Friday, October 29, 2010

You're not too busy to read this. Trust me.

Busy,

busy,

busy...

As a college student, I feel like I'm always busy. When I'm not busy, it's because I forgot about something that would keep me busy. Being busy is essential to becoming successful. If you’re not busy, you are either unemployed or deceased. The word “busy” starts to look funny the more you stare at it. If I said “busy” one more time, that’s ten times I’ve said “busy” thus far. My favorite color is red, and I only like you as a friend.

I’m sorry. I’m so busy that I forgot to make sense.

If you thought that was bad, I’m willing to bet that you were too busy to notice that October 24th was Take Back Your Time Day. It’s a holiday that was created to combat the effects of being overworked and to give time to the most important parts of our lives: our health, families, relationships, communities, and environment. These are many of the things that we tend to forget about with our endless schoolwork, merciless jobs, and backbreaking chores. It’s enough to bring you down to your knees and make you curse the heavens and the universe in anguish for only giving us 24 hours in a day.

HEY!!! Pull your self together! It’s not your fault!

I’m sure you’ve heard the sayings, “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop,” and “hard work is the key to success.” Their meanings are deep-seated within the heart of America’s culture, all the way back to the days of our European ancestors who first settled in this country. These brave pioneers had to work nonstop just to survive brutal winters every year (I’m sure you learned all about the Puritans in history class, so I’ll spare you the details). As a society, we inherited the Puritan belief of work ethic: hard work is good, and laziness is bad. This is one of the reasons why we feel so guilty when we procrastinate, and why we look down upon those who don’t have a job. The worst part is that many of us forgot that life isn’t just about work.

We forgot how to care. I know I did. It cost me something that I could never get back.

Back in middle school, I always hung out with my best friend, Marc. After classes were done, I would go over to his house and play video games and watch some quality pro wrestling on TV. We talked about which girls we thought were hot and how we would ask them out on a date. We never did. We were like brothers. In fact, I introduced him to my older brother, and he introduced me to his older stepbrother, and we would all hang out together. We were pretty inseparable. Then high school happened.

I was tired of being the quiet kid. I came out of my shell and started talking to more people. I made tons of new friends that I hung out with more and more. I never forgot about Marc; after all, we are best friends. I just couldn’t help but spend less time with him with all the time I was giving to other important things. Things like joining wrestling, being involved in JROTC, and having a girlfriend can really take time away from a guy. I found myself being extremely busy all the time, and I just slowly drifted away from Marc. Then he had his first seizure.

Marc had brain tumors, and it required treatment right away. I was shocked. His mom told me that the doctors would take care of it and he will hopefully be fine. We prayed for him.

High school still kept me busy with thoughts of college coming up. The next time I saw Marc, it was during our senior year. His head was bald from the therapy he went through, but he looked healthy. In fact, he lost weight the previous summer because he spent so much time outside. He told me that he had been seeing a therapist about his shyness. I was so happy that he was doing well. He told me that he missed hanging out with me, and that we should again some time. We never did; I was too busy and forgot. He had more seizures. He didn’t come back to school for a while.

I just kept telling myself that he’s going to be okay. He’s been through this before, and he’ll get through it again. I was sitting in class one day when one of my teachers announced that Marc’s surgery was successful and that we were going to make him “get well” cards to let him know that we were thinking about him. I knew he could do it.

He never came back to school for our senior year. We graduated.

Over the summer, my brother visited Marc to check up on him. I was too busy with my landscaping job to go, and I lived about 50 minutes away with my mom. My brother told me that he’s different now. He can’t be exposed to bright lights or loud sounds because of the risk of getting a seizure. He would not be able to get his license for a long time. However, he was going to finish up high school the next semester to get his diploma. I felt bad for him. I kept telling myself that I would visit him.

I never did.

I went to college. It was the beginning of the semester, and I still needed to turn some forms in. I went to visit my dad to pick something up. Across the street, I saw Marc and his grandma walking into her house. I stopped what I was doing to visit. I sat down and talked to Marc. My brother was right; he was different. The surgeries and treatments took a toll on my best friend. It broke my heart. His speech was slower, he had problems writing my phone number down, and his sense of humor wasn’t there. His grandma told me that he would be doing better from now on. He was finally going to live his life again. I was happy, but at the same time, I felt so guilty for not being there for him when he needed me. It was time for me to be a better friend. Before I left, I told him that I would keep in better contact with him. I was really happy that I ran into him that day. I still am.

A couple of weeks later, I was getting ready to go to bed when I got a text message. It was from a high school friend of mine that I haven’t talked to since graduation. I thought it was strange. I heart froze when I read it. Marc passed away. I cried.

During the funeral, I spent time talking to his parents. I said that I was sorry that I wasn’t there for him. His mother said that it was okay. I was busy with life. Everybody is. She said that Marc understood. She told me that she loved me and that everything was okay. She also told me that I could come visit them anytime. I told her that I loved her too, and that I would.

That was a year ago. I still haven’t found the time to do it.

Please learn something from this story. I know what it’s like to be too busy. Don’t let yourself forget the most important things about life. It’s those things that you take for granted the most, although you don’t realize it. If you missed Take Back Your Time Day, don’t wait till next year to try it out. Try it out today or tomorrow. You’re not going to fall behind in anything.

I love you, Marc.