busier than you.

Let’s walk through a common scenario, shall we?

Person 1: “Hey! Good to see you! How are you?”
Person 2:”Hey! Busy. I’m REALLY busy.”
Person 1: “Ohh, me too. I have so much going on right now.”
Person 2: “Oh, I bet. But I have at least 10 more things on my schedule than you.”
Person 1: “Doubtful. I’m up to eyeballs in work.”
Person 2:”Ohhh, nice try. I’m, like, busy every night this week.”
Person 1: “Ha. Amateur. I have double booked myself every single night this week. And the weekend. Every weekend actually.”
Person 1: “Hmm. Yeah, I’m busy, like, every weekend until the end of the year.”
Person 2: “Look. You don’t know my life.”
Person 1: “PLEASE. My life is WAY more important than yours, ok?!”
:: Person 2 walks away in shame.::

Ok, I exaggerate. But is this not the subtle conversation that’s happening beneath most “How are you?”-“Busy.” conversations? If you have never had this conversation with a friend or acquaintance before, I applaud you. I commend your honesty and ability to carry on perpetually riveting conversations. I, on the other hand, find these conversations happening daily.

I’m busy. You’re busy. Thanks for the lifeless conversation.

WHY? Why do I let this kind of brainless, horribly boring conversation go on? If we’re all busy, shouldn’t the conversation be interesting? Shouldn’t it be filled with all the tantalizing details of what’s busying us?!

If it’s school, tell me about what you’re learning.

If it’s work, what’s good? What’s rough? How can I encourage you?

If it’s family, tell me about your kids. How are they growing? What adorable, however inappropriate, phrase did your toddler say this week?

And if you’re busy just living life to the fullest, TELL ME so I can live vicariously through you. I spend most of my days in a library or classroom learning about effective counseling strategies. Am I actively counseling people right now? No. I’m learning about it. Which might be the worst thing ever for this lady who CRAVES hands-on learning. Let me hear about your life and tell you all the dysfunctional things that are happening in it.

I joke. But seriously. We’re all a little crazy.

We are busy people. Life is busy. Life is rich and full of experiences we’re attempting to soak in every day. Can we just acknowledge it and move on to a different conversation topic? So help me, I would rather talk about the WEATHER. It’s sunny here all day erryday. Let’s talk about that for 20 minutes. Then, let’s talk about substantive topics. I like that better.

And when did life become about one-upping each other’s busyness? If being overcommitted is a competition, we all lose. Because being overcommitted and busy steals away from rest. If you have a lot on your plate, there’s probably a few expectations from others or yourself from which you can break away. Be the anomaly that’s willing to not be busy. Take a Sabbath. Take one day a week that releases you from telling people how filled your life is. Just be.

I probably like you. So, let’s live that out. Let’s be real friends. Let’s go beyond what’s crazy and busy in our lives and stop trying to compete with each other for busiest “aren’t I such a superstar for balancing all these responsibilities” person. I’m beyond guilty of this, and I’m sorry. I have failed you as a friend. I have failed to value the depth of your thoughts and the immeasurably awesome parts of your life. Your days are worth hearing about so let’s talk about that.

I’m busy. You’re probably busier. Let’s move on to a more interesting topic now, world.

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4 thoughts on “busier than you.

  1. she spits the TRUTH! In case people haven’t noticed 99% of us are all busy. I even hear it when I ask high schoolers how they are doing. High schoolers!? The people who are fed, clothed, reminded of doctors appointments that their parents scheduled, don’t grocery shop, barely try in school, etc. Telling people you are busy is just a way of trying to sound important or it’s some preemptive denial of making plans to spend time together. It’s also just makes for bad conversation. If everyone is busy…isn’t nobody busy?
    This is good stuff, thanks.

  2. So glad you wrote this! Seriously, the issue you’re describing is a pet peeve of Sarah & I as we’ve tried to engage people in conversation over the last 4 years since we got married. You conveyed your thoughts so well!

    When we lived in Chicagoland, I remember one night where two different couples in our small group from church were complaining that they didn’t have plans for two nights the next week. Yes, legitimately griping that two evenings were completely open without plans! I was bewildered at the time, because I would view having such a schedule as freeing and primed for random fun. But looking back, I think their busyness had become an addiction, their modus operandi (however you spell that) from which they derived a sense of worth in some backhanded, unhealthy sort of way.

    Anyhow, I only see you & Grant about once every few years. The last time was during your CE capstone way back in 2010 in Chicago, haha. But I hereby pledge that any conversation which results between the four of us down the road will be substantive (if not riveting) in every regard. Say hi to Grant for me!

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