I grew up to fear admitting boredom. Boredom was treated like an addiction. Admitting it would mean work and a long list of tasks to eradicate the problem.
Even typing it, I still feel the fear and anxiety of announcing boredom. You see, at a very, very young age, I learned to never say, “I’m bored.” And to never, ever, EVER precede it with, “Dad.”
I must have been just old enough to put together sentences to express myself when it dawned on me the sixth or seventh time a conversation like this took place that I needed to keep my mouth shut on the subject.
“Dad. Dad!! Dad…I’m Boooooreeeeeddddd.”
“Bored, eh? Well, we can fix that problem! Grab a hoe and chop all those weeds. I want to see you reach the end of that fence before it gets dark.”
Now, weeds at a racehorse training facility that bordered a river didn’t mean your average dandelion. It meant beanstalks. I would never finish weeds. There was never opportunity to not have something to work on. A task for Dad to give. Almost always weed-related.
I remember foolishly thinking that if I had a younger friend, someone Dad would not want to see pulling weeds, that I could safely admit boredom without consequence. I thought of my cute little niece, my dad’s own granddaughter.
“Daaaaad…there’s nothing to do! What can we play with?
Cut to scene of me and Sweet Baby Niece yanking on weeds sometimes three times our height. We would come back with green lines across the insides of our palms.
Don’t get me wrong, I was and am a spoiled kid. I contend I am not spoiled rotten, but spoiled. I grew up on a ranch full of animals and places to ride my bike and run and I had quite an imagination with all the atmosphere to indulge it. I just could not admit being bored. I thought I could whisper it to Mom in the kitchen so she would play with me, but Dad was standing behind me.
“No, no, no I’m not bored, Dad! I was just kidding! I have lots to do. I’m going to go do it now! All the lots of things I have to do. So many. None of them boring. All exciting. So excited.”
Still, as an adult, I have a serious problem admitting boredom. I did let one slip while on the phone with Dad. I didn’t say “bored.” I said “boring” but immediately realized my mistake.
“Bored, eh? Well, I’ll get you a plane ticket back to the Land of Enchantment, because I have weeds here that you can start chopping.”
I don’t believe boredom comes from a lack of things to do to keep busy, but a lack of excitement in the things we do. Everyone has boring aspects of their jobs, and I have them to, but I do them, and overall my career is very exciting and fulfilling. I get lots of perks. Outside of work, there are so many things I need to do, like clean and pay bills, work out and organize my things. Also, outside of tasks, there (I’m sure) are lots of fun new things to see!
But I still get anxious. It’s a wanderlust thing I have, and I think it’s in the genes. Sometimes it takes three years, sometimes it takes one, and sometimes just a matter of months, but I get itchy to get out. Jump on a plane on a whim to somewhere fun or make life altering decisions that may result in the former. Every day I become stiffer, my pupils wider, and my right eye starts to twitch in the corner. I’m….give me a minute…bor…phew…I’m….boorredd. That was difficult.
I need a vacation. It’s been four years since I took a vacation. Four years since I got on a flight that lasted longer than an hour! I don’t have idle hands, I have wanderlust. And not quenching it makes me feel bored.
Don’t tell Dad.