Why do we use this line?
Let me tell you a story and also give you a warning; if you use this line on people and believe it to be true, you won’t like this post.
I knew of two friends once, they were close. Not living in each others’ pockets close. Nevertheless, they were close. They happened to be neighbours, went to the same schools until high school level- eventually going their seperate academic paths. I noticed them grow apart somewhat when they hit university age. Recently I learnt that one of the friends is trying to rekindle the friendship on the grounds they had been busy but now really want to build bridges, but the other party is reluctant to mend said bridges. I asked them why they were not interested in putting the past behind them and their reply resonated with me to this day; “no one’s busy for six years, tam.”
The reason it stayed with me is because I am and have always been the idiot who gets screwed over with; “sorry tam, I have been so busy lately, you don’t even understand, I haven’t had time to scratch my head today, I’m not even sure I ate lunch can you believe that?”
I used to be so forgiving and understanding of these excuses, “No hey, I get it. Take your time. No rush, we can catch up some other time. Make sure you eat, make sure you sleep, make sure you breathe.” I’m pretty sure I reminded someone to shower once.
When I hit 30 (yes, children that’s how old I am), I was asked time and time again, “how does it feel?” And I’d answer honestly, “my knees hurt, but it pretty much feels the same.” But actually, I have noticed some differences. I can’t speak for all the folk who recently hit 30, this just applies to me, lest a fellow 30 year old bites my head off for passing off inaccurate facts.
The differences are; you start to give a crap about your health some. My doctor said to me, “I’ve seen you more in the last 3 months than I have seen you in the last 6 years.” I’m not a hypochondriac, the last place I want to be is at the doctors, but I happen to have some medical issues I need to take care of and 30 has scared me into sorting them out. Your body starts to work backwards when you hit 30, like it has to do overtime just to keep up.
Mull those words over before you dismiss my statement as dramatic. Why do you think some women struggle to have kids after 30? Or people struggle to lose weight post 30? Or your knees and joints start ricketting to remind you of their presence post 30?
Disclaimer: I know that shit can happen at 20 and 60 too.
I read once that nobody is that busy and it’s just about priorities. If you make it on someone’s priority list; then you are important enough to them to interrupt their day for.
I have made so many excuses for people who told me they were too busy to keep in touch. But one of the other things 30 does to you is give you the biggest reality check and I truly believe the above statement to be the absolute honest truth now.
I have always to the best of my knowledge made time for the people I deemed important in my life.
I know I have stayed up to converse with people who live in a different time zone from me when it was a reasonable hour for them but a God forsaken hour for me. And I am talking daft o’clock, people not something cute like midnight. Not because anyone asked me to but because I valued that person and their conversation and would not have had the time to speak to them otherwise so I made them a priority.
I’ve always tried to take 30 seconds of my busy ass day– where I have taught for 7 hours, sat in a sinfully boring meeting for another 2, tutored for an even further 2; was stuck in traffic for 30 minutes, went home to a billion and one things to do- to make someone smile. For instance, I wished someone a happy birthday recently who happened to be my best friend literally twenty years ago. Let that sink in. Some of you weren’t even born then. She wasn’t just touched, she was pure shocked I remembered without the aid of social media.
I have always tried to reply to all the personal messages I get, if not straight away then the next day at the latest. I make this distinction because tags, memes, links, videos, forwards, duaa photo cards, repeated requests for money, images of frogs on lily pads saying good morning and owls on trees saying good night are not things that always warrant a response in my opinion.
I am not saying these things to toot my own horn and I apologise profusely that that is indeed how all this is coming across. But I can’t help but notice that over the years, very little has stopped me making time for the people I cherished and respected.
I was drowning in deadlines at university and still made the time for a prick who begged me to write his final Year essay on Architecture which I know squat about. But I did it with the help of google and his sorry ass next to me explaining architectural key terms that I didn’t get. I did it because he was a good friend, because his mother pleaded with me and mostly because I am a caring idiot.
Plot twist: by the time his results for the paper came out (a high pass by the way!) he became uber
stupid religious and replied to my message of “how did it go?” with “could you refrain from contacting me in future? You are not my wife and men and women aren’t supposed to talk.”
Death and depression (the not getting out of bed for being emotionally paralysed kind of depression) are the only things that have stopped me responding to or initiating contact with people in recent times. For I too used to use the “I have been busy” line.
I’m not perfect. When I clock that I am starting to neglect loved ones, when I get lazy about it, I wake myself up, hit the refresh button and try again. And of course there are exceptions to every rule like outgrowing relationships and drifting apart and that’s life…
To conclude, I have reached a place in life where if I make time for someone and they don’t feel the need to reciprocate because “I’m busy – she will still be there when I eventually get the time to reply to her message… 16 days later – she will understand,” I ain’t playing no more.
I’m sorry. I don’t care if you were saving cats from burning buildings, if you nipped down to a war stricken country to personally deliver aid or if you were discovering how to rid the ocean of plastic. It’s not difficult to sign in now and then, and its even easier to say, “you know what? I’ve just read this and Ima get back to you after I finish my shift / building this orphanage.”
The list of people who prioritise me in their life has been a sad but real eye opener. I discovered a lump on my… person recently that I needed to get checked out because prevention is better than cure and all that. I discovered it at like 2am and I blew the whole thing out of proportion, convinced myself it was cancerous etc.
The only person I wanted to tell about this ignored my timid; hey listen I’m worried about something. And then replied a hundred years later with been busy and you know what I am worried about? this, this, this, and that. I thought to myself been busy? Yet they still had time to be active on social media?
I was crushed.
…do not try to “out-busy” people as a defense to your lack of care, we all have the same twenty four hours in a day.
Peace out x