I live near a busy street. I probably wouldn’t have purchased a home so close to such a street had I realized it was so noisy. I have gotten used to most of the noise, though, as one does when living near a busy street. I notice a lot of the same cars on the road often at the same points in time, probably people going and coming from work to their homes. Then there are the loud trucks and semi’s that blast past, and the loudest by far are the motorcycles. One thing I have noticed for sure is people are almost always in a big hurry.
Our society is held together by the clock, have you ever noticed? When we were children we attended school roughly from eight in the morning until somewhere around three in the afternoon. We went to piano or dance or sports after school and added more things to our schedules. Then it was home for supper and bath and bed. As adults, most adults anyway, go to a job for at least eight hours each day and then home to supper, television, chores, and bed. For stay-at-home Moms or Dads, the whole day is usually scheduled around the needs of our children. Feeding schedules, potty training schedules, eating schedules, napping schedules, drop off and pick up children schedules, make dinner, do dishes and laundry schedules, and trips to the grocery store schedules.
Lives are busy and time seems to always be short in supply. I have some friends who thrive in such a busy schedule. They seem to get more accomplished the busier they feel and they love the thrill of getting projects they may be currently working on completed before they are interrupted by another list of projects. They are rather amusing to watch, or perhaps dizzying to watch. Still, though, I am always impressed by their ability to cope with the chaos that seems to surround them at all times.
Some of my other friends seem to shut down with overload if they have an interruption of some type thrust upon them during a project. They can’t function in a chaotic environment; rather they need a more steady flow of things happening than a deluge all at once. It isn’t that their lives are any less busy but the approach they take seems to demand more organization while focusing on one thing at a time rather than ten things all at once.
I ask the question again, why are we in such a hurry? Do we actually have an agenda or are we just filling time in our lives? Are we running away from something or toward something? Are we making ourselves more busy than necessary? Is making our lives so busy filled with stuff to do that we don’t have to face the reality of who we are or why we’re here? Sometimes I wonder.
I think that you are best qualified to answer these questions. I can only speak of my own experiences and what I have observed in my life. I am not a person that thrives in a chaotic world. I bet you aren’t all that surprised to hear this. I like it quiet, and orderly, without clutter, and everything having a place to be. I like time to reflect and dream and ponder. Perhaps when I was young and in college I liked to keep so busy that I had no time to think, but that was years ago. I have changed. Maybe this is part of aging, or part of growing up or perhaps due to life’s circumstances, I don’t know. But today, in this moment of my life, I like calm and reflection and peace. I think there are basically three reasons for being busy; building a life, running away from life, and living vicariously through the lives of others. Let me explain what I mean.
First and foremost people need to have a life. Preparations are made for an education and working at a job so that one doesn’t starve or be homeless. It can be a very busy time in a person’s life when building their life. Often they are hard at work for low pay, which may mean taking on another part-time job, which makes them even busier. Also they may be dating and hoping to find that person who will love and cherish them as much as they will love and cherish some special person. Dating is like a full-time job too. Or perhaps they have already found that person and they are busy creating and sustaining a family. Many years of busyness lay ahead for young families and it is all part of building a life.
Secondly there are some people who are busy running away from their life. Perhaps they don’t like their life or they feel trapped in their life. Maybe the family life they dreamed about having one day has turned into to a disappointment for them so they run. Or maybe they have issues like drugs, alcohol, or sexual addictions that they have become enslaved to which keep them on the run. Maybe they are scared of their life as it is, so they try to escape by keeping busy. Most of these people probably don’t like their life and keeping busy helps them to not think about their own unhappiness.
The final reason I think people are so busy is they are trying to live life through their children. Maybe they felt neglected by parents as a child so they want a better life for their children. They fill their schedules with dance lessons, karate lessons, music lessons, swimming lessons, cooking lessons, track, football, soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball…..on and on it goes. And they basically live life through the successes or failures of their children. Think about the cheer leading Mom who was brought up on charges of murder a few years ago, she had someone murder her daughter’s rival on the cheer leading squad. Many parents may not go to the extreme of murder, but there is certainly something to be said for parents who get too involved in their children’s lives.
So what kind of person am I? I am all three rolled into one. I am guilty of all of these types described. I have spent years building my life and then spent years running away from my life…or in my case I think it more accurate to say hiding away from life rather than running away. And I have lived my life vicariously through my spouse and children’s lives. I think this is why I recognize the traits described.
Today, I am back into the building of my life, or in my case it is rebuilding my life. I am trying to be more cautious this time. I take time to stop and reflect, to listen to others rather than close them out, to enjoy doing nothing. I remember my Mom saying that she felt sorry for children in this age because they didn’t have much time to do nothing. It is in doing nothing that ideas are born. Looking at clouds and relaxing, playing with a kitten, or lying on the bed and drifting into imagination…this is what we need more of. This is what I am trying to remember to do, take time in rebuilding my own life and helping my son to build his. Take time to think, to play, to dream, and to enjoy a stress-free-not-in-a-hurry life. So where do you see yourself right now?
Until next time…..Katherine