One of the things about writing in public is I’ve got to be careful what I say. Careful so I don’t offend those who I know as well as those I don’t. But also careful I don’t get the sack by saying controversial things or in any other way bringing my employer into disrepute.
And this might tread the line pretty tightly. Sometimes at work I get bored.
I was thinking about this following a post from Ally Vesterfelt about how the idea of a perfect day is perhaps so because of its very scarcity. The same thing, if we had to do it every day would become mundane.
So I love my work, it’s interesting, challenging and most of all for me, it is varied. But occasionally I get bored of it. I look at the things that I need to do and turn and think something else would make my life more exciting. I imagine a roller-coaster adventure where no day is every the same, and when the challenges are just hard enough to tax me but not too hard to give me nausea at the stress I sometimes feel on a Sunday morning.
My mum used to teach me that boredom was a state of the mind. That something was only boring if you let it be so. Maybe, but that doesn’t mean exciting things won’t become normal and the exhilarating mundane. It’s the adrenaline rush affect of life, it’s the incremental desire for more. For something that will lift us out of the situation we are in and onto a better plane.
And as I reflect on this I’m reminded of a few words from this week’s talk on marriage and family as part of ChristChurch London’s Love is a Verb sermon series. I wasn’t intending on writing a piece specifically on it but a few things stood out and resonate as I ponder this idea of something exciting becoming mundane.
I cannot begin to speak for couples who are barely back from their honeymoon, never mind those who have worked through decades of marriage. But I hear the excitement of being together lasts eighteen months to two years. Considering plenty of couples are together that long before they tie the knot it means marriage will quickly drift into normal rather than novelty.
If we are always after novelty we will never be content. If we allow our boredom with how things are to provoke us to change tack we will always be on the move. Sometimes settling down is the hard thing to do. Sticking to a course regardless of the obstacles in your way.
So sometimes I get bored at work. Sometimes I get bored with the friends around me. If I was in a relationship I guess I’d get bored with the person I was going out with, if I was married I’d probably get bored then too.
Maybe boredom is a state of the mind, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Our default response to boredom is change, whereas if I dare suggest, recommitting and accepting that things will never be picture perfect is a more productive way forward. It allows us to step off the hamster wheel that promises something better, but that better thing always ends up disappointing.
Whether it is marriage, a job, or the need for excitement, if we change at the whim of our needs we are within a hairline of turning that desire into an idol. If we think that marriage will answer our problems we place it in a position it cannot retain. If we think a job will satisfy all of our demands it will always let us down. If we put the very experience of adrenaline rushing through our veins as our goal we will never have enough.
What do you think? Should boredom provoke us to change or encourage us to dig deeper? Have you ever tried so hard to get something you think will make you happy and it let you down?