“Mama… I’m BORED.”
“You have an entire bedroom full of toys, a whole art table full of art supplies, a hundred books you could read, and four kids in the neighborhood dying to play with you. How can you possibly be bored?”
It’s enough to make every mom roll her eyes. Yet, I can’t quite bring myself to get irritated with my daughter, not only because I’m young enough to remember what it was like to a kid, but because, even now, one of my greatest fears in life is that I’ll wind up bored.
I remember, when I was in medical school, telling people I’d probably grow bored with medicine in ten years and wind up going to law school. I figured, after ten years of practicing law, I’d maybe take up journalism or work for a publishing company.
Only eight years passed before I quit my job as a doctor, but by then, I had already started another career as a professional artist. And since then, I’ve also started writing books, blogging, and running a business as an online entrepreneur. Clearly, I was a bit prescient.
I also grew… not so much bored, but just plain unhappy… with my first marriage after four years. I broke up with my second husband on our two year anniversary. (Third time’s a charm – we’ve been together for ten years now. Phew.) I’d like to say that our relationship is working because Matt’s far from boring, but while this is true, I think the success of our relationship has more to do with my attitude than anything else. This time, I chose to focus on the good stuff, rather than complaining about the bad – a surefire way to take power over your life, rather than feeling like the victim or blaming something or someone else for being “boring.”
Boredom Is My Nightmare
When I read the book The Wisdom of the Enneagram and discovered that my personality type is a Seven, I laughed. Apparently, Sevens fear boredom more than anything and, left unchecked, create lives of constant stimulation. I felt totally busted, and realized how much control I have over whether or not I feel bored.
I mean I have the best life ever. I live on the ocean where the mountains and redwoods meet the beach in the most gorgeous place on earth. I am married to a loving, whip smart, hysterically funny, hunk-of-a-hubby. My daughter is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I love my mother, brother, and sister and had the best Dad in the world before I lost him. I have incredible friends. I absolutely adore my job and am blessed to get to write books, mentor visionaries, blog, create online programs, and do what I can to change the world in my own unique way.
I get to travel to awesome places. I have my health, as do those I love most.
So why in the world am I so afraid of being bored?
I’ve realized there’s a dark side to boredom. Boredom implies that you’re not grateful for what you already have. The shadow side of boredom is that whatever blessings you have, they’re never enough when you allow yourself to succumb to boredom. You’re always seeking the next thrill, the next win, the next love, the next source of external validation – outside of yourself.
I’ve come to realize that, as long as I’m looking outside myself for stimulation, I’ll always be disappointed. I’ve noticed, however, that when I’m able to focus on the present and approach my life from a place of gratitude, my mindset shifts from one of lack to one of bounty, and when I’m viewing my life as bountiful, I’m never bored.
Next: Are You Bored?