certain number of years and that stress was my enemy, I became much more intentional in how I lived each day and with whom I spent time. Seeking and seeing joy and experiencing and expressing gratitude.

When people comment how busy I am now, I reply that I’m not busy, but my life is certainly filled with people and activities that make me happy. Where do you get the energy to do so much, people ask ... it’s all smoke and mirrors, I say, and extol the benefits of finding an hour in the day to nap or tune out and read — quiet time.

Stress is the enemy for someone with coronary disease and I treat it as such. Fast-forward to 2018 and I’ve found myself busy ... real old fashioned, pre-heart attack busy. So busy I only jumped in the lake twice and not once did I float the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. There were far fewer quiet summer evenings on the patio with my husband or even dips in the backyard pool.

Vowing to take back control of my busy-ness I asked friends if they considered themselves busy and if they viewed that as a positive or negative. My longtime friend Pam Houser was a good place to start. Since the early ’90s her car has sported the personalized license plate, 1BSYLDY — a gift from her husband when she was in her 30s with three kids in school, activities, running her own business and a household. So I asked her if she’s still as busy as she was when she received the license plate over two decades ago.

“Now I’m more productive, I manage my busy,” said Pam. “I’m still busy but in a different way. I choose to be engaged and live life but I’ve become better at walking away for down time from chaos to recharge.”

Of the 50-plus friends who responded to my inquiry the majority describe themselves as living busy lives. Jill Satterly offered a good reminder: “Being ‘busy’ and actually getting things accomplished are different. I think I’m ‘busy’ a lot more often than I’m actually getting stuff done.”

I got tired just reading the lists of family, work, school and volunteering that so many people squeeze into their days. Many of these people are the helping hands behind local nonprofit organizations and events, the people who make possible the things that other people think just happen. Singles, young parents, parents with children in high school or college, parents planning weddings, or going back to school for advanced degrees themselves. And retirees who don’t see life or grandparenting as a spectator sport.

My friend Jeannie Peugh, a great-grandmother and long retired from the newspaper business said, “Sometimes I think I am busier now than when I was working but it’s a very satisfying feeling.”

Wife and mother of three young boys, Molly Motola said she’s making the effort to push anything out of her schedule that’s not vital, but admits to being a work in progress. “People need time for reflection and growth. Very little true growth comes when you’re so busy you can’t even notice what’s around you.” Smart woman.

I love my pal Mary Larson who said she doesn’t consider herself busy but others do. “ I say I’m not busy because I know I have downtime ... I just don’t always post that.” Smoke and mirrors, Mary.

Edie LaBelle is right on the money. “I prefer to say I have a very full life. Family, fun, friends, and work that doesn’t feel like work.”

So for the remainder of 2018, I’m going to make a concerted effort not to have a life that’s like a washing machine with the load out of balance. Refocus and find the joy and the passion for this wonderful life that’s been given me.

•••

Things to Do Highlights:

Tonight, 7 p.m. God Help Us! starring Ed Asner at Schuler Performing Arts Center to benefit Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre. www.cdasummertheatre.com

Also the Wednesday Downtown Farmers Market in Coeur d’Alene, 4-7 p.m. on Fifth and Sherman.

Saturday: RAGS — Rotary Annual Garage Sale hosted by Post Falls Rotary, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Post Falls City Hall parking lot. Proceeds benefit the Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation, Post Falls Senior Center and St. Vincent De Paul.

Saturday: 8th Annual Anna Schindler Memorial Golf Tournament at the Links in Post Falls, 1-9 p.m. www.annaschindlerfoundation.org

12th Annual Boys and Girls Club “A Night in Black and White,” Coeur d’Alene Resort, 5:30 p.m.

North Idaho Building Contractors Association (NIBCA) Parade of Homes opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday. www.nibca.com

•••

Happy birthday today to Rose Backs, Nelson Gourley, Tiegan Horton, Nancy Adam, Walter Cole, Norman Oss and Polly Gava. Tomorrow Mike Pearce, Joy Seward, Janell Mollett, Kelly Sheffield (50!), Chris Mann, Ryan Bartlett, Thomas Vigil, Mary Langenberg, Stormy Purcell, Ray Harwood, Lori Turchik, Laura Fierro, JulieAnn Sparrowgrove, Cher Rhoads, Nicole Hamilton, Gina Davis and Debbie Margraff take another trip around the sun. On Friday Leslie Orth, Connie Glass, Tammy Rubino (60!), Diane Lemas, Wayne Dust and Anna DeTar put on their party hats. Marking birthdays on Saturday are Claudia Brennan, Brad Medlock, Jerry Deitz, Jean Wright, Shannon Englander, Kathie Colosimo, Angie Purcell, Liese Razzeto and Nick McDonald. On Sunday Jeff Thompson, Courtney Hurt, James Hoialman, Charollett Morehouse and Terrie Lynn Gonzales blow out the birthday candles. Steve Widmyer, Jeff Crandall, Harmony Conley, Connie Evans, Russ Giles, Mary Riffe and Lynda Wright start off the week with birthdays. Birthday shout out to Brad Peugh, Ellen Delavan, Jaimee Cox, Eric Benjamin, John Holm, Jennifer Schroeder and Debra Smart on Tuesday.

•••

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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