You are the spiritual equivalent to 2-day old coffee.
Bitter, maybe, but it’s already in the pot, and I’m exhausted and late to work and I need to wake up and smell the chores that lie ahead of me.
You are that “meh” feeling, that restless itch of something better to do, somewhere more exciting to be. The green is greener over there, it’s that other season or year (or decade?). You are the ever-receding goal, the goal of having goals, the magic trick you’ve seen a million times.
Or, you may be the dream that hasn’t yet come to fruition. Or that one day that did not disappoint and so you want it to come back. You are a natural yearning for excitement; the reach for glory and the fatigue with routine; the existential yawn as time yodels on—and I’m so afraid it won’t, and I can’t stop thinking. You are every kid whose parent has said, “If you can’t find something to do, I’ll give you something to do.”
But yes, as an adult…I still get restless. Bored. Especially during lockdown during a global pandemic. Oh yes, especially then.
Sometimes I get a whiff of you and think depression. And yes, you are that, too.
But you can also mean I am vulnerable in a different way. I am afraid. I expect more, I crave affection, my responsible adult body aches to roll down a grassy hill away from whatever feelings just won’t behave. Maybe I need sleep or to cultivate a new hobby, and I am too distracted by pinging text messages and the dizzying kaleidoscope of information dancing in all directions.
Sometimes I can’t remember to make choices to enrich the moment. This moment. Now. Like, I’m not in my body. I want! I need! I long to FEEEL—but how can I when I’m not in my body?
Feel what exactly, is the question. That is the stuff between the moments…
Having spent a decade and a half working with people grappling with substance use and addiction, I believe that you, Boredom, are as red as flags come. You may be as simple as a short attention span, or as complex as a blush of childhood innocence or a freewheeling moment of defiance or a fantasy of sustained purpose…or pockets of unexplored pain.
Old dead feelings just sitting around, like 2-day old coffee…
I can’t count the number of clients I’ve worked with who feel “fine” except…a tad bored. Not sure why exactly. Maybe all of us wish to feel that rush, the trapeze moment of bright new day,
Or most of us.
My father used to say he had never felt bored in his life. True story, that. Before his long decline and death in 2012, my funny, sarcastic, introspective, and historian dad enjoyed quiet and even solitude. He fondled old books and read catalogues and bibliographies and hummed while cooking in his baggy apron alone in the kitchen. “I don’t get bored,” he announced, mocking me. “I’m too busy thinking about 16th century English history.”
In a way I envied him. I mean, I get lost in books but never that lost. Sometimes a book does fit the boredom bill. Other times…I need to write.
Write my boredom. Or not write of that but instead what I hear.
Baby birds? Oh, there’s that old crow that chased away the magnificent and raucous flock of parrots. What do I see now? Hey, the cat chasing a paper clip on the floor. The light of the afternoon, a gold settling into corners and grooves. Smell the honeysuckled air mixed with car exhaust. Move my body into a stretch or yoga pose. Watch branches move and never leave (excuse the pun).
Inevitably, as I write of Now, whatever feelings lurk step boldly into the light. First, it’s: Why, hello, Boredom—and next: Oh, I see a whole party, then?
In writing or journaling, we see you for what you are, and aren’t. We breathe room into the space. We allow…and the ambiguous stuff of boredom recedes.
May as well brew some fresh coffee, I think.
I feel more grounded now. Mm.