I was chatting recently at the breakfast table with daughters Lily and Mia about plans for the day. Mia, my string-of-firecrackers-energy kid is always amazed that I find spending several days at the cabin without phone or internet or cable appealing. Or meditating. Or enjoying a cup of hot tea and a good book. Or being retired.
When I told her my plans for the day, which sounded pretty low key compared to hers, she asked me the question she often asks when she contemplates my life. “Aren’t you bored?” To which I replied with my usual answer. “I am never bored!”
Mia laughed and joked that my headstone should read, “She was never bored!” Lily, bless her heart, was shocked at a reference to my future demise, especially such an irreverent one, and reprimanded Mia. But I thought it was funny and perfect. I made them promise that if I ever had a headstone, they would put that on it.
It’s true. I am never bored.
But the conversation made me reflect a bit more deeply. I tried to remember the last time I was aware of feeling bored. Oh, yes, I remembered right away. It was a time years ago when I was going through a dark spell, which I attributed to the evil doings of someone I had had a serious falling out with. I spent months blaming this other person. I thought about it, wrote about it, and talked about it to anyone I could corner to listen.
Eventually, I settled into a rut. Nothing new was happening. I was just retelling the same old victim story. Over and over. Finally, one day I listened to myself and I thought, “I am so bored! I can’t stand myself anymore. If I hear this story one more time I’m going to ... I don’t know what!” That was the end of that. And the beginning of the path that has led me to now.
I learned two things from that period. One was that focusing on myself all the time is boring. Focusing on my problems all the time is excruciatingly boring. When I tired of my story and started paying attention to other people and the world around me, life got more interesting. My own problems moved to a back seat. Later I realized that my problems were largely of my own making, and that I could make a different choice. So they disappeared altogether. Life got better and better.
The second thing I learned was that my friends are better friends than I am. They stuck by me all those months. Long suffering is the term that comes to mind. They listened to me pick apart all that had happened. Again and again. They listened to me lash out with blame in self-righteous fury. Again and again. They could have read every book on the NY Times bestseller list with the hours they spent listening to me. I am awed and humbled by their patience and compassion. I doubt I could match it.
I love my life now. I play a small role in it. The story is so much more interesting that way. And I am never bored.
Related posts: It’s Not About You; God Bless That Ol’ @#&!
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Friday, March 16, 2012
She was Never Bored!
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The blame game never works. I tend to lose patience with people who use crutches - blaming and chemicals. -- my crutch is food ;< and boy do I lose patience with myself!ReplyDelete
Since I don't know where others started their journey, I try not to judge. My patience level with others as well as myself needs a lot of work.
I need to find more patience in my quest for nonboredness.. ;)
I have always said that I have a low threshold for boredom. I don't know how to gain patience ... especially since I suffer from hoofnmouth disease! counting to ten? breathing deeply? verrrry difficult. Learning to listen better would be a huge step... ;)
Life... sigh, and its subsidiaries... whatta trip
You seem to have found what works for you, Galen… good on you!
Carolyn, You are right that everyone has their own journey. For me, boredom ended when I started focusing on other people instead of myself. As for patience, like charity, that begins at home! We tend to focus on our failures instead of on our successes. Breathing deeply is always a good idea! Thanks for your comment.Delete
I'm right there with ya, on all fronts.ReplyDelete
I am with you when we think we are bored, that is a sign that we need to make some changes in our life.
Thank you for sharing your story and sometimes I wished I had the time to be bored. LOL
Not really life is to live and like you say, if we are bored take a look in the mirror first.
Have a great weekend
Carrie, Glad for your company. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Debbie, No kidding about not having time to be bored! Thanks for commenting.
I personally think that bordeom is a choice, we choose our paths and if boredom sets in it's time for a new path. As I see you have learned. What a fantastic life lesson for you, and yes, I've also learned the hard way in life. My ego still wants to take me out once in a while but I have the awareness and try to keep it in check. No more 'poor me' syndrome, there's way to much life has to offer and so much to learn, capture and enjoy... even that nice quiet cuppa tea!ReplyDelete
Cheers, have a wonderful weekend!
