NOTE: You can hear the MP3 of this HERE.
By Heather Curlee Novak
Are you bored in your life? Do you seem to have lots of moments where you ask yourself, ”Well what now?” or “Well what’s on TV now?” I’ve had this conversation with a few people recently where they admit boredom and I stare blankly trying to comprehend the word they have just used. Boredom? I think the last time I was bored was maybe twenty years ago as a teenager! My guess is we are required to be bored for most of the teen years or we aren’t allowed to get to the drinking age, there would be no purpose. We would also never be motivated to move on with our life and go to college, get a job and have adventures. Then again, maybe not. From time to time we all could stand a good hard look at our lives and how we are living them to be sure we are getting the most out of our breathing above ground days.
I read recently in a parenting magazine that author Donald Miller wanted to live a better and more interesting life. Apparently a biography of his life was in the works but they told him his life wasn’t interesting enough! He gave up TV for a year and biked across the country just for starters. I have several friends who do that kind of grueling trip and I like admiring them from a distance. I’m not doing that. I’m expecting a new baby almost any day now so at nine months pregnant a walk around the block is pretty close to a cross country bike ride for me. I have plenty of adventure trying to keep my husband and toddler alive and happy most days. Even though boredom is not a familiar experience for me these conversations and the Donald Miller article about living a better life has engaged me and made me think about how I spend my time.
Before having a family, I used to work outside of the home as a sales and service trainer. I used to speak in front of groups of professionals, church retreats and classes. I used to dress up all pretty in clothes that were stylish and wore little heels instead of Birkenstocks or Crocs and my hair wasn’t accessorized by the lone bobby pin to keep bangs at bay. I was engaged in a professional, vibrant world of learning and teaching and reaching new goals. It is different now as a stay at home mom. I cannot say it isn’t as exciting. You try to keep a toddler from falling down stairs fourteen times a day, or from grabbing knives off the kitchen counter when she’s grown six inches overnight and tell me it isn’t...ummm...exciting. I’m so grateful to be home with our daughter and be the person learning along side her each day, but I can see where there could be more.
My Mother died when I was thirteen years old, and I believe it’s that experience that taught me the early lesson that life doesn’t last. From this lesson I’ve known all my life that there are lots of great things to do with my time and only a limited amount of that time to do them all. This core of my being has shaped both my younger professional life and my life as a stay at home mama. I try to seek out the most interesting options, the life engaging and affirming ways to spend our time and I think this is what rescues me from potential boredom. I have lived a life on fire and have very few regrets. I have lived in Chicago, Colorado, California and Indiana. I’ve swing danced, painted, written, acted, gone on political rally bus trips to Washington, seen movies alone, snow shoed, water skied, geocached, eaten dinner in the bathtub, made candles, drank champagne for breakfast on the front porch, cooked up fabulous new food and total kitchen disasters including flaming bagels. I have read garbage books, naughty books, highbrow books and educational books. I’ve volunteered for homeless shelters, deaf communities, disabled adults and churches. I’ve driven cross country many times, raised two dogs from pups, angsted through mix tapes, finished college late, took jobs too big for me, worked jobs too small for me and smiled at strangers regularly.
Now in my life as a Mama I go to every story hour, take my daughter to play dates, zoos, museums, construction sites and do my best to show her the world with all its detail large and small. I’m not trying to shield her from boredom, I think it has it’s place in childhood. I just want her to learn how easy it can be to engage herself in a bigger life through even the smallest things. I want her to, like me, live her life in reality, not onscreen through TV or the computer. I want her to benefit from the life lessons I had to learn the hard way...isn’t that every parent’s sweetest dream?
If they were writing the biography of your life would it say you could recount every episode of LOST and worked hard at the job you hated but that is about it? What is on your bucket list? What adventures are you waiting to have? If your adventure is too big to be feasible right now what are smaller versions of it you could dance with? Don’t be bored! You have too much to do. I encourage you to fill your life with people who matter deeply to you. I can never say enough about volunteering your time and skill as an effective life builder. If you have been struggling with the status quo of daily doings I hope that sharing with you some of how I have lived my life out loud will set off some bells and get you off the proverbial couch into LIFE! None of us have enough days in our life to spend them chin in hand brooding and wishing there was more. There is MUCH more; get up and find it!