The mixed message of boredom

We all remember our firsts.

Our first kiss, first significant other, first date, first time falling in love, first time having sex, first time drinking, first time moving away from home, first job, first career, first marriage, first child, first hardship, first loss, first time seeing your effort pay off, etc. 

These are defining moments. They expand our worldview and open us up to new ideas or realities. They help us uncover a part of a world that had been hidden, waiting to be discovered. 

But as I get older, I’ve notived that firsts become much less frequent.

Most of our memorable firsts barrage us in our teens and twenties. We assume they’ll continue with the same incidence. I’ve been guilty of chasing moments as a result of this faulty expectation. And when they don’t appear, I find myself feeling like something is wrong.

At some point, I’ve lived long enough to experience firsts. I’ve had enough experiences in life that expose me to these firsts. Firsts become a function of youth. 

And youth ain’t knocking at my door anymore

That doesn’t change my desire to chase these moments and try to recapture the magic of first experiences.

This is part of the human experience. 

As I get older and the incidence of firsts diminishes, life becomes routine and monotonous – wake up, work out, get the kids ready for the day, go to work, chores, family time, sleep, repeat. This monotony leads to boredom and I find myself yearning for something more.

I believe one of the biggest challenges we face as we get older is how to make sense out of this boredom. 

I find my default is to frame this boredom as a lack of challenge. Doing so leaves me wanting to lean away from it and replace it with something more exciting.

When I get bored – whether in my home or career life – my first instinct is a need to change something, to stir it up and experience the roller coaster ride of emotions that comes with something new.

This type of thinking puts me back on the neverending hamster wheel of more. 

What if boredom is an opportunity to practice with intentionality and mindfulness? Could boredom be a chance to practice living purposefully? 

In my experience, mastery comes from practicing until it’s boring until it’s gorgeous. Therefore, boredom is part of the practice that allows us to eventually do something effortless and beautiful.

Boredom isn’t a lack of challenge, it’s a stop on the road to mastery.

Living a purpose-driven life means committing to a purpose. It may not always be exciting, but that’s precisely the point. Boredom is part of the journey. 

Boredom is the opportunity to practice living purposefully especially when it doesn’t come easy. 

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