I’m not that busy. Really.

I get a fairly sizable pile of emails from lovely strangers, every week.

Strangers seeking advice, encouragement and reassurance.

Strangers requesting pro bono chunks of my brain, for bold and noble causes.

Strangers seeking promotional support, for their projects.

In other words: strangers with heartfelt requests for my time.

Virtually every single email begins with something like … this:

“I know you’re SO busy, but…”

“You’re such a busy, busy lady, and I’m hoping that…”

“I’m sure your life is just CRAZY-TOWN, and I really appreciate…”

Wait. Hold up, now.

There’s a deeeeeply rooted cultural assumption goin’ on, here. And it goes a little something like this:

If you’re “successful” — by the conventional standards of wealth, visibility and impact — then surely, you must be bleary-eyed and delirious with busy-ness. How else could you … y’know … achieve anything?

This whole notion? It’s a myth. And you can bet your britches that I’ve fallen under its spell, more than once.

I’ve found myself saying, “thanks, but I’m just too busy” when in reality I “just don’t want to.”

It feels easier and more compassionate to decline a request due to “unavoidable scheduling forces” than to actually tell the truth.

But it’s not. It just perpetuates the (unhealthy) myth. And I’ve decided it’s time to come clean.

So I’m here to say: I’m not that busy.

Yes, my days are lively and full. Yes, I “do” a lotta stuff. Yes, I have commitments and playdates scheduled waaaaay into the unseeable, untouchable future. Yes, I dance and prance around the Internet, writing and teaching and speaking as often as I can.

But, I’m not that busy. And with good reason.

Because when my girlfriend sends out a midnight distress call, I want the capacity to show up at her door the next morning, with her favorite hashbrowns and coffee for two.

Because when my mom decides to sweep into town for a spontaneous visit, I never want to tell her, “sorry, ma. I’m booked solid.”

Because when I feel the impulse to ditch my computer and spend a whole day wandering through bookshops and gardens and graveyards, I want that freedom.

Because when unplanned opportunities come a knockin’, I want the flexibility to say YES. Let’s start NOW.

Bottom line?

Busy-ness constricts my creativity. Space spins my heart open.

That’s why I’m not that busy. Really.