I work at a STEM university about 20 minutes from my house. The university was closed for two weeks over the Christmas and New Year’s break (although technically, I think it’s called Winter Break). Most people returned to work Wednesday, the day after New Year’s. But we don’t return until Monday, January 7.
So while many of youse (forgive my New Jersey accent) finished your first 3/5 work week of 2019, I’ve been gleefully unproductive. Well, not totally. I dismantled the tree. I took my dog for walks. I gingerly fed her rice and chicken while she recovered from a brief bout of dietary indiscretion.
She’s fine, by the way. Thanks for asking.
What else did you do, Pam?
Welp. I thought about those times when, as a kid, you got so bored out of your gourd you found something else to do. But you had to reach that point of unadulterated boredom.
As adults, letting yourself get to that point is frowned upon. We’re supposed to be models of productivity. And I do aim for that. I’m a fairly efficient person who feels good when I get things done. Even mundane things like wiping the kitchen counters with soapy, warm water. That feels good to me. (Guess I’m just easy to please.)
But sometimes, you have to stop what you’re doing, get out of your routine, to see the possibilities of other things. Other ways of being, living, getting things done.
As much as I love clean, sparkling counters, do I want that to be my legacy? The cleaning of them? The maintenance? I may forever enjoy the a-ha moment when I realize the act of wiping and cleaning was long overdue. But maybe there are other things in this dear, sweet world that might also need doing.
So over the break, I didn’t push myself. I let myself get to the edge of feeling slightly bored, wondering what I should do next. Didn’t worry if I wasn’t massively productive. Luckily, I didn’t have any writing deadlines (I am also a freelance writer) so it wasn’t a hardship.
I enjoyed having our adult, 20-something children around. I enjoyed seeing family. I enjoyed giving gifts, opening gifts, taking the aforementioned dog on aforementioned walks. After dark, wearing my newly purchased neon safety vest, hopefully preventing a drunken (or high, thanks to Michigan’s recent legalization of mary-wanna) teenager from mowing me down with their car. Turning the tree lights on. The outdoor lights. Watching Bird Box on Netflix. (A good one, by the way.)
When everyone returned to work, I was still in slow-mo.
Are you still reading?
Cause I’m not sure where I’m going with this.
I was still in slow-mo whilst all the others returned to work (sounds like the plot of a horror movie). And okay, I was a little bored, a little worried I wasn’t getting much done. Nothing particularly meaningful, at least. Unless you count returning a $50 gift, only to purchase $180 worth of merchandise as meaningful.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. So I got a little bored, watched a bit too much TV at night (but what else is new?), didn’t push myself, kept up with the laundry (yay, me), enjoyed cooking in our newly renovated kitchen (even though I’m not overly ambitious in the culinary arts), enjoyed eating leftovers, texted oh-so-cute photos of the dog to the adult kiddos and the hub.
Wow. That’s like barely living.
So today is Saturday, tomorrow is Sunday, and Monday I return to work.
My husband will spend loads of time on the computer, I’ll work out, do a little cleaning, we’ll probably go out to eat later and I’ll ask myself, did I learn anything from being bored?
Yeah. Step up your game, Pam!