I’m Bored

When I was a kid, THAT was my favorite sentence, “I’m bored!”  Whatever I was doing as a kid, there was usually some moment in time where I felt, SO BORED.  My mother’s answer was always, “go play outside,” or “go read a book.”  I always felt like, “play outside?” how is that going to be exciting?  It’s just a yard with trees and branches and stuff.

 

However, I distinctly remember reading a book that changed a lot of that.  It was a book that forced me to look inside, for the first time in my young life.

 

I can’t remember the book’s title to this day, but I do remember a moment from it.  There was a character – a boy, I think – who had to do some Mr. Miyagi-type stuff for some reason.  There must’ve been a tutor or a mentor of some sort, but I can’t remember him or her either.  What I remember is that the Mr. Miyagi-type character roped off a small section of the yard for the boy.  Literally, he put 4 stakes in the ground, connected the stakes with rope, and told the boy to go sit in the square.  He said the equivalent of, “There’s a whole world in that square.  Sit in there until you find it.”  The boy does and at first, of course, finds nothing.  Nothing, but more boredom.  He tosses and turns, fights it out, gets frustrated, and finally relaxes into the box that “contains the world.”  Shortly after that, he saw an ant within the square.  He followed the ant with his eyes until it met up with other ants and then they all walked back to the ant hill together.  The boy watched the ants work and live, for hours on end, completely fascinated because there was – indeed – a world within that square of yard.

 

It’s all right in there. Right next to the Lyme’s disease…

 

I never forgot that piece of the story, though I can’t remember the book, or any of the characters names.  I think it was the first time that I connected to the idea that the biggest struggles are the internal ones.

 

I have a favorite movie called, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, it’s an adult version of the boy in the yard-box theme.  A young gymnast is talented, but arrogant.  He pushes the boundaries on everything.  He never treats women with respect, nor does he treat his own body with any.  Until, one day, he’s in a horrific motorcycle accident.  His leg is shattered and he’s told that he’ll never compete in gymnastics again.  He goes through the requisite depression, until he meets his new mentor – Nick Nolte.  (Oh, how we all wish Nick Nolte could be our mentor!)  Through odd sessions on “what is the self” and paying attention to one’s life and surroundings (all taught in a gas station!) the gymnast slowly comes back.  Eventually, he competes (and wins) again.  The story is the author’s own.  It has become a cult hit of a book and a movie for those who are searching for more.

 

 

These days, I am never bored.  I make my own schedule and I DO sit here wondering, am I never bored because I’m an adult and therefore, finally, the master of my own time?  Or is it something else?  Have I discovered a way to live out the ideas of my head in a fully satisfying way?  Through writing, perhaps?  I’m not sure.  I do know when  people say, “Oh, I could never not have a 9-5 job.  I’d lose myself, I need the structure,” when I hear that, I laugh.  I think if I every hold down another 9 to 5er (and I’ve had many) I may simply lose my mind.

 

The only time I’m bored anymore, is when I’m doing something I shouldn’t be pursuing.  Really.  That’s when the boredom sneaks in.  When the project isn’t quite right, when the freelance gig has had all of its creativity sucked right out of it, that’s when I get bored.

 

I know Google has this philosophy (and a lot of companies are also starting to follow it) where a certain percentage of the work an employee does can be ON ANYTHING.  Literally, it doesn’t have to be based on the employee’s sphere of expertise, it doesn’t have to do with the employee’s department, it literally has nothing to do with the company’s bottom line.  Google believes that allowing for such free thinking, “play” time, eventually leads to innovation.  The non-work related time is the most valuable time that their company can spend.  In other words, the less bored their employees are, the better the company does.

 

What about you?  Are you still feeling bored in your life from time to time?  Or have you kicked boredom to the curb?

 

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Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish.  It’s usually not boring.  If you’d like to follow the madness, you can do so by clicking the “follow” button at the top of the page.

 

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You might also like:

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

 

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Photo creds:

meadow, peaceful-warrior

 

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58 thoughts on “I’m Bored

  1. Up until sometime in hight school I would also say that ALL time. Considering my life was filled with going to movies, skating 3 night a week, spend every day at the beach in the summer months, horse back riding, cleaning house from top to bottom before asking my parents for money to go to said movies or skating (we didn’t have an allowance or set chores, my sister and I developed this habit to make it harder for our parents to say no. After all, we did do all the work to earn it) and taking an hour walk every day. Not to mention flag team practice, games and dances, and the fact that I was a very intense book worm.

    When would I have time to be bored????

    Oddly enough, despite all this activity, I was very shy. So I bought a book on overcoming shyness. There was a line in there, the only actually line I remember.

    Only boring people get bored.

    But, wait, I get bored all the time! From that moment on, anytime I started to think that phrase, “I’m bored” I would grab something. i would grab a book, I would go to the kitchen and do dishes, I would go for a walk (that may actually be where I developed the habit of walking every night). I would find something, anything, to do so I wouldn’t say or thing those words.