darlin, "My ego still wants to take me out..." Great image! Hope you have a great weekend, too. Thanks for commenting.Delete
You got it spot on when you said life got more interesting when you pay attention to other people and the world around you. I didn't realize that too until you said it!ReplyDelete
Inspiring, At the time, I felt so exhausted that I couldn't imagine having any energy to give to anyone. However, once I started I found that my energy increased when I used it to pay attention to others. A big lesson for me! Thanks for your comment.Delete
The last time I was truly, deeply, and totally bored happened the last few years I was working. I was so sick of what I was doing and the routine of it all. I walked the walk necessary for income, but couldn't tell you from one day to the next what I had accomplished.ReplyDelete
I have had that feeling only once since I stopped working. The second year of retirement settled into a habit of too much reading and watching sports on TV. Finally, I realized I had turned into a slug and wanted more out of life. I found a new hobby, a new church, and a new commitment to making each day count.
Boredom is just so.....boring.
Bob, Boredom can give us great advice about our lives in that way, can't it? I went through two periods of feeling, well, if not bored, then stale at work. The first time, I sort of reinvented myself at work and got reinvested. The second time, I knew I was done and ready to retire. As for reading and watching sports on TV, I can see falling into that myself! I'll have to watch out! Thanks for commenting.Delete
I love this post. Probably because I've never experienced boredom, what with my never-ending (too much) to-do list! Funnily enough, my folks always say I'll be remembered by my lists. Sometimes, lists dating back a few years have the same items on them as today's list! :-) The joy of routine. I always have a million things to do and love to write it all down. Childhood habit and a very therapeutic one, I've found.ReplyDelete
You know, my son used to joke about death, until my Mother passed away two years ago when he was 12. Now he cringes to think of losing anyone he loves.
But coming back to the topic of boredom - umm...it does not exist in my vocabulary :D Hugs to you. I so enjoy your writing!
Vidya, For some, lists can be a tyrant or a judge when we use them to point our our failings. I love the way that your lists are a source of joy and grounding. Thanks for your kind words.Delete
Hey! I just found your blog in a round about way, and wow! That post is exactly what I needed to read today. Focusing more on others is a great strategy for letting go of past hurts. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Welcome, Kim! I'm always intrigued by how we find blogs--glad you found mine. And glad you liked this post. I look forward to hearing from you again. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I totally agree with you...and the way I see it, only rocks can be truly bored, and even most of them if they could speak could really share some stories!ReplyDelete
Karen, I've seen some pretty exciting rocks--I wonder if they were bored! Maybe they are telling their stories in their own way! Thanks for commenting.Delete
I have spent the last 2 years quite ill (fatigue is boring) and doing a retrospective of my life attempting to figure out my passion and to work in that area of my life. It was only recently that this felt boring, First I doubled the number of books I am reviewing and I opened myself up to books on any topic - now they are sending books that I would have thought I had no interest in and I would not have purchased on my own...this added some more ideas to my brain...ReplyDelete
Next I took a 3x5 note card and wrote down each old memory or hurt that was cycling through. On Friday afternoons I like to visit all the photography and arts blogs I can find for a mini-vacation. This year I finished my lunch, then started burning the note cards before going on my tour...This past week I found myself singing "This little light of mine" while they burned....some of the note cards were the same old story over and over...I now could see that, and by burning them there was quite a release.
My passion is listening to people - professionally extending my ear - so I started Wise Ears and for the first 9 months it has been a joy to work on and learn new things...
now I am back to needing to market the blog - it is not fun, so I work at making it fun WORK is the operative word here...hmmm the fatigue has started to return big time...So I just put out to the heavens = help me with this and show me the way....
The answer is that I should quit....
The Doctor says I have to quit trying...maybe I have to quit trying this too?
I am rarely bored and it usually means I am about to experience something new...so I am thinking this is the message I am listening for now?
I just so enjoy coming here and hearing what you write Thank you
Patricia, That's true. Sometimes boredom or feeling stale can be the pause before something new and exciting. I hope that's true for you. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I totally enjoyed your thoughts on this one. I can relate to it in many ways due to having a similar moment with a person in my life. You are so right that when you put me behind you and start thinking and doing more for others; it certainly brightens your path. I am like you I am never bored; but sometimes I think I need to slow down and just enjoy a good cup of Hot chocolate and a book. I do sneak in a few moment of that.ReplyDelete
Blessings for an inspiring post!
