Monday, February 26, 2007

Too busy?

I wasn't quite sure what I would write about tonight and something triggered me.

One of my favorite bloggers had a post on his site, telling that a new format may be initiated because people are busy and the new format would allow them to scan a summary, get a thumbnail of the content and move on to the next.

I'm not picking on anyone here but I did leave him a slightly disagreeable comment because, honestly, the whole idea made me kind of sad. It felt like someone had sneezed on me, spraying their germs hither and yon. It was a micro view of a macro issue.

Communication is important in all its venues. It is how we sustain each other. It is what makes us human instead of a bunch of androids. It is how we form community. It is how we get to know each other, make friends, share wisdom, support each other and generally participate in the human experience.

Now I know that my blogger friend was not trying to be offensive. It is not even in his nature. If anything, he is trying very hard to be considerate of other people and provide a way to keep up with his adventures and not have to miss out because of a crowded schedule or other concerns. Yet there is a part of me that stamps my foot and says "I don't want the f***ing Cliff Notes!"

I do remember what that life was like. Truly. While I've been out of the over-scheduled, over-stressed life since June of 2005, I make a conscious effort to remain aware of how many others must live. After all, it did drive me literally insane. My sympathy is completely there for those who still live it.

Even back in those days, I knew there needed to be a refuge from it, some part of life that was unaffected by the need for efficiency or conservation of time, a part of life untouched by market values. We all need a soft place where we can escape the mentality that everything has a price attached to it, even our recreational blog-reading or -writing. We need to breathe. We need to reflect. We need to relate to each other. We need to be present and available.

Of late, "I'm too busy" has become an excuse to avoid common social obligations. It has become an excuse to cease being a human being. It's an excuse for rudeness, for indifference and for not doing what most of us often know is the right thing to do. It is a way to escape from the gnarly and occasionally demanding world of friendship and relationships. Real people are messy and complex. And this avoidance has become socially acceptable. Have your people call my people. Maybe we can do lunch.

Bullroar! Blecht!

It is my hope that we can all remain mindful of our real purpose here on this plane of existence .. and what makes our lives worth living when all the rest is stripped away. This statement of course does not apply to blogging. I am talking about every facet of our lives. Do we really give of ourselves or are we content to offer Cliff Notes? Are we really happy with getting Cliff Notes? Does it seem something is missing? When all is said and done, I don't think any of us will be on our deathbeds, regretting that we weren't more efficient.

What say you? This is a landmine for me ~ so feel free to give me a different perspective or agree with me ~ whichever seems appropriate. :)




ellie bee said...

Living the cliff notes of life--that is so true of our world today. I call it the Mcsociety. We have Mcjobs, Mcchurch, Mcgyms, Mckids, Mcfriends, Mclives--everything conveniently packaged in small little shallow boxes--but how else woudl me manage all that we are compelled to do?

I am especially guilty, yet try hard to be mindful of this very problem. It requires such an effort for me to slow down and just sit. Tonight I had the pleasure of just sitting at Starbucks with Liv--now, believe it or not, I have just recently gotten comfortable with "wasting time" like that--that time is a gift I give my self. I am a person who juggles 8-10 balls at a time and I am finally learning to let a few go.
Great, thoughtful post...your wisdom inspires me daily...

Lucia said...

I am guilty of using "busyness" as an excuse for rudeness. I might not return a phone call or an email message because "I'm too busy. So sorry." But really, I could, and I should, and for whatever reason this has become an acceptable excuse in our society for not interacting with others.

KC said...

JP and I have never been so busy. Nearly overwhelmingly so. I know, in part, this is temporary for me- my graduate class will come to an end in June-but I do wonder whether something else will take over that space.

More than me, JP has a strong drive to achieve, to be very productive in his field, yet also wanting to commit to family and personal lives, this is the result.

Despite this, this year has been unbelieveably productive and satisfying for me. I wonder whether all of my activities I have engaged in have made me a more creative person.

It's finding that balance- of what is important to each individual person is important. We need to build in rest and reflection and relating with others. When I do any of these now, it is all the more wonderful.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not that they don't have enough time, it's that their priorities are seriously out of whack.

People always have time for the things that are important to them.

Pam said...

I'm in total agreement on this one and the "I'm too busy syndrom" has been on my mind of late. I hear it too much from people who I know care and have good intentions. They mean well but many dissapoint. And this isn't just about me, it reflects on them all. They miss each other just as much.

The problem is that time with each other missed is time that cannot be made up. And we all suffer as priorities get shuffled in the interest of "too much to do."

