Bumblebees, Carpenter Bees, Honeybees and Busy Bees

Summer brings thoughts of warm weather, relaxing and get-togethers. It also brings pests that we haven’t seen in months. No, not your relatives, I’m talking about the actual pests that take up residence in or near your home, swarm around your food and won’t leave you alone. Again, I’m not talking about relatives.

I’m talking about the six-legged, winged creatures that seemingly have no fun. They’re known for plugging away at the same, menial task for their whole lives. They’re even singled out when describing a person who is “busy as a bee.”

But the simile is incomplete. Ever see bees flying around in cooler or rainy weather? Me neither. That’s because they take those days off. Even those bees whose responsibility is to keep the nest cool by fanning their wings take routine breaks too.

I wonder if bees look at our lifestyles and refer to those overdoing it as “busy humans.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being productive. I once taught two university courses while completing a master’s degree, working a full-time job, freelancing and trying to be a good husband and father of two children (we now have four). But a hectic schedule does not necessarily produce happy people. My stress level and weight often rise in proportion to the increase
in tasks on my schedule.

I’m learning that I can’t do everything, and nothing I do will be perfect. So I’m trying to fill my time with important things. Sometimes, the best thing we can do at the moment is to take a break, nap or other type of respite to recharge our batteries. If we don’t stop swinging to sharpen our ax, it’ll be much more difficult to split wood.

My habits rub off on my children. I could share a photo of a scene from my house, but it would humiliate my children in a few years, so I’ll describe it instead. It was a Thursday afternoon in late May. My three girls (ages 6, 5, and 3) had a lemonade/cookie stand set up in the driveway. While waiting for customers, they were playing their musical instruments on the sidewalk. The oldest played her cello while the middle child held the sheet music. Oh, and they were doing this while in their swimsuits as the sprinklers were spraying. They had open umbrellas nearby too, just in case anyone — even perhaps a customer — wanted a respite from the water spray.

If asked, they would tell you that all of these activities were important. Together, yes. Simultaneously? Well, I’ll leave that up to my children, but it’s a question I must sometimes ask myself about my own activities. So why don’t we all try to re-evaluate our schedules, consider doing more of what is important and less of what is not important, value our time more and seek more balance in our lives. I’ve heard it’s the bee’s knees.