Tanya was blogging about how busy everyone seems to be nowadays. I felt like putting my two cents in on that subject.
Everyone in the United States complains about how busy they are nowadays. Some people are truly stretched too thin, especially in bad economic times, working two jobs, trying to keep their house in order. However too much of the time it seems to be middle-class whining. When you ask them what is taking up all their time, you find that it's arbitrary stuff they've committed to do, not responsibilities like jobs or special needs care for their families that they don't have control over. They're booked 24 hours a day because they want to be. It makes them feel important. It distracts them from pesky things like thinking. It makes raising their children easier because they shuttle them from activity to activity instead of dealing with them personally.
I know, that's a little harsh. But it is what I see all around me. People chauffeuring their kids from music lessons to ball practice to church functions to dance class to who knows what. I haven't seen anyone's kids who just go outside and play and amuse themselves in 20 years. I'm not sure they can anymore. It's just run run run from one place to another. So they learn that's how you live. And their parents become a 24 hour taxi service.
And speaking of parents, they're not any better. No one stays home. They run the highways every chance they get, going to the mall, going to the movies, to restaurants, clubs, concerts, classes, here, there and everywhere.
You want to know busy? I can tell you about busy. When I was a little kid, my mom was a whirling dervish of activity. They had one car and no public transporation in their little town, so she drove Dad to work, my brother to school, my grandmother to work, brought Dad home for lunch and took him back to work, picked up my brother from school, my Dad from work, my grandmother from work. All these things happened at different times, you see, so she was constantly zipping back and forth from home to somewhere. It was only a few miles from home to town, but all those trips added up. And on top of that she was taking care of me at home, and doing all the cooking, laundry, ironing, cleaning. No dishwasher, no permanent press, a clothes line to dry the laundry. She made all our clothes at home. They were constantly in the middle of a remodeling project on their old house. She bought antiques when they were still called junk to strip and refinish, to furnish the house.
I was a sickly little kid that caught every germ. I had allergy tests, doctor appointments and weekly shots.
And then my grandmother's cancer recurred, and Mom took care of her too, until she passed away, which encompassed taking her to doctors, and treatments, and hospital stays, and waiting on her at home because she was bedridden.
Now, THAT'S busy.
She scurried through life busier than a one-armed paperhanger, to use an old-fashioned expression. And her life wasn't that different from a lot of women then. None of this stuff was under her control. She couldn't say "I don't want to do that, I don't have time." It was just life, and you didn't have a choice. You coped with it. And people who lived out in the country added gardening and canning and taking care of farm animals to an already full day.
When I hear some people now whining about how busy they are, I have to laugh. Most of them have multiple cars, modern conveniences, and jobs that don't take 12 hours a day/6 days a week from their lives. They can save their complaints for some other audience. It's not going to impress me or get much sympathy.