Tuesday, November 4, 2014

On boredom

I have a memory of a summer afternoon, likely between grades eight and nine or thereabouts, of being bored. Nothing to watch on TV, friends all on vacation or visiting relatives or otherwise busy. No money to do anything with, my siblings were otherwise occupied. I was wrapped up in my own melodrama of expectation, willing something exciting to happen, not yet understanding how precious a gift I had: time. Free time.

These days, I don't speak the language of boredom. If this blog wasn't evidence enough on its own, then a quick look through my camera's memory card will show you. The subject of many pictures is often blurred, moving too quickly even for a split-second shutter to capture. When I do find a moment, I refer to my mental lists: house things to do, writing tasks, yoga, corresponding, making food. Things I should be doing. I hardly remember what it is to feel boredom.

If ever I do, I am confidently armed. I carry the sword of curiosity and the shield of responsibility against the foe, boredom. No one else's job includes keeping me entertained, occupied, engaged. I am in a privileged position of living without fear of imminent threat or death, the world is certainly my oyster.

Because there is no excuse for boredom. No reason to throw up one's hands and declare there is nothing to do. And when despair, sadness, lethargy or depression darken curiosity's spark, I offer these words from poet Mary Oliver:

"I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you're in it all the same.
So why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about."

Good night.

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