Mind Your Own Busyness

By Dawn Brown

Mind Your Own Busyness

You’ve gotta love Facebook’s ‘Memories’ feature. Each morning, the social media app reminds you of things that happened on this very day for as long as you’ve been a member of the Facebook family—all kinds of silly memories you forgot that you forgot. Most of the time they are things that bring a good memory back to life. Often, they are reminders that make you laugh out loud. One of my funniest memories was when I ran into a good friend of mine from high school…literally! I’m not kidding! Apparently, we both drove the same Indiana-back-roads-to-save-five-minutes route to work. Unbeknownst to me, she was in the car directly in front of me at an awkward intersection. I thought she drove forward to make the right-hand turn. Apparently, she drove forward to get a better view of the traffic coming in from the south. So, my premature acceleration led me directly into her back bumper! CrAsH. Luckily, I was only driving about 2 miles per hour, so there was no damage to either car and no one was hurt. But it was pretty hilarious to experience a fender-bender, exit the car to survey the damage, and discover that you literally just ran into one your best friends from days gone by! It was great to see her, and we shared a big laugh and an even bigger hug, right there in the middle of the street. Ah, memories.

You see, memories are great if you can actually remember them. I imagine that I’m not the only one who’s traveled 15-20 minutes to work, parked your car in the lot, and then realized that you didn’t really recall the trip you just took at all. It’s all a blur. It’s a bit frightening, isn’t it? We typically drive the same routes daily. We get in the zone, thinking about all the business that needs to get done in the next 8 hours. Or is it busyness? Business or Busyness? Hmmmm…not since Wheel of Fortune, has one vowel made such a difference. Although, I must admit, ever since I was a teenager, I vowed never to buy a vowel, if I were ever lucky enough to appear with Pat and Vanna on the nearly 48-year-old game show. As a kid, I always thought it was such a waste of $250 bucks! But, in this case, I think the ‘i’ is so vitally important, it might even be worth the investment of a few Benjamins to start minding our own busyness, instead of sharing it with others.

I heard Joyce Meyer speak about this busyness business many years ago—she called it being ‘baptized in busy’—she has such a way with words. And Seth Godin wrote about it in his blog, calling it a scrum. I consulted my sporty, rugby-playing friend, Kylie Jackson, to help me better understand what Godin meant by scrum. Kylie assured me that a scrum is actually one of the more orderly things you’ll ever witness on a rugby field. She’s not wrong. But, watch any rugby match and you’ll soon see that’s not saying much. It all sort of looks like pandemonium to me. Folks, that’s what rugby players called organized. The rest of the world believes that the disorganized struggle is real. Perhaps we can all agree on this, it’s the polar opposite of golf. Outside of sports, a scrum is defined as a madhouse or, at best, disorderly. Thus, why Godin stated, ‘Tactics without strategy is a scrum’. Or, if I may take some artistic license here, ‘Busyness without business is madness’.

The good news is that there is an antidote to all this busyness. It’s a novel little idea called intentionality. Going through life, without an intentional strategy, might make you tired, but it won’t get you anywhere. It’s like running on a treadmill and wondering why your scenery hasn’t changed. You might sweat. You might even get your heart rate up. But, in the end, you haven’t gone anywhere…and you’re exhausted to boot. That’s how critical strategy is. We end up at our destination either by accident or on purpose. Intentionally combining tactics with strategy will show the world that Grant County means business.

I think I’ve made a case that this busyness business must stop. Alas, there’s hope! You can change things, just by starting small. Try driving to work or the store via a different path than usual. Go back to a restaurant that you’ve avoided because you got bad service 25 years ago. Shop locally instead of ordering online. Donate your time, talent, and treasure to a cause or organization that is meaningful to you and makes a difference in our community. Simply put, you must make an intentional decision to truly live where you live! It might require that you give yourself permission to rediscover Grant County again—like you’re getting to know her for the first time, seeing this place with a fresh lens. Maybe the reason some things are broken is because we were ‘baptized in busy’ for so many years that we literally neglected to see what was breaking and lost sight of what needed fixing. We were here, but we weren’t present—just like our absent-minded jaunts to work. Perhaps the act of truly living where we live will help us love where we live once again. #RediscoverGrantCounty

In a recent design thinking session with about 50 local community leaders, we brainstormed a list of community assets throughout all of Grant County. We thought about what each city and town has to offer and took an informal inventory.  You might be surprised at how many things make our quality of place come to life.  Like rural sociologist, Ben Winchester, once said, “We don’t live in the middle of nowhere, we live in the middle of everywhere.”

Well, that fact is about to become a reality.  The Community Foundation is currently taking an inventory of all those assets and we’ll be doing our best to make those public in some form, although we’re not sure exactly what that will look like just yet.  However, we do believe it should be easy to find and share the assets that make Grant County worth (re)discovering. After all, intentionally focusing on all that’s right with our little corner of the world is not just a worthy assignment for us, but a worthwhile use of your time as well.  So, think about how you can truly live where you live this month as both football and festivals begin again. Make a plan, invite some friends, and live life on purpose—locally!

I hated running into my friend Jenny, accidentally…with my car. But, I’m glad I did.  Since that day I’ve run into her many more times, intentionally, at restaurants. We still share big laughs, but not in the middle of the street anymore—those days are over.  Because, like community pride, friendships shouldn’t be by accident, they deserve to be on purpose.

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