Revisiting Boredom

Way back in April, I wrote a post about how awful boredom is. At the time, there was no aspect of my life that I didn’t find boring. It’s October, and things have changed, but I’m still terribly bored at the day job. A few things have happened recently due in large part to my apathy and lack of focus that have ensured I am much more mentally present at work. Not that I’m still not hunting for a job that challenges my creative abilities.

Anyway, I’m revisiting boredom today because I came upon a topic from Linked-in that caught my attention. It wasn’t one of their standard articles (which I find hit and miss), but a forum. The topic was about the lack of boredom people face and how that translates into a lack of creativity.

Previously, I made my thoughts on boredom fairly clear: it’s malignant as far as I’m concerned. While my opinion hasn’t changed thanks to the forum, I did come to a realization. I don’t think that person was talking about boredom; I think that person was talking about downtime.

Since my courses began, and admittedly long before that, I have had next to zero downtime. Comparatively, I have been lacking on the creative front for a while. I can’t remember the last time I sat back, relaxed, and let my brain wander. I am so often in a state of angst where feel I need to be doing something or getting somewhere that I can never just be. No wonder I’m exhausted.

Years ago, one of my history professors brought this up in terms of generational thinking and practices. When he was in university, students had the opportunity to go out together after class and discuss what they’d learned–to absorb and explore it that way. Nowadays, most students have to rush to their part time job or their next class, or work on their next assignment. There’s no time to sit and think. Even as a society we’ve turned into this impatient mass that has to get somewhere as quickly as possible to get something done. It’s very mentally unhealthy.

I can’t see any time for downtime in my near future, which is a shame, but it’s something I want to stay aware of. I’m terrible at setting aside time for myself, but I’m starting to see the toll it’s taking on every facet of my life. I don’t like it.

What are your thoughts on downtime and boredom?

A Return to a Bad Reading Habit: Anxiety and Comfort in the Known

I have struggled long and hard to come up with a post topic for today. It’s too late the night before and I’m just beginning to type. This is why I don’t last minute things. I finally thought of a topic, and as I mulled it over in my mind it seemed familiar. I flipped through my old posts and what do you know, I’ve tackled it before.

That’s never a good sign.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about getting stuck in books you know. While rereading my post, A Bad Reading Habit: Anxiety and Comfort in the Known, I had to cringe. Why? One, I’ve fallen off the wagon yet again and keep picking up books I know off the shelf instead of getting new ones finished. Two, months ago I started doing the same thing with my regular TV shows. This particular habit I hadn’t realized until last week when my mom tried to turn on a season premiere and I tensed from head to toe and nearly starting yelling at her. Can you say over-reaction? I was floored.

The good news, if there is any, is that compared to when I wrote the first post, my social life has improved. Actually, my social life has exploded. The day job life has semi-imploded. I’m not sleeping well. My exercise routines are constantly interrupted. And I am struggling to balance coursework with writing and the day job.

I’ve been making a lot of big changes in my personal life recently and making big plans. Obviously, these things are major sources of anxiety for me. I’m not dealing with them properly because they’re bleeding over into other facets of my life in strange ways. Who has a panic attack over TV?

Granted, the world around us is not helping me feel better. Yesterday (as I type this) over 50 people were killed at a concert. Two young women were stabbed to death. And a cop was struck by a car and stabbed by a perpetrator who then ran a truck into pedestrians on a sidewalk. That last one was very close to home. I won’t even get into climate change and starving animals being destroyed or anything else.

It’s difficult to feel hopeful in these times. It’s difficult to motivate myself to look forward and work towards the future. I find I’m very emotional lately and dealing with even fictional surprises seems to be more than I can handle on a regular basis.

That’s the end of my whining. I guess I’m sad today. I’m going to give myself a break and allow myself to revel in the safe and familiar when things get bad. But I’m not allowed to hide there.

Interesting Finds

As usual, I am all over the place with the items I’ve culled from the internet. But there’s gold here. Enjoy!

This kid dropping the mic on hate fills me with hope for the future.

I can’t decide if I’m inspired to sign with a portrait like these other writers or not. I’ll practice.

