This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Now, on to my blog:
We come into this world yawning with boredom and go downhill from there. Recently, in my philosophy class, we were discussing whether we would want to live an extra hundred years. One class member commented that he would not want to do so because by that time, he probably would have done or learned everything interesting, and life would be just too boring.
We all laughed while nodding in agreement. Yes, we scurry from boredom the moment we encounter it. Humans seem to need constant engagement, constant entertainment, constant stimulation.
We don’t just sit around and do nothing. When we are not actively involved in a goal-oriented pursuit, we grab a book or magazine, turn on the television, check our email, surf the web, go shopping, and on and on. We flee boredom like it’s a disease. The idea of nothing new to learn, nothing new to experience, only eternal boredom is horrifying.
I am always weighing the amount of stress I put myself under against the boredom that I can’t tolerate. I’m trying hard not to cram too much into my life, but it’s an ongoing challenge. Every time I hear about something that sounds exciting, I want to get involved. Like usual, I’m involved in too much stuff. It’s so difficult to pick and choose because it’s all interesting. Everyone lives with the dichotomy of that struggle between boredom and stress.
A few years ago, a friend visited me with her daughter and two young grandchildren. We chatted for a short time whereupon the oldest child announced, “I’m bored.” My friend’s daughter quickly wrapped up our conversation, telling the child, “Okay, okay, we’re going.” I’m not passing judgement one way or another on her parenting skills. However, the child could have been encouraged to walk around my house observing all the interesting things I have displayed on shelves and walls.
So, how do we grownups combat boredom? We can whine to anyone who will listen, pandering to be entertained. Or, we can adopt the maxim about using stones in our path to build a house. Yes, we can walk around wherever we happen to be observing all the interesting things there. We might actually learn a thing or two or ten or at least have a pleasant experience. We can also accept the stress and learn to flourish under it, remembering that we can back away whenever we desire.
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