Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Overcommitted and overscheduled?

Those of you who know me pretty well know that I make an effort to see my friends, in person, as regularly as possible. Lately, however, it has really struck me just how hard it is to get together with people.

I shared a string of several emails today with a friend who really did want to see me (ie: wasn't just blowing me off) but where her schedule and mine just failed to coordinate for multiple reasons. By the time we were done, we were booking ourselves 3-4 weeks out! The same thing happened just last week with some friends that usually get together as a group - we threw some dates out there for the month of November (remembering this is still only October) and could only come up with one day that worked for everyone. One day... out of 30!?

When I was at home in England, I just don't remember people's lives being this way. But then, maybe I was just a teenager with no responsibilities, who was friends with a bunch of other teenagers with no responsibilities. I don't know, but my recollection was that friends dropped-by on one another unannounced or called each other at 6 o'clock to decide to get together for a drink in an hour. What I remember is that people decided to go to the pub after work and just invited people on the spur of the moment - and people were available, and came!

Yet, since I've lived in the U.S., that kind of social life just doesn't seem to exist, or at least, rarely. People are scheduled to the hilt three, four weeks in advance (sometimes more) and if you don't make the effort and plan ahead it's easy to just lose touch as the weeks and months slip by.

Now, I'm not saying that my schedule is always open either - in fact it's a tad packed for the next week or so - but it just brings up the question: why is this? Why is it that people in the UK have much more spontaneous social lives and people in the U.S. (at least the way I've experienced it) end up running their calendars like a military operation?


I am not a Poodle said...

I know what you mean! I do think tho that a lot of it has to do with the overwhelming number of choices we have as adults in terms of the things we want to do. There's so much to fit in and see and do ... personally, I find it easy to get distracted by those choices. This is why being on the farm is perfect for moi at the mo.
Oddly, I am not bored and the day still goes as quickly as it did when I was an urbanite.

TravelVixen said...

I think that's a good point: we fill our lives with the things that are available to us and around us.

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