Monday, September 30, 2013

Blessed Boredom!

     I always wondered why even the most uplifting song, if listened to often enough, will eventually irritate me to antsy-ness.  Noticing this tendency, I intentionally avoid listening to favorites in order prolong their fresh appeal.
     My second child, as an infant, was a delight to watch.  I noticed how a simple thing such as sunbeams through the slats of her crib fascinated her for hours on end, even days.  Then her fingers held before her face held her attention before she redirected it elsewhere to the next curious thing.  No doubt she was displaying signs of boredom as first one thing, then another fell first in, then out of favor in not too long a time.
     Obviously what she was observing wasn't changing much from minute to minute, hour to hour, or day to day.  What changed was her perceptions of them from fascinating, interesting, captivating objects to boring, same-old same-old, nothing-much-happening-here leftovers.  And each time an external stimulus exhausted her curiosity, she sought something new to replace it—eventually us (her family), speech, and things further outside her crib, outside her room, and even outside our apartment—the outside world.
     This made me realize the benefit of boredom.  Had she not had this boredom proclivity, she might still, as a ten-year-old, be lying content on her back all day long absorbed in the marvels of the sunbeam and the interplay of shadow and light, or staring at her fingers.  What need for learning to crawl, walk, speak, or use the potty if all of life's necessities (food, water, diaper changes, etc.) are provided for and the simplest of things remain ever entertaining?  Nope, her boredom spurned her on to seek exciting new things, thank God.
     Furthermore, I believe that her antidote to boredom—curiosity—is the same antidote that we, too, can apply to our general feelings of ennui and disinterest.  For me that comes mainly from learning new things, or creative endeavors:  guitar playing, photography, writing, minor woodworking and around-the-house repairs, and reading.  Also talking to people I meet and learning about them, their views, and how they live.  Exercise, too, helps.  And observing and teaching my kids (and wife!--just kidding, Deanne.)  Everyone's different and what works for one may not work for another (Deanne enjoys cooking, reading, and socializing with friends) and let's not forget one of the best antidotes of all—meaningful, productive work.  Anything that makes life a little better for others or self including works of charity and faith are just great.

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