Ahh, the thrill of boredom. NOT! The absolutely glorious thrill of mind-altering tedium. I DON’T THINK SO!
As the victim of circumstance and the partaker of a debilitating illness, boredom is an all too frequent, and completely unwanted and uninvited, companion that is seemingly intent upon robbing me of the last vestige of my sanity, intelligence, and inner resources.
In my quest to end my boredom and give me something to do (ergo solving my boredom because for me, my definition of boredom is not having something worthwhile to do), I set about to determine just what boredom is so that I could eradicate this pesky vermin and boot it out of my life altogether. (I’m tired of it hogging all of my covers and squashing my pillows out of shape.)
I came across this interesting article while surfing for the world’s definition of boredom. It had some fascinating insights into boredom and gave me much to think about. At first, I was somewhat put off by the notion that boredom is actually dissatisfaction with life and the refusal of happiness in this present moment. I chafed a bit at this. But me, being the creature of truth that I am, had to concede that, yes, I HAVE been quite unhappy with life such that it is for me and have been wanting and waiting and hoping for some kind of magical escape. Wanting something (ANYthing, for God’s sake!) to relieve this inner restlessness and dullness of life feeling that has seemed to plague me for the last year or so.
I thought that I had been bored because I haven’t had anything to DO because my illness has so severely hampered my physical ability to move and even think. Because of that article, I am realizing that what I have been feeling has not been boredom at all, but a mourning of my spirit for things that I no longer have and will no longer be able to, short of a miracle from the Hand of God.
In thinking over these things that I read about, I have come to the startling, and somewhat shattering, conclusion that I have been using boredom as a penance for being bedridden. During the brief moments and times that I HAVE felt happiness or joy or contentment, very swiftly followed feelings of guilt. Guilt because I am unable to work or go to church or do housework or contribute to society because I “should” be doing these things. I have spent the lion’s share of my life “doing things” for people, and I have grieved often over my inability to be those things that I used to be.
It goes against my grain (and pride, I must admit) to be given something that I do not feel that I have earned. How can I “justify” feeling happiness or contentment or peace laying in my bed 23 hours a day when so many others are working and sweating and struggling? In my mind, being content and happy would mean that being bedridden is okay and acceptable. That for me to be okay with that would equal me “giving up” on my belief that God IS going to raise me up out of this bed one day.
The thing that I need to give up, however, is the belief that happiness is something that must be earned or obtained by productivity and/or approval. I must learn how to give myself permission to be happy again. Not in spite of me being bedridden, but BECAUSE of it. How I am going to do that, I haven’t a clue. Because so much of my self-worth has been based upon what I can do and because I am unable to do much at all, the list of things that I feel that I deserve has been quite small. Almost non-existent, in fact.
Wow. I almost wish now that I had chosen to remain bored. Because then, at least, I would have been able to complain and rail about fate and the unfairness of life and moan about the lack of entertainment and creativity in my life instead of having to struggle with how in hell to be happy when it has been so long that I don’t even know what happiness looks or feels like. (Just the few fleeting moments of joy that I have felt lately scared me to death because I didn’t know what in the world to do with such feelings as joy has been completely unfamiliar to me for so very long. Hell, emotional pain is something I can do with my eyes closed. Despair is something I can conjure up in a millisecond. But HAPPINESS??? What in the hell do I do with that!)
I wish I was bored.