Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Busy busy busy

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.

10 comments:

Kathy Wagner said...

I hear ya! And I agree! I often say how busy I am, but it's all good and I'm not complaining, since it's all self imposed and totally of my own making.
I admire those women in my famiy history who did not have the choices I do and were truly "busy" working their fingers to the bone.
Thanks for the interesting post!

Betty J in OKC said...

Here! Here! I echo your opinions. It would change the world if folks deliberately STOPPED running around and overscheduling themselves and their families. Just think of the relationships that would develop them.

Kathryn said...

I think this is a very interesting and thought provoking post. I've recently stepped back from full time work and am taking more time for the house, my husband, our dogs and the other things I do, such as crafting and quilting. It's deeply rewarding, and we're both very happy with it. But it's surprising how many people seem shocked and also can't believe I'm not bored, or that I should be out and scheduled to the hilt. No thanks, I've had twenty years of that. Well done for focusing on the importance of being, not doing. And a very Happy Thanksgiving too by the way! Hope your next year is full of blessings. Kathryn

Suzan said...

Mercy! Here I was feeling guilty that I didn't do enough. No more! My sister runs around like a chicken with her head cut off so busy that she hardly sleeps because she feels compelled to answer EVERY demand of her large family. I am busy when the need arises, however, most of the time I do whatever the spirit moves me to do. Maybe that is one of the few benefits of being an old lady!

Good post...

Dresden Plate said...

I think retirement reminds one of what 'busy' once was, though even now i find it difficult to fit in enough time for all the sewing I want to do.

Greenmare said...

I agree, I get cranky when people complain about being too busy when it's stuff that they choose to do. Doesn't count!! When my sweet mother in law says how busy I am, I disagree with her, everyone is busy these days. Some days I truly am busy with extra work hours, and some days I just have a lot I want to do. I posted about the quilt! Not too busy to do that!!

Tanya said...

Sometimes it is all the modern conveniences that seem to be taking up our time. The TV "has to" be watched. The cell phone "has to" be answered. The computer "has to" be attended to. Sometimes modern isn't really the best. And then get me on my pedestal to talk about how everyone is too busy to be committed to anything.

jacquie said...

i agree with you about overscheduling...especially kids. i was busy playing with mine, making cookies, singing, playing games...now that's my kind of busy. mine were allowed one activity at a time...no multiple sports or lessons. it worked for us. i love to be busy (maybe it's more like productive)...all those chores, painting, redecorating, gardening, taking care of my family. all of my own making.

Joan said...

One of my favorite quotes: "Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." — H. Jackson Brown

It makes me sad that we live in a time when there is such a thing as frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!!

julieQ said...

We did not know the difference back in the past. We used a rub board and the clothes line to wash clothe, and ironed everything! But today...I am too busy! Hee! Just kidding, we are so blessed, I find with all our modern conveniences. This was an intriguing post, thank you!