I first noticed that people placed importance on “busyness” in high school.
I was busy enough in high school to become a well-rounded student and a successful college applicant.
I was busy enough in college to graduate with two majors and a few internships under my belt, which led me to my first job and a pretty decent career.
I didn’t become really busy again until I became serious with the man who would become my husband. I had obligations to fulfill at holidays. My friends were all getting married and there were showers and bachelorette parties and destination weddings that eventually led to baby showers.
Now, my busyness is because of my children. They’re involved in sports and Scouting and music. But I make it a point to keep my weekends free as much as I can. Sometimes that’s hard, because my family and my in-laws are at minimum a three-hour round trip away. My daughter turns down extracurricular activities at school, like Envirothon and the 24 Club. At first I was a little disappointed, but she said she enjoyed relaxing in the morning before school (when the clubs met) and not having to rush anywhere.
I realize my friends have the same obligation with family that I do. But whenever I inevitably try to bring people together (that’s not an established annual event) the process becomes so tedious that I don’t even know why I bother half the time. Because I’m one of the stay-at-home moms, it always falls to me to make plans because people assume I don’t have anything else to do with my time except send texts and/or emails.
When I’m making plans, people feel the need to go to great lengths to explain how busy they are. And I empathize, I truly do. Huge pockets of my calendar are eaten up by sporting events, practices, field trips, journeys to see family. And sometimes the people in charge of those activities assume that theirs is the most important. (Once I had to explain to my daughter’s softball coach that I actually have another child and could not make the fourth practice that week.)
And when the get-together happens, I just feel I am something to be checked off on an itinerary. A friend I hadn’t seen in a while, once she arrived and glanced at her phone, told me, “Oh good, now I have something to do after I see you.” Another came to my house and asked to use my computer to buy tickets for a movie that she was seeing with someone else later that evening.
Because of Facebook, I no longer feel the need to perpetually try to see everyone all the time, much less organize everything. (And I no longer feel the need to even talk to the people who I described in the paragraph above.) Although they’re getting fewer and fewer, I spend more and more time with friends who only bring their phones out to document something embarrassing I’m doing. And some friends I only see once in a great while because of distance or circumstances–Facebook doesn’t cut it when it comes to these friends–but they tell me when they are free, instead of telling me how busy they are. In other words, instead of telling me why they can’t hang out with me, they’re telling me when they can.