    I think the real meaning is that constantly complaining about boredom is boring to other people. Instead, when you grab something else to do, you start developing more things to talk about aside from the boredom itself.

    Because really, I had not cause to ever be bored with all I had going on. Just listing it makes me wonder how I found the time for it all.

    Only these past could of years have I started to feel that sense of boredom. I need to do something about that.

      1. “only boring people get bored.” oh, lawd, that’s so good. so good. and i would read a whole post about what you just said above. it’s fascinating, actually. and you are 100% right about changing your activity or what you’re doing in the moment to kill the boredom too. it also helps the writer’s block and i think, life overall. i also loved ‘constantly complaining about being bored is boring to other people.’ anyhoo, you MUST do something about that boredom. it’s screaming for you to! loool. thanks for the great comment, xo, sm

  2. Sweet Mom only time im bored is when i get a day liek today, when i have to spend half my day doing something i dont like..the 9-5 job is not bad but when you do same thing every day not a drop of a word holding any resemblance to creativity …it gets pretty boring..though once im home i never get bored….
    then there are days at work when im so so busy i dont even know what being bored and having a tea slowly and peacefully means…

    1. i’m so with you, whenever i had a job that i hated – waiting tables, mindless temping, etc — if i was busy enough, i was okay. i could get through it. but, if the work was slow, i wanted to off myself. when i have my own time… i’m never really bored these days. there’s always something to do… xoxo, sm

    1. time off, for me, is SOOO different than boredom. BUT, i am seldom bored these days. can’t wait to crack your book! just finished my last one, so i start on yours tonight. xoxo

    1. thank you, stacie. that means a lot especially coming from you. let’s hope at least one publisher feels the same. sigh. i have just about everything on my body crossed right now. yes, i just said that. xoxo, sm

  3. I am currently home bound while recovering from surgery. I would go crazy if not for the laptop. Boredom is good in small doses. Your post made me remember when my son was about 6 years old. In that whiney, kid voice he complained “Mom, I’m so boring!” He couldn’t understand what he’d said that I thought was so funny.

    1. ok, that’s hilarious. completely hilarious. oh, i feel you. when i’m without the internet for even a couple of days, i start to go bananas, unless i’ve consciously said i’m going off the grid. it has become madness! lol. anyway, i hope you are recovering nicely. being bed bound/ housebound is enough to drive anyone batty. much love, sm

  4. “The only time I’m bored anymore, is when I’m doing something I shouldn’t be pursuing.”
    That line JUMPED out at me.
    I am actually having a moment this morning, brewing an angsty blog post in my mind.
    Right now I do have a 9-5, but I am beginning to think that I may not be able to do this for the rest of my life. And that’s cool with me, but the question is- how will I do it?
    I guess I’ll just figure it out, over time.

    1. oh, it’s not easy. and what i left out, is that i can’t do the ‘no consistent 9-5/ w-2’d income’ without slight panic attacks. i mean, all the time, i think about money and how i need more of it. it’s a trade off for sure. but, i remember how miserable i was in those jobs and i want to try and not go back, if i can avoid it… you have to make peace with the chaos, i think — in order to do anything that’s not really stable. xo, sm

  5. “I’m bored” was my favorite refrain too as a kid. These days I too find myself drifting if I have to do something I don’t want to. Except when I write. When I write, I am happy. I wish I had a job that involved only writing! Perhaps someday I will.

    1. me too! i have to make sure i get the writing in and not just get bogged down with researching and reading because the writing is where the real joy comes. it’s still work, but joyous work. and i like you – look forward to the day where it sustains me financially too. time will tell. xo, sm

    1. there is something to that whole, ‘boredom is a state of mind, thing.’ truly, i think there is. if you’re bored, you have to unbore yourself. lool. that’s my clunky way of saying it, anyway. much love, second mother, much love. sm

  6. I continuously get bored…with everything. If I wasn’t too lazy to take steps to make things more exciting, I could probably fix it myself.

    Good post. That book you read as a kid sounds good. Did you try googling the storyline?

    1. you know, wendos, i have googled that storyline because i SO want to know what that book was. but, alas, i’ve never been able to find it. and i usually come up with my answers through a google search. who knows, maybe i’ll stumble across it one day. oh…and i loved your fall foliage photos. xoxo, sm

      1. That’s too bad and yeah, maybe you’ll come across it someday when you least expect it. 🙂

        Glad you liked the pics SM. I just got myself a new camera, just in time for fall! xo

    1. ‘i have found that when i’m bored i’m usually thinking about myself too much.’ oh, a gem, a gem, that line, allan. totally, totally some truth there! and the peaceful warrior is a huge fave movie of mine too. xo, sm

  7. Not sure if I’d call it boredom but I do have periods of “unrest” for lack of a better word. Like I shouldn’t be doing this or I’m waiting for the next thing — know what I mean? Anyway, I loved this post, moms — the story of the little boy with the ants — so sweet and inspiring — and I’ve not seen Peaceful Warrior but I will try to find that now. I love those kind of movies — that inspire and make you feel good. Have you see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Very inspiring and you were too today — thank you!!

