Posted on December 1, 2023

Are We Too Busy? - Gebo's

I was perusing social media a few days ago and came across a post that a friend shared regarding the business of today’s families.  The writer made a comparison of normal life when her grandmother was raising children versus her own family’s life today.  As you can imagine they were drastically different.  Her grandmother’s family lived a simple life of a single parent working while the other stayed home, while the children went to school and then home for chores and time with family.  In contrast the writer’s family was a dual income household with children that participated in activities every evening after school.  The writer lamented that they had no time for chores much less getting rest or having meals together. 

As I was reading through the comments that people left on the article a common thread seemed to emerge.  People are busy, maybe even busier than ever.  That didn’t surprise me, and I doubt it surprises anyone else.  As I thought about that I wondered; why?  Why are we so much busier?  Is it a good thing to be so busy?

After several days of pondering, I came to what I felt was a well thought out conclusion.

Maybe.  it depends. 

I believe that doing “things” is important.  I also believe that the number of “things” that are right for each family is drastically different.  For example, my family are homebodies.  We like to be at home.  We get rest from piddling around the house doing small jobs, playing with our toys, or lounging on the back porch with the dogs.  However, we also love adventure and travel.  We want to hike to the top of the next hill and see what’s on the other side.  These two sides of us must stay in balance or we aren’t happy.  We have friends that really enjoy raising and showing animals.  Their idea vacation is spent in a stock show barn with show animals.  The same goes for sports families whose kids play multiple sports year-round.  They are always at practice or at games only stopping long enough to re-fuel and switch uniforms.

I think a large part of our business comes from watching others be busy and comparing ourselves to them or trying to “keep up with the Jones’s”.  It is easy to watch our friends and neighbors do more and more and feel like we must do the same.  It is easy to look up and be so busy you haven’t sat down for a meal with your family in weeks.  I know, I have been there.

In 2020 when the world shut down my family suddenly found ourselves with nothing to do.  All of our sports and extracurricular activities were cancelled.  Heck, school was cancelled.  No travel destinations were open.  Restaurants were closed as well as most stores. Almost overnight our packed full calendars were empty.  At first, we loved it.  We spent our evenings playing in the yard and taking walks to watch the sunset.  The streets of our small town became very active with families walking or riding bikes together and small gatherings took place nightly in driveways.  The slowdown was a well needed rest from the chaotic schedules we were used to.  As time went by, we started to realize that we were missing some of the things we could no longer do.  My kids missed playing sports and we all missed traveling.  Slowly, we jumped back into these activities as life got back to normal.

As the years have gone by from the initial worldwide shut down it is almost like it never happened.  People are back to being busy and the race continues.  Although I can’t say we are still living life as simply as we did during the initial part of the pandemic, I can say that we learned a little more about what was important to us and what was not.  We say no to things much more often than we used to, and we certainly say yes to the things that make us who we are. 

Is your family too busy?  Are you spending too much time participating in activities that you aren’t really interested in and don’t really care about?  While I have no desire to have another worldwide pandemic, maybe, it is time for a self-induced slow down.  Perhaps it is time to stop being so busy and take some time to re-evaluate what is important.  Finally, I will leave you with this.

“It is not enough to be busy.  So are the ants.  The question is: What are we busy about?”

-          Henry David Thoreau


By: Ryan Curry

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