Cliff notes don't work because the true meaning of each communicaion is altered. Can you immagine "Atlas Shrugged" or "War and Peace" as McBooks? (To quote Ellie Bee.)

There is nothing worse than looking back and being sorry.

Anonymous said...

Even though I use an RSS reader, I usually click through to the blogs right away. I have noticed that some bloggers are set up so you can read the whole post and others just a couple of lines. I was thinking of that as more of a "teaser" to ensure people will click through and up the stats than a time saver.

I don't initiate contact with friends when I'm feeling too busy. If they call me, I'm generally willing to participate. In fact, last night I went out with a group of women I didn't know, and it was not only fun, it energized me!

Citymouse said...

i am busy and then again I am not. I was thinking about all the obligations I have and what isnt getting done. I know once my children are in High School, I will stop doing at the chuch as much, because they will need me at their events... or rather I will need to be there. If i dont have time to read a blog, i dont read it. but sometimes i dont have time and read it anyway.

personal relationships are hard to build and harder to keep. being busy is a good way to avoid being hurt

jen said...

i agree. i think that the more we make things convenient or easy, the more we strip away the soul and sanitize the parts.

technology makes so many things faster and easier, under the guise of faster and easier...but it's not always or often good.

i really believe this. it scares me.

Caro said...

My step dad passed away recently. He was 85 and still quite healthy. He surprised us all by dying very suddenly. I have been a stay-at-home-mom for 14 years now. Having struggled with mental illness for more than half of my 38 years; I have found that the pace at wich most people live their lives is ill-suited to my brain chemistry. It's a bittersweet life. But I am trying to find peace within myself. At the funeral home, I actually felt grateful for having this disease because it brought me closer to my stepdad. I got to see him several times a week. I got to hear all of his stories. And I have no regrets. None of those "Man, I should have taken the time to do this or that with him..." His passing has left a gigantic void but I have the memories to help fill it up. Eden Kennedy over at Fussy once wrote : 90% of life is just showing up. Being there. A novel idea in this day and age don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Too busy? an excuse for negligence and laziness, and a stupid evaluation of what is important vs urgent

meno said...

I guess i too find myself taken aback by the idea of a synopsis of a blog post. If it's worth reading, then all of it is worth reading. If it's not, then i won't read it.

I am lucky though, i have been able to arrange my life so that i am not busy. Most people do not have that option. So i think i have to defer to the busy people about whether or not a recap of a post would appeal to them. To me, no.

Hel said...

In defense of the busy people: I am sitting here dizzy with tiredness. It is half past ten in the evening and I have a meeting tomorrow morning at seven.

I am scanning through posts that deserve to be read and reread.

In my defense I will return over the weekend and read them again -slowly.

Gobody said...

This is a tough call Chani; life is demanding much of us all the time. Family is growing, kids have demands, wife has demands, and “I” have demands. Not to mention work, hobbies, social obligations and the basic need to keep up with what is happening around you. All of this leaves little time, and energy, to do much else.

If I follow 10 blogs and I would like to read them regularly; wouldn’t it be easier if I can scan them and see which ones interest me today or which ones I can comment on and contribute something to instead of just scan them with tired eyes and never say anything? Some days I would prefer to read all the blogs I follow, but some day I would just love to read “the executive summary” :)

There is nothing wrong with the people who use “I am busy”, but there is something wrong with the system that alienates people from LIFE. When I was in the north Arctic Circle, people there were much more relaxed, there was no hurry. They were more in touch with nature despite its extreme condition, and they were doing something outside all the time. I was wondering why would anyone want to live there, and they were wondering why would anyone want to live where I do!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have never read the Reader's Digest Condensed books either. Or used Cliff's Notes in school. But then, I really love to read. And I have enough respect for anyone who writes to insist upon reading ALL of a piece because it was arranged in a certain way, which imparts it's particular flavor. I don't want an approximation. I want the real thing. To mess with that is to disrespect the writer and the piece of writing, so no, I am not interested in such a system.

Aren't we debating the old "quality vs quantity" conundrum again?

flutter said...

Bullroar! Blecht!

that mademe laugh so hard.But it's true. If we are so busy that we only want thumbnails of eachother's lives why do we blog?

MsLittlePea said...

Yeah! I totally agree with you. And It hurts to hear,"I'm too busy..." I don't want to be someone's spare, left over time. Nobody does. I never say that because I don't want the other person to assume I think they are a complete idiot. Because, to me,"I'm too busy," means,"I'm too busy for you, I'll call when I have nothing better to do." And I think everyone knows that. I 'd rather have someone tell me they don't want me/have time for me in their life anymore than some lame excuse like that.