Todd Durrant’s Random Thoughts
Follow the efforts of a creative, crazed entrepreneur.

I’m Never Bored

While glancing at the Friendbar ticker that constantly scrolls across my Firefox browser window, I noticed a comment that a friend made either on Twitter or Facebook (Friendbar conveniently shows both without me having to open a page on either site).   “I’m bored…”   I’ve seen those status reports before.

“I’m bored.”

You know, the last time I can faintly remember saying those words myself was many many years ago, possibly when I was in my early teens.  I know I said it quite a lot when I was even younger…

“Mommy, I’m bored.”

But I learned not to say it, just like my own children have quickly learned never to tell mom or dad that they are bored.  Why?  Well, that statement usually results in a response like, “Well, I can sure give you something to do.”  That means jobs.  The ultimate cure for boredom is work.

Maybe that is why I can’t remember the last time that I’ve actually been bored, at least in my adult years.   I can’t remember the last time I found myself sitting around, upset that I didn’t have anything to do.  In fact, I kind of wish I’d have one of those quiet occasions every once in a while, though I don’t think it would be a negative feeling of boredom– more like a euphoric state of relaxation.  “Woohoo!  I don’t have anything to do for the next couple of hours!”

Whether it is work, hobbies, family, interests, or even specific entertainment interests, I always have much more on my plate than I have time to accomplish.  It’s no wonder my life often feels like a race.  It isn’t a race I’m necessarily winning, but it is always on the go.  If I’m not asleep, then I have something that I’m doing, and usually a short list of other things that I wish I were doing, or that I’ll get to next, once I have a minute.   Even if my primary job becomes slow, there are at least a dozen things in my head that I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time, so I jump right into it.   Writing this blog, for example, is something I enjoy doing, and something I hope to get to every week.  I have to find a time slot somewhere to crank out my next entry.  As soon as this is done, I’ll be on to the next thing.   That next thing, I promise, won’t be to post a Tweet announcing that I’m bored.

You know, I even have a pile of DVD’s that I’ve purchased over the years that I’ve never watched.  I have a shelf of books I’ve never read, but I sure intended to when I bought them, and I hope some day to get to it.

A couple of days ago I was walking to a neighbor’s house for a visit and my younger son was walking beside me.  He asked, “Are you stressed?”   Actually, I think he meant to say something else, but that’s what I heard.

“I guess I’m usually stressed,” I replied.

It made me think, is the high level of activity that I maintain in my life a cause of stress?  Or is it actually a blessing?  Sure, I’d love a little more time off.  In fact, I finally grabbed my wife last night and took her out to dinner without the kids because I felt like we aren’t getting a break often enough.   I haven’t had a real “vacation” for many years.  At least not the kind of vacations I see my friends and colleagues take.  I’m often surprised when a work associate in Europe says, “We’ll be closed for the next month because of holidays.”

What?  A month-long holiday?  I don’t think I’ve had one of those in my entire life!  In fact, the longest holiday I remember taking was my 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii when I shut down everything and went to Hawaii for a week.  In all, I took off about ten days.  Even now, when I’ve announced something like, “I’ll be shutting down for a week for a vacation,” that usually means I’ll be doing something fun with my family for a 3-day weekend, and then I have some other work obligations that will keep me from getting back to the store for a while, or I have taxes I need to work on, etc.  I usually am not technically on holiday during that entire time.  I know that for Christmas I’ve taken 4 or 5 days off before, just to relax and spend time with my family.  I suppose I’m a workaholic. Sure that can sometimes mean stress, but maybe after a while, that stress level becomes the norm and you don’t notice so much anymore.

I actually took about two hours off on Monday during lunch, and I did something meaningless, but fun.  I plotted a road trip that would take about 33 days to complete, if you count extra days spent in certain locations.  The total journey was just over 10,000 miles driving.  It would pass through a couple dozen US states and three Canadian territories, stopping in several major cities and some smaller scenic spots.  Of course, this is a fantasy trip.   I can’t imagine ever pulling it off in reality because it would cost something like $10,000 to make the trip (money I don’t have), and when would I ever have 33 days to drive a big loop around the country?  But after showing it to my family (particularly to my older son), everyone was cheering,  “We should really do it!”  Knowing full well we couldn’t, we still talked about it and imagined what it would be like to live on the road as a family for more than a month, with a drive time that amounted to seven complete days (about 165 hours of driving).   Do you want to see the route?  Here it is:

Durrant Fantasy Road Trip

Durrant Fantasy Road Trip

Of course, part of our conversation about this trip was all the things we would do during the trip.  Seriously, who could think of something more boring than driving 5, 6, 7, 8 or more hours per day?  But no!  We’d film a documentary about the trip.  We’d film and edit several music videos along the way.  We’d take thousands of photos.  We’d blog about each day’s events.  We’d have a DVD and screen in the car to watch movies.  We’d see all the sights.  We’d stop and visit distant family members while making the trip, and meet up with friends for lunch.  There would be nothing boring about spending 33 days on the road together.

I can’t help but think that being busy is a good thing.  I can look back and see things that I’ve been able to get done, and it makes me happy.  If you’ve ever been interested in hiking, then you know the thrill of reaching the peak of the mountain and looking down to see how far you’ve come.  Whey do people hike mountains?  Because it’s there!  It wants to be climbed, and you want to be able to stand on the top and say, “I did it!”  Well, you didn’t really beat the mountain– it’s still there the next day after you’ve left, begging to be climbed again.  But for a moment, you were there.   That’s kind of how I feel when I look at something I did with my time.  At least for a moment it feels like I did something big, and I reached some kind of summit.  Then I move on to the next mountain.

Yep, it’s true.  I no longer know what it means to be bored.  Actually, I’m glad for that, because there are too many things to do in life.  There are too many things that are more important than silence.  There are too many opportunities awaiting.  There are too many friends to visit.  There are too many songs and stories to write.  There is just too much to do in one lifetime to ever find myself bored.  I’ll take the stress willingly and even embrace it if I must.



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