(Originally posted April 4, 2013)
Recently I read a NY Times article called, “The ‘Busy’ Trap” by Tim Kreider. Ironically, this exact concept has been on my mind a lot. Not more than a few hours ago I even posted a facebook status pondering how to make people care more about the littler things in life, to care as much as I do, and wondering if anyone else gets frustrated in the way that I do when I fail to make people care as badly as I wish they would. The most frequent response I have been hearing from many people in my circle (if they even bother to give a response, that is) is something like, “Do I have to…? I am just so busy.”
What the heck, people? If it is important to you, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t you’ll find an excuse. At least be honest about it and just say that you don’t want to or that you’re not interested. The former excuse is just a socially tolerated blow-off phrase. That’s what “busy” seems like to me. Just an excuse for not caring more when maybe you would be glad if you did. (One of my brothers has said to me on more than one occasion, “Excuses are like butts…” Well, you can fill in the rest.) Look, you don’t have to care about the same things as me. But show that you at least care about something. And not just the big somethings either.
Want to know the truth? Judge me if you will, but I cannot deny that one of the ways I gauge the quality and caliber of a person’s character is by how they make time for the small things. I’ve told you once before in this blog that I am a wall flower. It’s by choice. I like to stand on the sidelines and observe everything and everyone. It helps me see who needs less attention or who needs more. And it is just what I like to do. I love being still and observing, Taking Time, to think and meditate and brainstorm. When I see or hear people who say they are too busy or don’t have time, it is a flag to me that they just don’t care. And even if you don’t or don’t want to, I have more respect for people who practice sincerity and candor than for the others.
I can’t say that I don’t care because I do. So when others write something or someone off with the time/business excuse, it makes me sad. I know I might not know them or their personal struggles behind doors as intimately as I know my own, but what I do know is that I will always try my hardest to take time out for someone who needs me or cares.
Either you care, or you don’t. It doesn’t matter what the scenario is, you’ve just got to itemize your priorities. “Is it important enough to re-organize my busy schedule enough for this, or should I just indirectly tell them that I don’t care… Thanks for reaching out to me, guys, but I decided my time is too important and more scarce than yours and I need to spend it elsewhere. Peace out.”
Right. We get the message loud and clear.
One of my favorite quotes from the article is,
“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
I would like to add that it is also good for the soul and good for forging bonds with your would-be peers and with your loved ones. It tells people the quality of person and friend you are by making time for even the smallest of things. Because, let’s face it, at the end of the day and at the end of our lives, it might just be the conglomeration or accumulation of all those little things we did in our life that made the biggest impact to those around us.
Time eventually runs out. None of us know when, but it will. How do you want to be remembered for spending the time you had?
As for me, I’m gonna go play “Hulk” and “Littlest Petshop” with my little ones while they’re still little. Thanks for “listening” to my ramblings all the same. It feels good to know that someone cared.