Saturday, April 14, 2007

Too Busy to Notice You're Too Busy

Thanks to Karleen Sell

Too Busy to Notice You’re Too Busy
Published: New York Times, March 31, 2007

RECENTLY I’ve found myself annoyed by how busy my friends seem. Putting aside the possibility that they are avoiding me, some are so on the go that they barely have time to tell me they do not have time to talk. Every phone call, no matter how short, seems to be interrupted by several others. That is, of course, if I actually get a live person on the other end of the phone.

I consider my life to be somewhat filled and fulfilling. I have a husband and two children, work part time, volunteer, exercise several times a week (well, usually) and socialize regularly. For the record, I do not have a baby sitter, but do have a house cleaner for about four hours every two weeks.

But, and I am almost embarrassed to admit this, I also have time to read novels, catch a movie or play once in a while and have the occasional long lunch with a friend.

In our busy, busy world, however, I sometimes feel as if I am the odd one out. Although those who are overworked and overwhelmed complain ceaselessly, it is often with an undertone of boastfulness; the hidden message is that I’m so busy because I’m so important.

Now I realize that busyness is not an absolute: everyone has a different threshold. I have one friend for whom more than one social engagement a weekend is just too much; others love to party, party, party. And most people would trade in bored and stagnant for a little stress if they were engaged in doing something they loved.

I am also aware that there are many who have no options; who must work exhausting hours simply to survive. But I am speaking about those who choose to keep up a frenetic pace that seems largely self-imposed, unnecessary — and unenjoyable.


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