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Summer and social clutter

I'm one of the only people I know who actually has to brace himself for summer. Gorgeous weather, sunshine, active social calendars—while I recognize all are good things, part of me just wants to hunker down until it's dark and quiet again.

Everyone has motivators. I'm freshly realizing that a big one for me is being done. Usually, that's what I'm after, regardless of whether I'm enjoying the journey or not. That can result in high productivity, but it can equally contribute to laziness, as well as making me an impatient pain in the ass. Summer isn't about being done, so it's a big disconnect for me. I want to push the sun below the horizon and push events off my calendar. But being done isn't always good, and even when it is, it's not really achievable—there's always another thing, and that's really the way things are supposed to be.

Regardless, I'm stressed. This week has only two days without social commitments (and just one day for barlow_girl). Next week has three, but it's not here yet, I've already had to decline another event because we were booked, and I have two more "let's get togethers" pending in my inbox. The following week looks about the same. I joke about simply hating people, but even though that's something to legitimately be on my guard against, it falls flat as a complete explanation of my stress—if these commitments weren't with people I love and enjoy, I'd have batted them aside. Added to the feeling in my gut that tells me "I can't take this" is the question "what are we doing and why?"

We've made what we believe to be good, intentional decisions about spending time with others. But in the big picture, I'm questioning the point. Are we simply sharing meals, stories, and diversions? Is that what we're supposed to fill our lives with? Is there more? If so, what is it and are we getting to it? If not, are we just keeping busy? Honestly, I don't know what we're doing, and thus have no way of gauging how we're doing or how much we should be doing it.

Just as we're trying not to cover every surface of our home with stuff just because it's there, I don't want us to be filling our calendar with social clutter just because it has blank spaces. In order to keep from doing that, we need to know how to distinguish clutter, and in order to do that, we need to know what's valuable and why. As I said, I think we've made some great first steps, and perhaps having done so raises the next set of questions. Once we've engaged with others, what do we want to do?

Comments

I'm with you on bracing for summer. I'm already looking forward to the fall...

It would be interesting to know what these decisions you allude to are. (And, for you, analyzing them might help to show what your goals really are; it seems you've figured out at least part of it, even if you're not quite sure what the underlying nature of those choices are yet.)
LOL.

I woke up this am thinking, "Hey, now Lee and Amy and I can get together."


Let's wait on that a few weeks. :)
I've read this twice now and I'm putting it in my memories. It's exactly what is on my heart right now. What is the role of friendship - the social aspect is great, but what ELSE.
And that's exactly why I think the three of us should try to get something on the calendar.

Maybe

Maybe you can get friends together to work at a soup kitchen, or go help build a habitat for humanity house or something of that sort. Service meetings are just as fun as getting together to play cards. Although, don't get too overly perfect. There is a place for getting together just to socialize, and some frivolity has it's place. There is a time to dance, a time to cry...read Eccl and know that there is a place and time. We have 5 kids, and getting together with friends is harder than it used to be and we cherish some of the old frivolous days. Balance. That's what is important. Make getting together worship and it's a gift to others, make getting together a recharge to be able to serve others, and it's honoring God.
Agreed. Email me at work and let me know what the week of the 16th looks like for you guys.
I feel like we suffer from the opposite-- we tend to avoid all social interaction because H & I prefer each other's company to the point that we sometimes shun people or avoid going places for fear of running into people we don't really want to hang out with.

Wanna trade?
That surprises me—I've always thought of you as an extravert. But it's also reassuring to know that if someone as outgoing as you has a less demanding social calendar than the one we're keeping, maybe I'm not totally crazy or weak for sometimes feeling overwhelmed.
:) I definitely have introvert tendencies. And I'm also particularly protective of H's time given her work schedule.
An impatient PITA? You? No way! I think we both may have learned that behavior at the feet of the master- you know who I mean.

Hey, when did you get so deep anyway? Would barlow_girl (can't get that lj-user thing to work in comments) even recognize the kid that used his Shogun Warriors to shoot plastic stars at me?

I love you.
Almost nothing that can't be explained by 30 years or so. I love you, too.
30 years- AAACK! I feel so old now. Must. go. take. Geritol.
"But in the big picture, I'm questioning the point."

Two main points. With Christian friends, you gather to encourage each other. By living life together, you learn what needs you can pray for, and what blessings you can rejoice with them over.

With non-Christian friends, you can develop a level of trust where you can talk about spiritual things, and eventually share the Gospel with them. Also, you're letting them see Christ in you, and that alone might get them hungering after God!

Sometimes it takes a lot of play to get to those points of intimacy with people. But that's the intention of my friendships. :)