Why I am NOT Bored

Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful, or to discover something that is true. ~William Inge

According to merriam-webster.com, boredom (n) is “the state of being weary or restless through lack of interest.” Whew! This is definitely a state I do not inhabit. I may live parts of my life in the fifty-first state of confusion, and I may be weary and tired to the bone, but I am never a resident of the state of boredom.

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone else say he or she is bored, I would be a wealthy woman. Supposedly, according to one recent study I found online, one in three students in school is bored either from lack of teacher interaction or uninteresting subject matter. Really? Whatever happened to intellectual curiosity?

Evidently boredom is a problem in the workplace, too. Check these facts from an article by Sandi Mann in the The Psychologist, published by the Britist Psycological Society:

  • Nearly 45 per cent of hiring experts in a 1998 survey said firms lost top workers because they were bored with their jobs (Steinauer, 1999).
  • A third of Britons claim to be bored at work for most of the day (DDI survey ‘Faking It’, 2004); in the financial services, half were often or always bored at work.
  • Boredom has been found to be the second most commonly suppressed emotion at work (Mann, 1999).
  • 55 per cent of all US employees were found to be ‘not engaged’ in their work in a recent survey reported in the Washington Post (10 August 2005).
  • 24 per cent of office employees surveyed by Office Angels claimed that boredom caused them to rethink their career and look for alternative jobs (reported in The Guardian, 20 January 2003).
  • 28 per cent of graduates claimed to be bored with their job in a survey by the Teacher Training Agency (tinyurl.com/ltn6e).

There is much research–and speculation–about why boredom is on the rise. Are we, as a society, amusing ourselves to death (see Neil Postman’s work by the same name)? Are we overly stimulated by technology and the pace at which we live and move? Does it have to do with our ability to produce dopamine in the brain? I don’t know.

What I do know is this: I am a naturally curious person, and I am content. Because I am content, I can entertain myself by reading a book, taking a walk, writing a poem (or blog entry), or interacting with family and friends. Finding joy in the ordinary is not a problem. Because I am curious by nature, I can usually find something worth investigating, watching, reading, or studying. I am also finally comfortable simply “being.” Age, spiritual health, and creativity probably have something to do with keeping me from being “bored,” but life itself is simply so precious and amazing that I want to participate in it fully. This is why I am NOT bored.

Perhaps as a culture we are losing something through excessive emphasis on consumption and passive entertainment. I can remember when my girls were little, their favorite toys were pulled out of kitchen drawers and cabinets. I could buy them the latest doll or trinket, and they might play with it for a little bit, but give them crayons, paper, costumes, or wooden spoons and plastic bowls, and they could entertain themselves for hours.

I think William Inge was right on target with his words posted above. Seeking truth and creating something of beauty are fine antidotes to boredom. Want to be a good steward of your time, talents, and resources? Avoid boredom at all costs. Fall in love with life and the One who created it. Take part in the healing of the world by seeking truth and creating something beautiful. Most of all, have fun, laugh, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Finally, just ban all forms of the word “bore” from your vocabularly!

Lent 40/40/40 Update

Honoring Relationships

Today I am thankful for Paul Roland. This thoughtful man was a huge positive influence in my life as a teen. He always had a kind word for me, kept up with my track and field progress, and let me know that he and his spouse, Fran, were praying for me. He probably doesn’t realize that after all these years, his simple acts of kindness and Christian witness had an impact on me that extends to this day. Thank you, Mr. Roland.

Giving Possessions

I gave my daughter my favorite sundress to use as a costume for the play. Whether I get it back matters not. There will be other sundresses, but there’s only one more high school musical. Break a leg, dear daughter! I’m proud of you.


I am thankful that my life is so full and rich that I never have to worry about being bored. Life is good! I am thankful to be here.

Photos by opensourceway and rolfkolbe used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!




Thankful for the Wisdom of Grandmothers

I am 51. That means I have probably already lived more than half of my life on earth. I know what it’s like to face my mortality thanks to a close encounter with breast cancer. I have lived long enough to lose friends in car accidents, to suicide, and to serious medical issues. I know what it is to love deeply and be loved that way in return. I have also known hurt and pain. I love a good cry and a good belly laugh. I marvel at nature and am in awe of the Creator of the Universe. I have had numerous jobs, a couple of good careers, and one vocation. I have taken the easy, wide highway and the road less traveled. Sometimes I have taken unfortunate detours or made the journey more difficult that it has to be.

Most of all I have learned a lot, especially that I have a lot more to learn. I am thankful for 51 years of life, and I am increasingly thankful for the wisdom of elders. I particularly enjoy visiting shut-ins in our parish. You can learn a lot by hanging out with “more mature” folks. Oh, I’m also discovering that old gets older all the time.

Seriously, when I was younger I was afraid of old folks–old being anyone over 40. Nursing homes appalled me, and I dreaded visits to my grandmother at the nursing home in Paris, Kentucky. It smelled of strong cleaning solution attempting to cover urine, the soured aromas of leftover lunch, and what I imagined to be the very smell of death. My Granny, as I called her, was a sweet lady. She worked hard every day of her life and never had very much in the way of material things, but she was rich in love and wise in the ways that mattered. Her biscuits, fried apple pies, and canned sausage were better than any gourmet meal that’s crossed my lips.  I still have a few letters from her written in careful, almost lacy script. She always put a dollar or two in her letters–just a little something extra. I wish I had spent more time with her, but as a teenager I was afraid she would think my shorts and attention span were both too short. How could that diminutive yet ram-rod straight bespectacled woman possibly understand a way cool worldly teenager like me? Now I know the answer to that question, and Granny is long gone from this world.

My father’s mother, known as “Mammaw” was another wise woman. She, too, had come up the hard way. In fact, she didn’t learn to drive until after my grandfather died suddenly from a heart attack. Not only did she learn to drive–she also moved to the city (Cincinnati) and got a job in the cafeteria at Proctor & Gamble. She pinched pennies, bought stock, kept a neat but comfortable house, and even had a pet squirrel that would come eat on her back porch. I loved to visit her as a child. She had this folding cot that I slept on in her living room. What a treat! I also remember being fascinated with her bathroom and its claw foot tub and toilet with the tank high above it. She was a fine cook; her jam cake with caramel icing was divine. She was also active in her church and donated her time and her driving skills to haul around “little old ladies” younger than herself. She loved her family and was always giving and caring. I remember her carefully selected and inscribed cards that arrived at Christmas and on my birthday. Inside was always a crisp bill of more denomination than she should have sent. Mammaw even tried to teach this lefty how to iron properly. It was probably one of the few failures of her life because I still can’t iron worth a hoot.

Both of my grandmothers were wise beyond their schooling. They knew what was important in life, and they knew how to squeeze the most out of every day and each dollar. I wish I had sought more of their wash and wear wisdom when I had the chance. Unfortunately, I couldn’t comprehend wisdom or beauty or the sacrificial ways of love. My world revolved around Tiger Beat, rock and roll, bell-bottom jeans, and other transitory fads and fashions. They loved me anyway. What a gift, what a precious, precious gift! Thank you, Granny and Mammaw. Now I understand, and I am thankful for your wisdom and love.

Photo by Mrs. Logic used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!