The Great Hustle

I can feel a cool breeze from the open door. The leaves outside are rustling as the wind works its way through the small patio garden. A plane drones overhead. I’m enjoying a simple kind of day. A productive introverts dream, getting jobs done, empty house, catching up. I sip on Earl Grey tea between jobs, enjoying the homely taste after months without English tea. 

I have set my heart upon a year of productivity, learning and growing in this new season I find myself in. After a year of travelling the world, I have landed in London with my husband, living in the attic of my grandmothers home. We are here for a year as we prepare to church plant in the north with my sister and her family. I am keen to squeeze everything I can out of this time. I have lists and plans and workbooks full of my ambitions and hopes for this year of life in the capital. I landed home on English soil full to the brim of dreams and ideas and plans. Ways I am changed, and ways I want to see more change. 

I catch myself though, feeling the hustle. Do you know that feeling? Hustle means quite literally : To push roughly, jostle, a state of great activity. I don’t like the feeling of hustle. It makes me want to catch up with something, like i’m running in a race I never signed up for. It makes me jostle my way through, happy to push someone else aside. I find it creeping over me in moments of productivity, threatening to overtake the calm of order that I usually love and replacing it with an urgent need to do more, see more, be more. That was not how I was created. 

I catch myself feeling the hustle when I see someone else succeeding, the feeling that I too should be doing that, overtakes my joy for them. I noticed it profoundly three months ago. I was lazing in the garden on a sunny and warm day in Auckland, New Zealand. We had just ended a glorious three week camping trip around the island, I was feeling rested and refreshed until I saw (via Instagram) that two of my good friends had both launched businesses. Instead of feeling joy and pride in them, I felt a sudden sense of dissatisfaction in my own life and a burst of impatience with myself for not doing enough. 

The world at our fingertips, everything at a swipe or a scroll of our thumbs can harden our hearts and bring that comparison and jostle even closer. In the middle of this sunny, June day in London, I am distracted by what I see on Instagram. I am distracted and then dissatisfied. Instead of sitting amongst the flowers on the patio reading a good book I have sat in the cool of the house and grazed the internet. Not even experiencing the sun I so often crave when it is right there for me to enjoy. When I reflect on that I am startled. Startled that our choices (or maybe just mine) so often feed into the pain in our hearts.

I am learning to live in the lane I am purposed for. You, and I have been given this one life. We have one lane to run in and that is ours. We were not made, for the hustle. I do not believe that I was made to push, to jostle, to busy myself with great activity for the sake of making myself feel known. When I already am. My story, and yours, matters. 

You live your life - and I will live mine. Mine may look a little slower, I may not open businesses or make art or maybe I will. I may have children, and my marriage may and likely will look very different from yours. I may own a house or maybe i’ll rent one, or maybe like right now I will live in an attic with all my belongings boxed away.

My budget might be tight or I might have more than enough, I might spend my time travelling or maybe I will just curl up with a book and that Earl Grey tea right here. 

Your life will not look like mine and mine will not look like yours and that is gloriously good. There’s time to take things slow and to remind ourselves that that is ok. 

I do not want to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of my own dreams and ambitions and not have time to celebrate yours. I don’t want to be so busy doing, and planning, and ticking those things off that I am not even aware that purposeful and simple living is actually slow, and requires me to stop and really see. To see and experience people, and pain, and grass on bare feet and art, and great food and laughter and tears. 

I have become in recent months, passionate about living with meaning and purpose. To fully engage and enjoy this life we have, whether it be wild or quiet or mundane or challenging. To touch and taste and see things and see the purpose in them. To see the creator in all of the beautiful chaos. 

So, this year, I am changing my priorities a little. Sure I will still try and get to the courses and learn the skills I want to learn, but really, I will take it slow. I will invest in people, and relationships. I will live simply with what I have. I will try, to celebrate your success and mourn in your loss. I will not compare or jostle or compete. I will build my life, run in my lane and I will find simple joy in that.  

Bethany WalkerComment