An ever-exhausting zest for lifeWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There is one phrase that tends to make my skin crawl more than any other. As much as grammatical error begs to confound my senses, I can put linguistic differences aside. The phrase that always gets my teeth clenching is more a point of philosophical deviation: “I’m bored.”
You’re bored? There are literally millions of activities in the world ready to be set in motion at any given moment: music, sports, technology, reading, thinking. How could you be bored? There’s a little something for everyone; pick a pursuit!
My disdain of the concept of boredom started when my parents’ urging of me not to ever utter the phrase “I’m bored” began to make sense. I realized that with all life has to offer, how could I possibly have the right to think that boredom was an option? Even if I find myself waiting somewhere without so much as a copy of Highlights magazine to read, I can still run old “Seinfeld” episodes through my head or try to recall the names of the people I went to kindergarten with. If prisoners of war can last half a lifetime with nothing but memories and hope, I can certainly last 20 minutes in a doctor’s office counting ceiling tiles.
I consider it my obligation to teach my children how to go through life with a lack of attention to what isn’t, an appreciation for what is and an awareness of what could be. With all of the effort we put into providing our children with all of the good things in life, we need to demand that they learn to revel in their advantages.
One thing I failed to consider is that there is a point at which their reveling begins to cause sleep loss for them and for us. For my family, it started this past Easter morning. A difficult bedtime process, due to excited anticipation for our big, floppy-eared friend, continued sporadically throughout the night and culminated in a 4am wakeup call. I remember displaying such over-exuberance during my own childhood holidays, but experiencing it on the other end so early in the morning is much less enjoyable.
At a time when I am starting to hear my nemesis of a phrase from his friends on occasion, my 6-year-old seems to have shunned any natural propensity for boredom and, instead, discovered the joy of life. In fact, he has already stretched beyond the standard relishing of major holidays. His bursting-with-excitement, early morning wake up calls have spilled over into what most people would consider mundane events.
I recently awoke at 5 a.m. to my son at my bedside relaying a detailed verbal game plan of how he was going to execute the pop and bottled water portion of our garage sale that morning. My attempt to pay attention quickly failed when I nodded back into dream land as he continued to chatter incessantly. What I assume (and hope) to be only a few minutes later, I awoke once again to his nonstop garage sale drink stand soliloquy.
After two very long garage sale days, he was back at it. He woke me in the early hours to inform me of the laundry list of fun activities he was sure to encounter at his cousin’s birthday bash that day. Apparently, I have created some sort of zest-for-life monster. Of course, the positive nature of the beast won’t allow me to liken him to a Dracula or a Frankenstein’s monster. He is more of the in-your-face, isn’t-life-grand Elmo variety, minus the red fur.
My son is not without his down times. I certainly hear complaints and encounter shoulder shrugs from time to time. Seldom are the times, however, that expressing feelings of boredom makes it to the top of his activity list. Bananas and itchy shirt tags excluded, he generally enjoys most of the things he encounters.
I wish I could say the same for my fellow adults. I would have figured that boredom as a state of mind would have been left behind with the generalized ennui that is young adulthood. How someone who has lived so long and experienced so much could still have trouble finding something to pass the time is beyond me. Not having enough hours in the day I understand. Boredom — not so much.
Shannon and her husband Michael are raising three children in Sylvania. E-mail her at email@example.com.