Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 25, 2014

Simple pleasures falling by wayside

By Julie Johnston, Ledger photographer | Aug 09, 2012

Why is everyone so busy? We don’t have time for the simple pleasures of life any more, and it seems to be a path to nowhere. Reminds me of the images of the 100 meter competitors in the Olympics where their feet are moving so fast they seem to be like the cartoon characters feet going in a circle. At least the Olympians have a goal. Do the rest of us have goals, or are we just hurrying our lives away?

This morning I took the time to have coffee with a friend. We both lamented having been too busy to get together this summer. Really now. What is important? Is it the stuff we do, or is it the people in our lives? I, and, I think she, too, really enjoyed our brief visit. I should have been at work, but sometimes even I can put relationships before stuff.

Relationships don’t just happen. They need to be nurtured. It doesn’t matter whether it is a family relationship with your spouse, children, parents, or grandparents, or further afield to extended family. Or, friends currently in your life or friends you had in the past. Or those acquaintances that might turn out to be friends if we but gave the relationship its due. It is hard to maintain a connection if you never see them or make an effort to stay in touch.

Perhaps that is why Facebook and other social media are so popular — they allow us to maintain the deception that we have made the effort toward those near and dear to us. Seriously? I find that while I can catch up, sort of, with a lot of people in a short period of time, say an hour, I have done nothing to nurture those relationships. I really do NOT like social networking, though it does have a place, albeit a small one, in my life. It did help me find high school classmates as I was working on a class reunion. It is not an effective tool for nurturing.

I am not my mother. She was very good at nurturing. I only think about it. My dad once told me that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions after I had let him down in some fashion and said, “I was going to do it.” I might possibly be on that road because I really don’t plan to be too busy to do the things I intend to do, yet don’t get around to doing them.

Mom made phone calls to those she loved. I use the reason that I don’t make the call is that I don’t want to bother anyone, or it is too late in the evening, or too early. Or, they just might not want to hear from me. Or they no longer have a land-line and I don’t have their cell phone number.

Actually, when I think about it, really ponder it, I am so busy with ‘stuff’ that I simply forget to do it. No matter. Either way, not making the call is inexcusable, regardless of whatever excuse we use.

Mom also took the time to choose cards appropriate to the occasion and write a note, just to show she cared. Again, I think about it, but seldom actually send the card, even if I take the time to choose one. I have lots of un-sent cards cluttering up a drawer. I suppose an e-card is better than nothing, but frequently those don’t get sent either. I really did plan to send a card to say, “I care,” or “Thank you,” or “I’m sorry” or “Get Well.”

Thank you to all dear readers who have taken the time to thank me for just doing my job. It means a lot and makes the job worth doing. Unfortunately, I don’t do the same often enough.

Are any of us really that busy? When people say to me, “You are so busy,” I never know for sure if they are really saying, “You are too busy to...” You can fill in the blank — call me, visit me, send a card, ask how I am and act like you really want to know, run an errand for me, or whatever. Am I just feeling guilty that I don’t really take the time to be nurturing? Is it a personality flaw or something deeper?

Staying busy can be a panacea when we are troubled, as being busy doesn’t give us time to worry or think about some difficulty. More often though, I think busyness is an excuse.

I am not going to wait for the New Year to resolve to make more of an effort to be nurturing, to stay in touch, to send a card, say a prayer, or just to care. And, to let those I love know it.

But, I am pretty busy right now, so all that might have to wait until after Labor Day, my class reunion, Kids’ Day, my daughter’s wedding...

 

Julie Johnston is photographer at The Ledger.

 

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