I know it’s the end of September and Harvey the storm is behind the people of Texas (not to negate any long term effects, mind you), but the Post put up this fascinating infographic—see what you’d be standing in if your city was hit by Harvey-level water. I’d be standing in 1.4’ of water. My previous address would be under 6.6’.

Prepare to drool over these bookstores. I’m equally saddened and relieved one isn’t close to me. I’d never leave.

I will never be accused of being an optimist. Honestly, it’s always wrung hollow for me. I’m a realist, a pragmatist. This article helps explains why I feel that way, and I’m on board for new optimism.

This woman led historical house tours on a plantation—some of the comments she heard from people trying to explain away slavery and racism had every hair on my body standing up in rage. But it’s still worth the read!

Everything you ever wanted to know about medieval manuscripts. When I’m rich and famous I will have one!

Update On: A New Way of Keeping Tabs, Reader Edition

Can you believe it’s nearly the end of September already? My August dragged its feet, but right now it feels like I blinked and the solstice has hurried itself closer. Sunday night I submitted my final exam for my current course, so right now I am exhilarating in the warm swell of post-exam lassitude. I’m also fighting a bug; I apologize for any apparent lack of coherency today.

Since we’re three-fourths-and-a-bit of the way through the year, I thought it was about time I wrote an update on my previous post, A New Way of Keeping Tabs: Things in My Face, Reader Edition. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure my wall tracker is helping me accomplish my reading goal.

When it comes to writing, my tracker is more about helping me stay on top of my volume goal. When I use it—by which I mean when I don’t fall behind with the actual tracking—I never miss a week of getting my words in. I’m not finding a similar sense of accomplishment carrying over to my reading.

For instance, I just finished my 27th book of the year. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a decent amount read. In my little world, that’s pathetic. The main issue keeping me from getting more read completed is my lack of making it a priority. I don’t make time to read, plain and simple. I squeeze it in when I can, which isn’t enough. The exact same issue is tied to my writing; however, because I have deadlines, I get more writing done.

Yes, I’m terribly hard on myself. And I have a lot on my plate right now. But I have so many unread books—all of which are sitting directly behind me, accusingly—and I want to read all of them because they’re going to be amazing. I’m annoyed with myself because I can’t seem to make reading important. I live to read, so what is my problem?

I don’t have an answer, but I do know beating myself up about it is probably not going to help in the long run. Still. The numbers sitting on my tracker disappoint me; perhaps I need to channel that disappointment into action instead of letting it get me down. I have three and half-ish months to catch up. Let’s see if I can do it.

Have you challenged yourself to read more this year? How are you doing?

The 5 Year Plan

I’m taking up a random topic today: The 5 Year Plan. Have you ever made one? I haven’t, which is odd because I’m very goal oriented. That said, I’m good at setting goals and making pretty lists and trackers—and then getting exactly nowhere.

I don’t intend to end up nowhere. I merely have a tendency to think that setting the goals and scratching them off the list when I get to them will somehow magically translate to progress. Well, more progress than it realistically does.

Back to the 5 Year Plan. I turned to Uncle Google because while I can extrapolate what a 5 Year Plan entails, I haven’t the foggiest idea how to put it all together. I ended up on Wiki How since the site provided the kind of detail I needed. I then moulded their 15 steps into phrasing and a format I prefer. I did all that on Friday, and my insane weekend has kept me from doing more than printing off my document.

Despite not moving forward with it yet, I want to share the parts that jumped out at me while I was throwing my document together:

  • The variety of goals,
  • The hierarchy of organizing your goals into most important to less important,
  • The step by step breakdown of goals so each part is attainable and leads somewhere,
  • The formatting freedom,
  • The flexibility.

I might be counting my eggs a little early but I am really excited to make my plan! I am hoping it will help me attain all of my writing goals that much quicker—because my current pace is a snails crawl. A better personal and professional situation would also be awesome attainments.

I’ll ask again: Have you ever created a 5 Year Plan? Did it work for you? Do you have any suggestions?

 

*Featured image sourced here.