Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You're Never Too Busy To Get What You Want

All of our worlds are chaotic in their own way. We are all juggling multiple moving pieces; jobs, school, friends, family, lovers. We are, in short, busy people. I don’t know a single person who isn’t busy, who doesn’t have an agenda, and a myriad of things on their plate. If you ask someone how they are, what they’ve been up to, standard answers usually include “tired” and “busy.”

I am, by no means, undermining the verity of these statements. I get it, I really do. I know that I have a full time job, that often includes late nights at networking events or client dinners. On top of that, I have an active social life, I stay in touch with my friends all over the world, I’m directing a play, planning my next steps  and I’m even going on dates. It’s exhausting, and I relish in the moments where I can curl up with a book in my apartment, drink tea, and simply immerse myself in Alice-time. With everything going on in our lives, we’re also supposed to make time for ourselves. It seems an almost impossible task. But it isn’t.

I have to cite being “busy” as the most overused and ingenious excuse of all time. "Being busy" is something we blame for not doing other things. The truth is, no matter what we have going on in our lives,  we are never too busy to get what we want. I live by this rule. I apply it to myself and those around me, and when I find myself making excuses for people, I force myself to remember and apply it.

The things that matter, the things we care about, the things we WANT to do, we always seem to make time for, regardless of our other obligations. It might require some compromise on our parts, somethings got to give (I usually sacrifice sleep) but the bottom line is, we manage. We manage because we have to and more importantly, we want to. I know, first hand, that telling someone you’re busy simply means that you’re too busy for them, because they’re not a priority. Truth be told, it’s REALLY not that difficult to make time for someone, especially in this day and age. Even a simple text or an email takes all of one minute and goes a long way. It says, “Hey, you’re on my mind.” 

Some people will tell me that I’m being unreasonable (I'm not) but if they stopped and thought about it for a minute, they would realize that I am right. That they, just like everyone else, use it as an excuse, because it can’t really be questioned. If someone tells you that they’re "just really busy” you can’t exactly retort with, “Oh yeah? Prove it!” or point out the ways they could’ve fit you in. (I mean you could, but that's just embarrassing, and full disclosure: I've done that, and I felt really horrible because it was just admitting out loud, to the other person, that I knew that they held little regard for me or spending time with me.) 

Of course, there are circumstances that time is a more precious commodity than usual; if we are more swamped than usual at work, we're sick, or it’s the holidays and we’re with our family, there are always exceptions to the rule. Though I tend to live my life with the mindset that I’m the rule, not the exception. This may be because I have high standards for the people in my life, but I think it’s more due to the fact that I know what I am capable of, and I know that the people in my life that I care about, don’t ever think that I am too busy for them. Because I’m not. I make time even when there doesn’t seem to be any. I fit the people and activities in that I care about.

I have dated busy people. In fact, most of my relationships have been with people who were constantly pressed for time, but because we wanted to spend time together, we did. I had a boyfriend call me on his lunch break, almost daily, just to say that he was thinking of me, I dated a guy who took time off work to meet my parents, because he was serious about me, I even went out with a guy who changed a flight somewhere so that we could have one last dinner together. I remember once, saying to a guy that I had just started seeing that I heard he was too busy to date (the explanation he gave to everyone who asked why he was single) but that he seemed pretty available to me. His response? “You can always make time for the things you want.” Not only is that true, but it’s that simple. Which is why, when he stopped making time, I stopped dating him. I knew I was no longer a priority. Though admittedly, it took me much too long to realize it. Probably because I loved him, and acknowledging it was hard, it hurt a lot. 

That’s the difficult thing about being told by someone that they're busy, because you know, deep down that it means they just don’t care. It’s not easy to acknowledge and accept that someone doesn’t care enough about us, especially if we’re spending time caring about them. It’s a form of rejection, and as I’ve said time and time again, rejection is tough, it hurts. However, it’s better to see the writing on the wall than to waste any more time on someone who can’t be bothered to return our sentiments. We can make excuses but that’s just denial, delaying the inevitable. And for what? Momentary appeasement or to keep our often too fragile egos from being bruised. It’s better to just realistically assess the situation and move on from it. It’s unfortunate but it’s a life.

This isn't just about people we're dating. This applies to all relationships: friendships, familial, and romantic. In fact, friends and family being "too busy" can actually be worse than someone we're dating. It may seem hard to identify someone who is actually busy or someone who just says they are, though as I said the hardest part is acceptance. If you’re like me and give a lot to the people around you, it’s not easy to objectively examine your relationships to determine whether they are one sided or not. Some people don’t communicate as well as others. Believe me, I understand that.

 Anyone who knows me is well aware of my almost over zealous texting/emailing/WhatsApping, and I am fully aware that not everyone is the same, and that I can’t expect them to be. That being said, if we’re honest with ourselves, we can always tell. If you don’t believe me, or really think that you’re the exception, try a little experiment: stop touching base with the person/people in question and see if they come to you. See if they want to talk to you. If they want to, they will. If there’s silence, well, then there is your answer. 

Getting angry at them is pointless, it is what it is. Don't call them out on it, because frankly, what does that solve? It won't change anything, it won't make someone a better friend or lover, it won’t make them more attentive, at least not genuinely. The best and only course of action is to just deal with it, cut them loose, move on, focus on yourself and on those who aren’t "too busy" for you. There are plenty of them and they’re the people you should be investing in.

*thanks AL for also adopting this rule and reminding me when I forget. 

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