Sunday, December 4, 2016

Oh, Kaye! Chats about the sickness of busy-ness

Oh, Laws, I'm late, I'm late, all my fault, I am so so sorry . . . 

Remember back in the day when you would say to someone "How are you?" and the standard response was "Fine, thanks!  How are you?"


COMPLETELY rhetorical question!

EVERYONE (well, almost everyone) knew that.

NO ONE (well, almost no one) would respond with a litany of how they really were . . . "oh, well, the kids!  you know, they're driving me nuts."  "my husband, he lost his job.  Sits around in his recliner all day watching WHO knows what on the TV drinking beer and eating Doritos."  "My job!  Oh, GAWD, I hate my job!" 

Like that.

But these days?  These days, I go to great extremes to not ask certain people "how are you?" for the simple reason I know that in a lot of cases the response is going to be "BUSY!"  Oh, my God, I am SO busy!"  And then list the ways.  ALL the ways.  And I'm thinking, "you know, are we ALL busy?" (note, please, that I said "certain" people.  Not all people.)

So, I started wondering what was going on with this whole "I'm busier than you" thing that I was noticing.  Was it a new trend?  Some new competition thing? Since I'm always the last to know about new anythings I just wasn't sure.

And, sure enough!  It IS! And it has a name!  "The Sickness of Busy-ness."


For real.

Google it.

And here's, I think, the best (of many) articles you'll come up with - written by Casey-Jo Loos.

Now  -  how did I come up with this topic for the day?

Well, I was going to come here and tell you how BUSY I have been!  And list all the ways - I was busy working for the local Democrats (but not nearly even half as busy as some of the others who worked long, hard and tirelessly) this past couple of years, NaNoWriMo (I did not reach my goal, BUT, I did get two short stories written and I was able to get over a major hurdle in my WIP that I've been fighting with), etc. etc. etc. and then I thought.  "Oh, hell, girl, you're just really NOT all that busy.  Hush."  Because they're all things I'm doing because I want to do them.

(Actually, all this was just an excuse to post this picture of me working hard passing out campaign literature for progressive candidates.  Busy!!!!)

If these weren't things I feel are important - and that I'm receiving some degree of satisfaction, and happiness - (doesn't happiness count??), I wouldn't do them. 

Well, at least, not all of them.

If I do them and complain about them, what on earth is the purpose in it?

We're here for a relatively short time - do the things you want to do.  

Do the things you love.

Do what you can to make a difference.

Of course, we're going to have to do things that don't fall into those categories.

Every single one of us.

So, basically - we're all just busy.

Hopefully, we're all also deriving some joy from the busy.

So, when someone says "How are you?" we can honestly, from the heart say, "Fine!  How 'bout you?"

And.  Even if we can't?  

Try to remember - It's usually a rhetorical question.

And that's all I've got to say about that . . . 

I'd stay and chat, but you know, I am busy . . . 


  1. Kaye, dear, you hit the nail on the head for a lot of us!!

    I never would have dreamed that I would be so busy since I retired from work this spring. I joined several meetup groups thinking I would have a hard time filling my days. But the regular group walks, hikes, cycling, bowling, coffees, foodie outings and volunteering takes up so much of my weekly schedule that I am planning on cutting back my commitments since I have little time to READ! Or that I often am so exhausted that I don't read more than 1-2 pages at night! That is why my overwhelming TBR pile is growing instead of shrinking, and I will likely not meet my annual Goodreads goal for the first time in years! Can you imagine!!

  2. Busy is good, as long as you're busy with what you care about. And so interesting, Kaye, your comments about what we say when people ask, "How ARE you?" knowing full well they don't really really want to know. So you don't really really have to say.

  3. Ha! Kaye, this is fabulous! Busy is a thing? Good grief! I once dated a guy who when asked how his day had been started with the Raisin Bran he had for breakfast and ended forty-five minutes later with what he had watched on TV before calling me. That relationship aged me. I'd say I'm busy but mostly I've been in a catatonic stupor since Nov 8th. I am going to listen more closely to people's answers when I ask how they're doing as this fascinates me. Business - who knew?

  4. Hallie: Agreed, busy is good as long as you're doing what you love. So one positive part of being retired is that I am more active on social media (FB and my favourite blogs including JRW of course)! And more travelling for me this year and next which I love to do. But again, I have been so busy sightseeing and the reading time suffers, so that's a mixed blessing.

  5. Just in from Church and delighted to find this wonderful post, Kaye!

    So sad, I think, that people ask, “How are you?” without really wanting to know the answer. Why not just say, “So nice to see you,” and let it go at that?

    I’m guessing that most of the things that keep us busy are the things we would choose to do anyway, no matter how much time they took. Perhaps we need a new definition of busy . . . .