    1. i just put ‘best exotic marigold hotel’ in my netflix queue because of you! lool. seriously, we should get it in a week or so. you will LOVE peaceful warrior. it’s completely great. and i loved the way you put this, ‘periods of unrest…and like you’re waiting for something.’ i totally know what you mean. i have that, ‘feeling like i’m waiting for something’ right now, but i think i know why that is. xoxo, sm

  8. I think I might still be happily immersed in those little squares and still looking at all those tiny worlds. (Some of us never really do grow up)
    And I’m fortunate to be doing (mostly) self-directed, creative work – and I’m grateful for it. And your words make me realize how lucky I am.

    Inspiring post, Sweet Mother!

    1. really glad you liked it, draw and shoot. i admire anyone who has both the capacity and the tenacity to do creative work. thanks for reading and also for commenting. xo, sm

  9. Hmm, Brigitte’s comment reflects my thoughts, too. I don’t get bored, per se, but have a restless feeling that I should be doing something else sometimes.

    I also wonder if we’re so overstimulated by all the shiny things in the modern world that a relatively quiet spell gets called “boredom” when it really isn’t.

    1. i think kids mistake that quiet for boredom more often than adults or at least centered adults. i remember as a kid it was so hard for me to just be still. not so much anymore. now i’m like an old fart who is always going, ‘turn that down.’ i literally think i have craved quiet as i’ve gotten older. so strange. xo, sm

  10. I used to be perpetually bored as a child, probably because I didn’t know what would pique my interest. These days, I know what squares I need to get into. It’s the getting in that’s the problem. Lovely post, as always 🙂

  11. Did you see those cloud formations this morning? Get a load of the cat washing herself. How long will it take the dog to figure out my husband’s eating again? How do I make that look metallic with my .99 cent watercolor kit? Bored? Oh, yeah, another one of the things I gave up for Lent eons ago. Nope, I’m not Catholic, just like giving things up for Lent! xoxoM

    1. i just learned what in the feck a ‘honey boo boo’ is and i’m afraid i may never recover… good gawd. no. no. no. but, then, of course, no one listens to me. sigh. xoxo

    1. lol. you just reminded me of a line i heard out of the mouth of a french drag queen in montreal. the whole night she spoke and sang in french, which we found delightful. then she got a little tipsy. it started to rain very hard outside and in english she goes (with the skirt up over her rear as she threw herself across the stage speaker, i might add) “it’s raining, it’s pouring, my sex life is boring!” i never forgot that queen and that moment. it was hilarious and beautiful for so may different reasons. loool. xoxo, sm

  12. I never have been that bored in life. I’m sure there were times growing up, but I don’t really remember those times as much, they were boring anyway though. I think what helps me is I’m always trying to put my self in whatever situation I’m dealing with. Whether it’s music, TV, movies, books and other forms of entertainment, I try to find a connection between the characters and me, and the people I know. Am I like one of the characters? And if so, who in my life is similar to the other characters? This means I usually have a vested interest in what is going on. The only problem with this is it tends to help bring on the water works.

    1. oh, i know, i know, jon. i so hear you on this. sometimes i catch myself crying at movie PREVIEWS and that’s really where i go, ‘what in the feck is wrong with me? honestly. i’ve just been manipulated by hollywood.’ but, sigh, it happens more often than i like to acknowledge. xo, sm

  13. I don’t think I’ve been bored since I first really ‘got’ books at the age of 8. Like you Mum, I can’t remember the name of the book or the names of any of the characters but I can still see one seen in all its glory. The story is set in Australia somewhere and two kids, siblings, are caught in a bushfire. The older sister flees to the train line with her little sister. She lies down between the tracks, protecting her little sister with her own body as the bushfire burns over them. They survived. I’ve never been able to work out if real people would survive in-between the railway lines but in my head it’s still sharp and /real/. No film or piece of television has ever had that effect on me. 🙂

    1. isn’t that so interesting, meeks? the way we can remember scenes from books like that, even if we don’t remember the book itself? i find that so fascinating and especially when we read it so long ago. the book i’m talking about i must’ve read over 30 years ago. so, so fascinating. thank you for sharing that bushfire one with me. i can see why you remembered it. it’s very powerful. xoxo, sm

      1. Yeah, memories are really strange beasts. The ones that stick really, really do stick. I hadn’t thought about that particular bushfire scene in… 20 years? The instant I read your post though it all came back as bright as bright. It might also explain why I am so paranoid about bushfires!

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