By Laura Keil Publisher / Editor

I’ve been reflecting lately on my own life and also looking at people around me and wondering how we all got so busy. For some, it’s multiple commitments. For others, just one. The 12-hour pipeline shifts are an obvious example. It’s unfortunate how the 12-6 schedule made it difficult if not impossible for visiting workers to integrate much into the community. But I see it with people outside the pipeline too. This urgent desire to “get ahead.” Get ahead to what? I wonder. It’s great that folks are keen to work and volunteer, but what are we losing by being so unavailable? How is this busyness changing our communities?

I pose these as honest questions, ones I don’t have the answer to but ones I feel are important to consider. I believe we become busy because we want to help – help our families, help our communities, help ourselves. But there’s a tipping point.

In my own life, I usually pack it so full that there’s no time to consider new connections or spontaneous activities, and I reflect how that squeezes out certain things by default. Dropping in to visit people I don’t see often, for example. Usually my lifestyle becomes less healthy – I don’t exercise as much and don’t eat as well. Sleep suffers too, that foundation of health. It also means we may not have time to help someone in need, or even just have a new conversation, because we’re rushing, busy trying to chase some undefined goal of “wellness.”

What if instead of wellness, our goal was connection? What if the goal was a stronger community – a stronger country – where we worked, volunteered and played more as teams and less as individuals?

Perhaps, what it really comes down to, is being more intentional about creating healthy, inclusive communities where more people experience a sense of belonging and mutual respect. Where spontaneity and inclusion are the norm.

What are your thoughts? Do you think busyness is interfering in our communities? Or are the busy workers and volunteers what’s holding it together?

A friend of mine, who has since passed away, used to joke about people being “Valemount busy.” People are so busy, he’d reflect. First they meet friends for coffee at the A&W. Then they have lunch with other friends at the Gathering Tree. Then they head to the bakery. We often laughed about being “Valemount busy.”

That’s a form of busy I can get behind.