Being bored was not permitted in my childhood household. Any version of or indication that the words “I’m bored” were to be voiced were met with an immediate command to grab a rag and wipe the baseboards or, worse yet, clean the bathrooms. So, I learned not to voice it and never to think it.
My days were always jam packed with things to do; some were required tasks dictated by firm looks, but most were fun adventures in my head just waiting to happen. I loved getting up early and riding my bike around the neighborhood, feeding Papa Louie’s chickens, reading a book under the big trees in the front lawn, climbing up into my tree house and looking straight up at the sky through the sassafras leaves…there was never a dull moment. None of these events are earthshaking or monumental, just little moments that collect to make a fine, non-boring day. I also learned the value of solitude. I gave myself time to myself. That was a lesson worth learning.
As I got older, my stack of books on my nightstand got taller. The local bookstore and library became favorite haunts. I chose a bookstore as a client and teaching as a career so I could get even closer to the good stuff. A similar pattern erupted with fabric and yarn and cookware. There’s always something that wants to mix and hatch—and I’m quite excited about it all. Mind you, it’s not non-stop busyness—there’s ample quiet, downtime to recharge my creative batteries, daydream, and sleep!
Having an overflowing list of possibilities is how I function. Yes, I have to work to limit the overwhelm and chaos, but it’s worth it. I make lists, but have learned to keep them short. Three items on a small scrap of paper guide my daily adventures and give some modicum of focus. There’s no real obligation to complete the list or even to look at it… it’s just a suggestion. I do much better with suggestions rather than ultimatums. At age sixty, I enjoy “being in the moment” more than ever and let that govern my schedule.
When I go to a restaurant or any kind of food purveyor, I often ask… “What should I not leave today without trying.” That opens new doors and lots of windows every time. Spotify gives me the chance to play “what’s new” and try to figure out if I want to hum the lyrics. Pinterest provides fresh visual images and interesting ideas from around the world. When I was in the classroom, every day was a new adventure with lots to think about during and afterwards. I appreciate the “rush” of pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. Maybe that’s why I’m never bored… who knows.
This time of the year marks new beginnings for me. It’s probably because I always connect the end of summer with the beginning of the school year. It’s an opportunity to look at time spent, and look forward to how I want to spend it in the future. Assess, reevaluate, re-think, create anew. Now that I’m retired, this ritual is more rich and exciting. What do I want to accomplish this Fall? The challenge is to keep the list short and never boring:
1. Design and create 25% of my wardrobe by hand.
2. Exercise every day (oh bullshit… maybe every other day)
3. Read a book a week. Yes!
4. Play in the garden.
5. Waste less time on the internet.
That’s it. I’d love to hear how you broach Fall and any issues with boredom. Please feel free to leave a comment.