I honestly never thought in a million years I would ever utter the words “I’m bored” in any sort of seriousness.
There has been so much pride taken in not knowing this emotion, so much smugness in the face of those who are plagued by it, so much confidence in the quality of my lifestyle, so much theological ‘how could you possibly be, when this whole thing is such a gift’ reflection . . .
& yet there I was, sitting across from a girlfriend, spilling my tortured guts out about my current ailment: I have been so fucking bored lately.
Not like a ‘bored in my marriage’ or ‘too much time on my hands’ kind of specific boredom, but a general sense of ‘k what now?’ And I feel AWFUL about it. I remember the conversations with my mother when I was little — the ones about how boredom is a choice and there’s no excuse for it.
I remember the solutions: go outside, draw a picture, write a story, help me make shepherd’s pie, make your bed . . . but I also remember the determination of the offending party to, at all costs, remain unenthused about anything.
That’s what this feels like to me — like I’ve made some sort of deal with the devil and i’ve swore to remain impartial to my life as it happens around me, no matter what opportunities are presented to me.
The strangest part of it all, however, is that when I said those words out loud, the girlfriend I was confiding in uttered them right back.
There we were; two happy, fun-loving, self-sufficient, adventurous independant ladies (with husbands and careers we love, to boot!) complaining about not having anything to do. Even worse, complaining about the things we do have to do as if they were mind-numbing.
We went back and forth on this (for hours). Was it the people we were spending time with, bringing us down? Was it, perhaps, that life is just one big dull kiddie-ride? Was it because we were suffering low self-esteem? Was it because we both ‘settled down’ with pets and partners and house plants?
Luckily (& thankfully) we are two highly educated and self-aware females and after the obligatory complaint session that seems to be so common place in female friendships we looked at each other and said so, what do we need to do to take more responsibility for exciting ourselves?
Shauna Niequist writes in her book Present Over Perfect, “if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without realizing it.” In other words, by saying yes to every opportunity, every phone call, every email, every new project, every every every, we end up saying no to the things that are what sustain us, what fill us, what light us up. And when we are living a life that is void of doing the things we love — well, there’s that phrase again:
Oftentimes the things we love doing but have left on the shelf require a certain amount of courage to start again (or try). It’s easier (always easier) to just sit down in front of the television and let someone else’s story distract you than it is to go out an live your own.
But, I wonder when the last time was you were made to feel uncomfortable — challenged, even — and simultaneously thought to yourself about how disinterested you were?
Probably never. Just a hunch. It’s hard to be blasé when your adrenaline is pumping or your body is rocking or your spirit is soaring.
The fact is, we (and by we I mean me, obv) have become so lazy when it comes to taking care of ourselves. I preach about self-care constantly, and I have always felt that I’m pretty good at it, but what I failed to recognize is that self-care isn’t just getting 10,000 steps and 8 hours sleep and putting on pj’s at 6pm and drinking $6 kombucha — it’s about fulfillment. & if you’re not fulfilled . . . I’ll risk the backlash and just say it: your self-care is pretty shitty (fizzy weird tea or not).
Taking responsibility for our own enchantment is the only way we will ever be satisfied with the life we find ourselves living. If we just let life happen to us those days will come where we find ourselves muttering under our breath the words every parent reeled at: I’m bored.
If, on the other hand, we can cultivate a habit of following our interests, of leaving room for spontaneity, of putting ourselves out there and taking uncomfortable risks, of being playfully curious, of making time — mandatory time — for the things that bring us joy . . . that is where the spiritless endeavour of life becomes a holy playground.
I’m bored becomes I’m blessed.