Breaking Out Of Boredom

Boredom is a funny thing. One day we’re loving life, the next we’re feeling stuck. We wake up in the morning filled with ideas and by 4:30 they all seem inadequate. It’s what triggers fights, writer’s block, depression, all that fun stuff. Boredom. How does this happen?

Our society, especially the under-50 set, has been pegged as notoriously lazy.  But you know…I honestly don’t think so. I DON’T think we live in a lazy world. Just because our meals are prepared by salad bars and take-out windows, just because we can run our fingers over a few buttons and find the square root of 487/84, it doesn’t mean we’re lazy. It means that the reality of our world is that it’s all-access. It’s fast-paced and wide open and we’re in it. Lazy? It’s not lazy. It’s perfunctory.

And in this perfunctory world in which we live, it is becoming increasingly easier to sink into boredom. Why? Because we live in extremes. Our sense of adventure is skewed. If it’s not huge, not a grand decision, then it’s not an adventure.

Sometimes I feel as if I am getting boring. As is with most things, I feel it in a reactionary sense. This is probably not true. I am probably not boring. But I feel it…I feel this tiny scurrying in my soul like a baby mouse running on hardwood floor. I feel as if I am teetering on the edge, as if I am being identified with so much on the outside that my journey on the inside is lacking some stimuli.

And then I realize that all I need to do is notice and live in my adventures. Not a huge trip to a fancy island or a jaunt off to Rome. But tiny, microscopic adventures from the inside out.  Little moments that take my breath away.  When I do not notice those, I feel a fire missing. And that scares me a lot. Boredom is scary – it can feel like a journey into anonymity.

My “adventure” moment came when a friend asked me to sing in her yoga class a few months back. It wasn’t a big flashy experience, but the sweetness of the moment took me by surprise, and made me realize that waiting for adventure to strike is a choice. Numbing to experience is a choice. You don’t have to sing in savasana to feel that shift inside you. Give a stranger an unexpected compliment and watch their face light up. Add a sprint to your normal run. Try bee pollen in your smoothie! It doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, the more instances we learn to see as exciting, the more thrilling each day becomes.

Forget the old notion that being “easy to please” is a naive trait with a negative connotation. When everything contains a touch of fireworks, it’s quite difficult to stay aloof. It just takes a bit of alternative thinking. Every moment can be an adventure if we allow it. The large sweeping gestures are not the adventure, the small moment-by-moment steps are: the thrill of being able to shift your focus, the smile that can change your mood, and the realization that we’re all on the same side. There is nothing so beautiful as the present and who we are in this very moment. Oh so battered by everything and nothing, we’re all just taking in our world as it comes. And if we are aware enough, we can make even the most microscopic or mundane of experiences electric.

Take what is truly an adventure and redefine it. Doors and windows and sunroofs will open up to you: this is a promise. While some of what we do might not seem like much – an eye-opening conversation with friends, a five-minute massage in the middle of the workweek, helping an old lady cross the street, a song in the dark, speaking our true feelings instead of our false reactions – these are our daily adventures. These are all we are. And so very far from “boring.”

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