Every year as holidays end, a new school year starts and summer turns to autumn, I feel like something new is beginning – so much so that Ive always felt that September is the real New Year, rather than January.

And so, it’s in September rather than January that I make my ‘New Year’ resolutions. The slower pace of a summer holiday, if you’ve been lucky enough to have one, slows things down and gives time to think, and there are often things I want to change when life gets going again.

I wonder what your September New Year’s resolution might be this year. What is it that you want to take from the summer into this new season? What do you want to do differently? What do you need to stop?

My September 2023 resolution is to be less busy. Of course, there’s plenty that I need to do, and there will be times when I’ll need to work really hard to get through it, but I am determined not to let busy-ness be a normal way of life.

Because busy-ness has become a problem for many of us, and for society in general. We think being busy is a sign that we’re doing a good job, we constantly tell each other how busy we are, and we think that busy people are important.

Busy-ness isn’t a virtue

But busy-ness isn’t a virtue. Jesus described generosity, service, hope, and love as virtues, but he never said, ‘blessed are the busy’.

And to help me with my resolution, I’ve got a couple of simple habits that I’m going to try out. So, I won’t reply to the question ‘how are you?’ by saying that ‘I’m really busy’. And I’m going to take the staffed checkout at the supermarket rather than the electronic one, so there’s an excuse to slow down and have a chat. And I’ll keep a ‘don’t do list’ as well as a ‘to do list’ and sometimes, I’ll do nothing at all, because I’m not busy.

And often, it’s only when we stop rushing around that we start to pay attention to the things that matter – to the beauty that’s all around us, to the people who need a chat, to the needs of a world that’s so full of hardship.

So as the September new year starts, I invite you to join me in my September New Year resolution. Join me in slowing down and in noticing what’s going on in the world around. Join me in saying ‘I’m not busy’.