How to be busy

Happy Smiley Face

[A bit of the text for this post somehow disappeared, I’m writing it again now]

I used to be allergic to being busy. I hated it. It made me want to hide under the covers and sleep all day. Usually I had school work, a job, and some errands to run. I didn’t have much of a social life and I was unhappy.

Now I am busy. Very busy. There’s something going on almost every night, I have a dissertation to work on, I have stuff to do for the various social groups I am involved in. And I’m loving it!

I am in the Reykjavik Queer Choir (which is fabulous), and I am in charge of organising fundraising sales. I am the secretary for Q, the Queer Student Organisation, and I have quite a few things to do there. I have also been elected onto the 10 person advisory board (I think it’s called in English) for Samtökin 78, the National Queer Organisation.

As previously mentioned I also have a dissertation to write. I have also been in touch with the Red Cross in Iceland about doing some research for them. Oh, and I’m looking for a job.

So yeah. Busy. But it’s awesome! I have a social life, I have friends I meet regularly, I have things to do. And I have figured out why this is working for me now.

  1. I am much happier today than I was just about 6 months ago. I have come out of the closet and I have begun living my life as who I am. I am more confident and I feel like my relationships with people are more honest and fulfilling.
  2. I LOVE WHAT I’M DOING! This is incredibly important. If you’re busy all the time with things you hate, you can’t possibly enjoy them. But if you’re really passionate about your work, and enjoying the heck out of it, then you’re less likely to be bothered by being busy.

Obviously it’s not quite this simple. For me it’s a combination of things: I am happier because I am less depressed. Because I am less depressed I have more energy and passion for what I do. I am less depressed because I am being true to myself. I am also less depressed because I’m doing things that I love.

According to the theory of cognitive behaviour therapy, being depressed is often like a very negative downward spiral. You are unhappy, you think unhappy thoughts, you react to these thoughts in a negative way, you become more unhappy, you think more unhappy thoughts, etc. What I am going through now is the opposite of this. It’s a very positive upwards spiral and it’s hard to pick out the one thing that made it happen. While coming out was clearly a catalyst for change in my life, it’s not the only thing that made my life what it is now. It’s a combination of good things. It makes it easier and easier to combat the negative thoughts, and to deal with the difficult stuff that inevitably comes along.

I’m starting to sound terribly sappy now, but it’s true. I’m happy because I’m doing good things, and I am doing good things because I’m happy.

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