catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 5, Num 22 :: 2006.12.01 — 2006.12.15


How are you?

Don’t worry; this won’t take much of your precious time to read…

A number of months ago I found that I would always relay my busy-ness when someone would ask how I was.  In fact, I’d list how the “jigsaw puzzle days,” as we call them in our family, went: “I had early faculty devotions, plus recess duty and no breaks, then a faculty meeting and I had to take our daughter straight to violin and my husband had class all night so I had to bring both girls along with me to get groceries, because we literally don’t have time to grocery shop again for the next four days!”  It occurred to me that even my e-mails ended with something that I just had to go do now (“Time to get to those quizzes/potatoes/four loads of unfolded laundry…”).

After a while, a few things struck me. For one, these “conversations,” albeit truthful, were really boring to listen to; for another, they were so self-centered and one-sided.  They were also shallow, as if I equal only the sum of my activities. Finally, what exactly was I aiming to accomplish by these lists? To win at “I’m busier than you are”? To make an excuse for why we haven’t visited with each other more recently?

So I made a conscious decision to try not to “list” my busy-ness to others and to be brief when asked about how our crazy life is.  Instead, I try to say something positive about an area of our life, maybe one that might even be a cause for hurry and busy-ness.  For example, “The director of the play my daughter’s in is outstanding—very organized and encouraging. It’s been a great experience for her.”  Then I ask the other person about his or her life. 

Doesn’t that sound corny, like something from Chicken Soup for the Soul?  Yes, it does.  But mentally and emotionally, it’s so much more satisfying.  It’s like taking a break from busy-ness to talk about something else for a few minutes instead of perpetuating the frenetic pace even while talking with a friend.  Mind you, this functions a bit like a New Year’s “resolution”—sometimes upheld, sometimes not, but at least it’s in my mind as something to strive for.

Maybe next year we’ll be able to do something about our over-commitments (doubt it—we like all the different parts too much), but for now I can at least not talk about them incessantly.

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