Yesterday was not such a good day. I was the grumpiest goose. So I saved you from a negative Nancy post. You should thank me.
But today I want to talk about boredom. #4 in my introductory “Arbitrary Disciplines” post talked about my lack of something to do. Right now – to put it simply – I’m bored as hell. At work, my job is to smile at people and say “Thank you. Please come back!” I clear tables and make sure the restaurant doesn’t get overwhelmed. Other than that, I do a lot of standing at the hostess stand, staring blankly out the window, and thinking about various things to add to my to-do lists. I’ve even been chastised at work for hiding a novel I’m reading under the reservation book when we’re having one of our tediously empty days. I feel like I am in fifth grade all over again: In my math class, I was called out not once, but twice for hiding a library book inside my math book. I was bored out of my mind as we went over the same lesson for the third time. This was about the point my mom started putting in applications for me to attend a private school in the area. (Go, Mama!) So, if we’re going to take this parallel even further – what is the adult equivalent of applying to and attending a private school?
Some would say grad school, but for now I just see that option as prolonging the inevitable question: how in the world do we fill our lives with purpose and meaning? Also, I don’t want to have a Ph.D. in hand and be having the exact same problems I’m having now! Graduate school no longer guarantees a job. Quite the contrary, it often makes you “overqualified” for the entry level positions I’m vying for now. Truth is we are in a shit economy. There are very few jobs and employers know they can have their pick of the litter. So, in the face of essentially no paying gigs, how do we manage? How do we create a fulfilling life with purpose, creativity, and community?
Answer is: I’m not quite sure.
If I knew, I’d be doing it. Promise. But I’ll start by sharing what I’m doing right: My life outside of work is actually pretty full. I do yoga, take banjo lessons, play on an adult volleyball league, write this blog, and volunteer on a farm. The glaring problem seems to be that I can’t find work that pays and also sustains me. I’ve been told over and over again that I should be basking in this directionlessness. This is the only time in my life I won’t be tied down! “Oh, to have a slow life again,” they all lament. While I do understand the sentiment, a deep boredom clouds one’s life. Anyone who has ever felt undervalued or downright useless at their job understands.
Alright, but am I being too optimistic thinking that fulfillment can come in large part from a job? In what way could I restructure my life so that my lack of meaningful job is a minimal concern, possibly even irrelevant?
This is the question I’m going to chew on for the next few weeks. I’ve considered trying to cut my expenses to nil by moving to a less expensive area, nixing my car use, and relying almost exclusively on my CSA share for groceries. This may be a good idea. We’ll just have to see.
As for yourself, ask: What parts of my life do I feel are lacking? Is there a way to solve these concerns obliquely rather than head-on?
“There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely ― or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.” ― Oscar Wilde