  6. Busy is good. I agree.

    Please notice that I said "These days, I go to great extremes to not ask certain people "how are you?" Certain People. Not all people.

    There are people in my life that I truly truly do want to know about. What they're doing. How they are.

    I should have been more clean.

  7. Yes yes yes--so true! Sometimes in all the rush, the human connections get lost, and that is too bad.

    ANd yes, "How are you" kind of means "I acknowledge you are there" because unless there's a specific--"Can you believe the assignment we just got, how are you about that?", or "last time we talked, you had a cold, how are you"? there's no way to have a meaningful conversation or exchange.

    And geeeee...there are certainly people who will tell you! (Like Jenn's Raisin Bran guy) ANd sometimes that makes me sad--because maybe they don;t have anyone to talk to? And of course the other end of the spectrum: the accomplishment-listers. :-)

  8. Oh, Kaye, I hear you on the Busyness thing! A close family member seems to believe it's some kind of competition, and it's vitally important that she wins, and we all acknowledge that she did.


  9. Joan, good suggestion with "So nice to see you" for those with whom you really don't want to engage.

    Despite it removing the face-to-face element, I have found texting a great way to keep in touch with friends and family and find out how they are, when in the past I might have found I didn't have time for a call. Calls are still good, but texting lets me send a quick check-in: How did the test go? Are you watching this, too? I need your banana bread recipe!

    Technology and screens have their drawbacks, but I feel like texting has enabled me to enhance certain relationships.

    Also, busy is fine unless you don't like what you're doing or you're not taking care of yourself. Sometimes, being busy can be an avoidance strategy for dealing with what really matters.

  10. So much "busyness" often equate to very little satisfaction. (Quantity rather than quality) Unless, of course, you believe in "winning" the busyness race!

  11. Love this!! I often say, "Either do it or don't, but if you decide to do it, don't then complain about it." This statement assumes that a person can get rid of the "shoulds."

  12. Kaye, you made me realize I'm guilty. I have responded to "How are you?" with "Oh, my gosh, I've been so busy." And maybe that is true, but I don't need to say it. Although, in my defense, this is usually to good friends, but still... "I'm fine. How are you?" is much better.

    I worry about people being to distracted to appreciate their lives, and too distracted to really THINK (because how can you, if you're always doing things?) but I had no idea busy-ness was a "thing."

    Jenn, I am cracking up over raisin bran guy. How did you stand it?

    As Sunday is my official non--busy day, I'm going to put ornaments on my Christmas tree. And take a nap. How about you?

  13. Kaye, you always have such fun posts. I don't know that I can answer I'm fine anymore, as I'm a big fan of Louise Penny and think of what Ruth means by F.I.N.E. Hahaha! But, there does seem to be a competition of sorts about how busy people are. I try not to have too many scheduled events in December, as I like to bask in the tree lights and magic of it all without the scurry and the hurry.

    Today is a perfect day, with it raining and being able to curl up on the couch with my laptop and a book while the trees blink on my mantle and glow on my tree.

    And, Kaye. My sweet, dear, funny friend. I simply cannot pass up the opportunity to tell you that I think you are probably clean enough. (Check your response above.) I love you, darling girl.


  14. Oh, Laws. "I should have been more clean." I'm dying. Thank you, Kathy Boone Reel. You have made me laugh out loud. And I have a confession to make - I am having a difficult time lately so laughing out loud has become very important to me. Thank You! I think I'm going to have to buy one of the Louise Penny F.I.N.E. teeshirts. For real. Brilliant!!!!

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

    This was a personal gripe that I maybe should have kept to myself. But, well, you know - oftentimes a thought is flying out of my mouth before it engages my brain. Something I've had trouble with my entire life, and that saying about teaching an old dog new tricks? Yes, that . . .

  15. Kaye, what's great about you is that your writing perfectly reflects you, which is--funny, smart, witty, wry, and often unvarnished! I love it. :)

    Like I told you before, when someone says they're BUSY--you know, those people who are always busy--my response to them is: "What's it like to be SO BUSY?!"



  16. i love Jungle Red.

    David C., I am sending you hugs, my friend. Thank you.

  17. When someone asks how I am, my automatic response is Fine, thank you. How are you? Which is kind of stupid if I'm at the doctor's office on a sick visit. Yes, I actually did that. He just grinned. I'm for starting a chapter of Ruth's F.I.N.E. club.

  18. Yes, sign me up for one of those Louise Penny F.I.N.E. t-shirts, too!

  19. I think we have the makings of a F.I.N.E. club here.

  20. I said a very similar thing in my sermon yesterday!

  21. Oh, Kaye! I would have commented with appropriate timing but I was so busy!

    I love this! Thank you! You are a joy.