Sometimes my mind feels like an abandoned junkyard and sometimes it feels like a rollercoaster of emotions stuck on a loop. But no matter which analogy fits better, I still get bored.
Every day this week I’ve been out of bed by 5AM because of the fire academy. I’ve never been a morning person. The only times I’ve had to get up early was when I worked at a supermarket, when I went on a bike trip, and when Lotus was a puppy. In those times I launched promptly into a busy day. Well now I get up, say bye to Sung, and then…I have…the day. Stretching blankly ahead of me.
I take Lotus on a walk and clean the house and run errands and make dinner. My summer ECE classes just ended and next semester doesn’t begin for another month. Sometimes I text or call my friends, but none of them live in this town. Mostly I just put The Office on and doodle.
The older I get, the more I understand what a great privilege it is to be bored. It’s a blessing to have the luxury of free time. But the older I get, the more I struggle to keep myself busy. When I was a kid it felt effortless.
When I was a kid, my dad did not allow my brother and I to say “I’m bored.” Well, it’s not that we weren’t allowed to say it. But if we ever did, we were given a list of chores and tasks to complete before we could finish the sentence. My dad has the puritan work ethic and believes in using time productively.
“If you’re bored,” he would say playfully, “it must mean you want to help me out in the yard!” I quickly learned to entertain myself unless I felt like pulling weeds.
That’s how I learned to enjoy solitude as a child. As an adult I still don’t mind being alone. Also I know this phase of my life won’t last forever because I’ll get a job soon.
But sometimes I resent being trapped in my mind. In the empty hours I want to sprint to the nearest distraction. I crave mental stimulation. I don’t have anyone to send me into the yard to pull weeds…
Anyways, what does it really mean when I’m “bored?”
Ultimately, it means I’m tired of riding the looping rollercoaster of my thoughts. That I’m sick of listening to the repetitive chatter in my mind. But if I’m weary of my thoughts, it might mean I’m actually closer to seeing past them. Maybe instead of avoiding boredom, I can learn to see it as a neon exit sign pointing a way off the rollercoaster.
Boredom doesn’t have to be an affliction nor does it need to be suppressed every second. I think it could be an opportunity to embrace my self. Right now my title is aspirational because it’s not exactly blissful yet. But I think it will be! This is my present and I don’t want to fast forward it.