I get bored easily. When I was a little girl, my constant complaint was, “I’m bored.” To which my mother would reply brightly, “Well, then go find something to do!” This response always irritated me. Geez Mom, thanks. Find Something To Do. That’s brilliant. As if I haven’t already been scouring my room, my yard, my books, my brain for SOMETHING that inspires me to play. Cue dramatic eye roll.
Clearly it’s my superior intellect (from my amazing giant brain) that keeps me so bored and restless. Or it’s because I’ve watched too many movies and TV shows in my life, creating a false set-point for my expectations of my life’s experiences, dooming me to an existence of perpetual dissatisfaction. I blame Saturday morning cartoons in the 70s.
When I was a kid, I didn’t know how to deal with my boredom and it drove me crazy sometimes. As an adult I started to ask questions of my boredom, to follow it and listen to it. Why am I bored? Do I want something? Do I expect something? The answers are different every time, but it was learning to question my boredom, following where the answers went, that I was able to crack the code of myself. I learned what I like, what I want in my life, what works, what doesn’t.
This is where the magic of boredom meets the glory of naps. Napping when I’m bored gives me some time in that in-between consciousness place, where I can worry about my boredom while letting go of the frustration about it. Go to my bed. Breathe. Stretch. Relax. Sleep. Even if I’ve only got 5 minutes for a nap, if I’m bored enough I go there. It’s like meditation for lazy people.
Listening to my boredom has led me to activities that offer endless possibilities and challenges: gardening, horses, theatre, puppetry, writing, unschooling, wildcrafting, keeping chickens, fishing, and on and on and on. Boredom has led me to learn about and try new things. Some things have been dead ends (hello massage school!), but even the stuff I tried and pooped out on I had fun trying and learned a LOT.
I now see boredom as the calm before the storm of creative inspiration. It’s what happens right before I learn something amazing, do something fun, experience something thrilling, make something happen. It’s almost a relief to experience it now.
So when my 4 year old Little Boy drapes his body heavily across my lap, sighs dramatically and announces, “I’m BORED, Mommy.” I smile at him, hug him and say cheerfully, “Well, then find something to do!”
And just like that I’ve turned into my mother.