Busyness is a badge. Overtime and unused vacation hours have somehow become honorable. The most predictable answer to the typical question of “how are you doing?” is almost always some form of stated chaos, frenetically responding to the demands of life at work and home.
Finding our significance in our accomplishments and progress in our respective field is an easy thing to diagnose and a very difficult thing to heal. There is in all of us an unwillingness to slow down, as if speed and distraction were virtues. We self-sabotage many of the areas of life that we’d openly say matter the most. Our marriages or families or friendships may not look the way we want them to, but it will have to wait.
Meaningful friendships require margins and most grown-ups I know are working relentlessly hard to ensure they never have them, despite complaining that, “things just won’t slow down”. We say “yes” to a hundred things that feel urgent but aren’t important. Downtime is to be avoided, as it probably signifies laziness or unimportance. If you audited our lives and calendars you’d likely arrive at the reasonable conclusion that we don‘t actually need healthy relationships in this life. As if we are just going to hang on to this massive rock alone and will grit our way through the years we’re given.
Friendships are certainly one of the highest currencies in life, and they matter for a thousand reasons, but the one that’s stood out to me in recent weeks is the way that friends can shield us from the endless unmerciful waves of hardship that pound the coast of our lives. Good friends serve as a breaker, never removing the waves completely but certainly helping us endure those storms.
Most fish know to school, shoal, and group up for a variety of benefits…the safety found in numbers, energetics, hunting together, etc. I watched a group of caddis recently, and while they have their reasons I’m sure, I noted they haven’t yet figured out that they could help each other out if they lined up a little different. If they’d just tuck in a bit behind each other, they’d all benefit and not have to fight so damn hard. Each could have their own feeding lane, getting what they need, but also providing a small break for the one behind them. Not living rogue from the community all around them.
Not sure we are any smarter.