Adult life can be fairly boring (at times)
For the past month or so I haven’t had any travel for work, travel for personal life, weddings to attend, or any big plans of any nature on any weekend. My volunteer activities have also calmed down and work has definitely become slower with Christmas around the corner. It has been a quiet month for me, but being quiet and relaxed for an extended period of time is not something I’m good at.
I’ve been trying to relish the calm. I’ve been reading, painting, writing, a little baking, watching movies, talking to family and friends on the phone, thinking, etc. And through this period of quiet and calm, I have started to realize a few things:
1. Adult life can be fairly boring at times. I think my generation may be the worst for making their lives look 1150% more awesome than they actually are. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and social media in general allow you to feature the “greatest hits” (or some people just post anything and everything…). You get the edited version of someone’s life. Basically it suggests they travel all the time, party with friends every weekend, go out for dinner pretty much every night, goof off at work, and live the radest life ever. In comparison, your life seems to suck. So you post your greatest hits (I do this too, people, I’m not some saint who doesn’t post a ‘hit’ once in a while). And the cycle continues. We need to realize that these ‘hits’ don’t happen on a regular basis. For the most part we all work (or go to school) which means we get up, shower, eat, commute, work, eat, work, come home, eat, watch TV, volunteer, read, plan for the future, or play with our kids, sleep. We all do slight variations of the same thing. This is starting to sound fairly depressing, but that’s not my intent. The purpose of this point is to stress that adult life can be boring sometimes and it’s okay – it’s normal. We can’t be climbing mountains or eating fois gras or sipping on champagne all the time (no, it’s not Great Gatsby day in, day out). We all must experience the mundane and I’m learning to relish it. It’s hard. Facebook tells me I should be dancing joyously at an amazing party in Morocco somewhere, but that’s just not possible all the time…or any time.
2. The boring allows you time to think. I’ve never spent so much time thinking as I have in the last month. It’s actually incredible. Instead of rushing from one event to the next, I’m actually spending time with my thoughts. I don’t really know when I last did this…if ever. Of course, I have had thoughts before (duh), but I haven’t always had the time to process them, play with them – you get the picture. And let me be clear, I’m not talking about the “what-should-my-wedding-dress-look-like” thoughts (even though I have definitely thought about it), I’m talking about the “why-do-we-do-what-we-do” and “how-can-I-slow-time” and “life-is-basically-meaningless-unless-we-give-it-meaning” thoughts. Yes, I’ve been thinking about mortality (how uplifting). Yes, I’ve been thinking about love. Yes, I’ve been thinking about the future of our race and our current interactions with the planet, people and animals. I look forward to more of it.
3. It’s important we find activities that bring us pleasure and stimulate the mind. Over the course of the month, with more time allocated to thinking, reading, and writing, I’ve become more choosy with my television shows and movies. I’m slightly disappointed as I typically love lounging in front of the television and watching all sorts of ‘crappy’ shows / movies. But I’ve become a lot more critical of what I watch and whether it’s worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch a lot of TV (if you added it all up, it would still outweigh reading time…seriously), but it has be to worth it. Homeland is worth it. Orange is the New Black is worth it. But most things aren’t. I’ve actually started turning shows or movies off that don’t engage me enough and open a book instead. I’m just more selective and careful with how I spend my time. If I’ve only got 70 more years, I don’t want to waste it.
4. For an only child who grew up on a farm, I’m still fairly reliant on other people to entertain me, but I’m getting better at it. I’m getting better at entertaining myself at home.
5. I have this bad habit, developed during my childhood and teenage years, of viewing all activities (from homework to singing to exercise) as something I need to complete, a task, a must-do. And it is only when I have completed all the must-dos that I can relax. And relax in my childhood /teenage brain is to watch TV. I’ve come to recognize this pattern in myself and this last month has amplified its existence. What this suggests is that I’m not mindful during all those other activities, that I’m just doing them to complete them and thus, I’m missing out on all the enjoyment embedded within them. I’m trying to put an end to this, but it will take a lot of time and patience. I’m thankful this month has brought this particular issue to the forefront.
While the month, at times, has been a little too calm and quiet for me, it has been unbelievably good. Writing this post has provided even greater clarity as to what the past month has given to me – a new perspective on time and how I use it. I’m thankful for that and will most definitely be taking this learning to heart.
I encourage you all to have a month of quiet. A month where plans are kept minimal (December is not a good month to do this). A month where you spend time with yourself and your thoughts. It won’t be easy. You’ll want to make plans, schedule a dinner, volunteer for another event, but I encourage you not to. Let me know how it goes.