A group recently called many former members of a senior citizens who had dropped their membership. It is paid annually and we have found in the past that some people appreciate being reminded that it is time to renew if they want. However, we found that a large percentage, I'd guess 40 % said they purposely didn't renew because they have found they are too busy.
How a person of any age and any point in life gets to be too busy is a subject of interest to me. Some people are busy due to unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances. If your loved one has a heart attack and needs to be in the hospital for a while, taking care of your own business, errands and needs plus the patient's is going to keep you extra busy. If you get used to that level of demand and activity, you may feel too free when the patient gets out of the hospital. At that point, you might find extra projects or needs or jobs that keep you busy.
I didn't think too much of so many comments of being too busy at first. Then, I remembered a colleague and his wife who commented on their level of busyness more than 40 years ago. The man and his wife, both college professors, had led a group of college students on a semester abroad in London. You get over in Britain and you get everybody settled in and suddenly it is all quiet. No friends calling, no family birthdays to attend to, no visiting lectures tomorrow evening. You could dig them up and you could write letters or email everybody but you don't have the same obligations and the same flow of invitations. They said they certainly noticed that in London, quiet but back in town, the phone rang all the time.
It may be a manpower, sorry, peoplepower thing. I went to a large high school and was accustomed to knowing which guys fenced and which wrestled. At a small college, with only 300 men in a student body of 1500, the same guys were busy on just about every team. Look through the yearbook and the soccer team, the basketball team and the baseball team contain many of the same men.
Then there is the internet. Facebook demands time. Blogs take time to write and to read. I have seen three references recently about the limit placed on social and economic activity when a place (my Wisconsin county, New York City, the entire United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Wales) has no or poor or unreliable internet connection. But of course, where there is a good connection, there are friends to find and communicate with, in-depth reports on every science, every political development, every product, every possible investment. David Weinberger's "Too Big to Know" is about facing the fact that the internet and today's knowledge is simply too big to know.
No matter where you are, it is easy to get too busy. Besides fatigue and burn-out, being too busy leaves no room for rest, contemplation, reflection and new possibilities. Personally, I don't want to be too busy and I work at avoiding it.