LeAnn, Like you, I would like to enjoy more of the hot drink/book time. I fit it in here and there. Glad you liked the post. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Galen your post is wonderful.ReplyDelete
I wonder what my headstone would say. I have given it some thought, but I am always changing my mind. It would be a better idea to give it further thought before I decide. After all, once I am gone, I can't change it. But if I go before I decide then whatever people come up with will have to do. It is how I am remembered by others which sums up my life. Then again, it doesn't really matter as long as I live my life as best as I could.
I agree with you. Focusing on myself, my problems and the same thing over and over again is boring. If I have a problem, I prefer to resolve it as soon as I can and cross it off my to do list for good.
I am glad to see you have great friends who stood by you. We would all do well to cherish such gems in our lives!
Thank you for sharing this lovely article!
Irving the Vizier
Irving, Yes, that headstone concept makes us stop and think! I think yours might say, "He was prepared." What do you think?! And I was very lucky to have such patient friends, that's for sure.Delete
Haha! Yeah, or he was ready. :DDelete
what a great happy post. Thanks Galen.....ReplyDelete
When I'm doing so little that I get into my own head, I'm going into a dangerous neighborhood. So I make sure I'm not bored. Getting out of myself, listening to others, is a good way to do that.ReplyDelete
Linda, Ha! A friend told me once my brain is a scary place. He had no idea!Delete
I believe you are so right! Focusing on oneself is boring and I love focusing on everyone around me and that makes my life so exciting.ReplyDelete
I think you hit the nail on the head with this one...excellent post!
Thanks! I've found that the times I feel least like thinking of others are exactly the times when thinking of others will help me the most!Delete
I really love this post! It's a good reminder how, when we have the courage to step outside of ourselves, the world opens up and is a much more interesting, satisfying place. Thanks for reminding me of that! Hope you're well!ReplyDelete
Chrissy, Yes, I'm well, thanks. Hope you are, too. I hadn't thought about it in terms of courage, but when I read your comment, that jumped out at me. Maybe it does take courage to make that first step. I can see that now. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I believe that this quality of never being bored is a sign of intelligence. Look what came out of the realization that you were bored when you were in that dark time.
Lori, I would LOVE to think that there is a connection between not being bored and intelligence! If that's true, then I'm a genius--ha! Thanks for your comment.Delete
Hello Never Bored Friend,ReplyDelete
I love it how Mia picked that up! Very smart girl!
Anyway, I too feel the same way as you on boredom - I am never bored - in fact sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to be bored?
You're right in stating that when we put ourselves in these victim positions for some it does get boring telling the same story for hours on end and remaining the victim. I guess it's boring to be a victim or a martyr.....
Living in the possibiities of life,
Nancy, Yes, Mia is smart...and funny! A great combination. As for the victim role, now that I see that, I quicker to catch it when I fall into that role again. And when I see it in others, I can be more aware of not getting sucked into that story. Thanks for your comment.Delete
By the way, I simply LOVE your new background for spring - I was getting tired of the winter one - guess it was getting boring since I'm on your blog so often.ReplyDelete
Thanks! I was getting tired of winter, too! Hope you won't get bored with this one! I'm going to be experimenting with some different blog designs, so please let me know what you think when you see changes.Delete
LOved this post. I was in a similar place years ago, and now I just love everything. Even the crappy things aren't soooo bad. Also, love your background! I think winter is over here in Northeast Ohio... I mean, we actually didn't have a winter this year... but I do believe what we did experience is over early.ReplyDelete
Sheila, Thanks for your kind words (on my comment on your blog). Yeah, I was ready for a new background, even though it's still cold and wet here! Glad you stopped by!Delete
The Victim role I know a bit about it. After some time it feels quite boring, there is no evolution possible when you put all responsibilities on others.ReplyDelete
Now that I moved away from it, I never feel bored, life is so full of wonderful things to do, discover, contemplate. You are right focusing on others make all the difference.
Take care Galen Pearl and thanks for another nice sharing.
I am with you totally on this one. I am never board and I always have something to do. We just returned from our trip to visit my son. One of the nicest parts of the trip is he does not have internet in his home. We had a blast visiting and playing family games with our granddaughters they do have a television but they only allow educational shows and dvd for learning. The whole time we spent entertaing the girls it was pure pleasure.ReplyDelete
That was a great post Mom. Wish I never felt bored. Maybe its my firecracker energy.ReplyDelete
Hey, sweetie! You are my little firecracker--that's for sure!Delete