I'm typing for my very pregnant wife right now as she dictates to me what she wants to convey. It's very lovely.
Today in we are talking about the excess of activity in our lives. WHY ARE WE SO FREAKING BUSY?!
Vince and I are both "doers". We have a lot of interests and thus a lot of activities that we like to do both together and separately. There has been a lot of traffic in our schedule this past week; there has been something happening every night. Usually we don't mind this lifestyle but now with the pregnancy and then the baby we are getting a bit cautious.
The question we brought up in our concern is, "Why are we always doing something?" and "Why do we feel like we always have to be doing something?"
Maybe it's because I associate having a fulfilling and meaningful life with having a full schedule. Basically I (and I am sure a lot others) have no idea that they are cramming their lives with activities. Choir practice... Church meetings... grocery shopping... birthday parties... lectures... dinners with friends...sports... etc. So many things!
Living in a Fast Age
I think part of it is that we live in a world that is packed with activity. And the activity happens fast! I mean we truly live in a digital age. We can get instantaneous access to information, food, clothing, entertainment. You name it! Everything happens so fast! Instantaneous. We were talking earlier and we realized that in previous ages, people had to take their time with certain things. Travel was not quick as it is now. Correspondence with other people would mean at times waiting for weeks/months till they replied by letters in the post. Microwaves and pizza delivery were not options.
What happened to taking your time with things? What happened to the silence in the world? Why do we always have to be racing through life a million miles per hour?
I believe the answer to these questions are found in the following:
Freaked Out by the Silence
We just don't. I think it is foreign to some of us. I was talking to a colleague of mine in the office and she told me that when her and her husband go on vacation for longer than a few days they go stir crazy and they can't handle it. Mobile phones, internet chat, DVDs, Ipods and constant chatting have been with them for so long the thought of not having them after a few days is foreign to them. They forgot that old saying in the movie theatres before the flick starts is so true: Silence in GOLDEN. It's because in silence and quiet we are faced with our thoughts and all the other junk we push away by taking up our time with the new episode of Grey's Anatomy on our iPhones. And when we are in the silence and our thoughts and issues start speaking to us, it freaks us out! I think that may be a sign that we need to practice being in silence more often. Take 15 minutes every day and shut off everything and just listen to your thoughts. Write it down in a journal if you need to. What are the things you are not dealing with?
We live in an age where we have to be constantly entertained. One thing Vince and I like to do every night is watch a TV show together to unwind. It was almost like a bedtime routine. Grey's Anatomy or Glee (don't judge us). Side note - We hear that watching TV in the bedroom is bad, because the bedroom is meant for sleeping and... well you get the picture. It's like we always have to be stimulated in some way at every moment. We can't even be bored while we are sleeping! (Vince sleeps with an "ocean sounds" CD).
Obligated to do Things
This is a sticky subject because I believe most people reading this blog suffer from the "yes" monster. It's like we can't say anything but "yes" to things.
Can you do the PowerPoint for the Church event? Yes.
Can you drive my aunt to the hair-stylist? Yes.
Do you mind making a roast turkey for the dinner tonight? Sure.
Can you be my kid's Godfather? Of course.
Will you co-sign for my car? Absolutely.
Can I borrow a thousand buck? Hmmm... ok.
Man... the list goes on and on. And the reasons why we keep saying yes would take another post to explain. But in short, we believe that a big cause is guilt. We just feel plain old bad when we have to say "no". After all, no one takes joy in disappointing other people (unless you are a person who likes to see other's suffer - then shame on you.) And in our minds when we have to say "no" we think it is the end of the world and that since we can't pick up our uncle's-best friend's-cousin's-son in law from the airport no one else with a car can.
We can't assume all the responsibility and burden by thinking that other people will not be able to function without us. Of course there are things that are our responsibility (our spouses, children, family, friends, and dying people on the side of the street) but in a lot of cases, when we know we are already busy, I think it's ok if we say no. The world will continue to turn without us. Sad but true.
Moreover, not only is it ok, I think it is to EVERYONE'S benefit that we say, in a loving way, "No, I really want to but I can't do that this time." (Then you smack them and take their wallet... just kidding.) We should do this because it teaches us virtue of prudence. We cannot give too much or too little of ourselves. The key is balance in all things. When we have pushed ourselves too far we usually burnout and that can take its toll on ourselves as those closest to us (i.e. when we take out our stress, exhaustion, anger, etc. on them).
Plus people will begin to respect not only your "no", but more importantly your "yes". This is the key to increasing your integrity. When you say you can do something, people know you will follow through; and when you can't, they respect that too. With that said, when you do commit to something, do it all the way. But more importantly, when we say no...
IT GIVES ANOTHER PERSON A CHANCE TO SAY "YES"!
We will talk more about this subject tomorrow :-) Love you all!
Vince and Cay