Don’t Ever Tell Me You’re Bored

I just don’t understand boredom. Even retired, I don’t seem to have enough hours in my day. I am never, and have never been, bored. As far as I am concerned boredom is a choice. 

As I child, I was the kid who knew how to entertain myself. Though I usually had a single good friend to fill some of my time, I didn’t always need friends around to help me do that. What I also had was my imagination. As I grew, there was always something I needed or wanted to do. I didn’t always like what needed to be done because some of that was making meals and looking after my younger siblings after I turned twelve, but that’s life. I also babysat and sewed my own clothes and tried my skills at multitudes of crafts–­not that they were all as successful as sewing but I was interested in trying. The point is that I was never bored.

At 16, I started working every night after school. When I finished school, I worked full time in the same job before going to community college for a year, during which time, I also worked every night. Afterwards as I moved through life and made different career choices, I either went to school full time and worked part time or worked full time and went to school part time. This continued until sometime after I became a wife and mother in my thirties. We all know that mothers never have time to get bored. But I managed to toss in a distance-learning writing course from Humber while in my forties. 

Flash forward twenty years to retirement and I am still never bored. I found myself with a lot of free time after retirement, and I personally didn’t want to do anything that felt like work. So I didn’t. What I did do, after several months of ruminating, was find all kinds of things that made me happy. Me! Just Me! The Doc had been retired for several years by the time I retired and had his own little life routine that did not include me, so I had to figure out my version of the same thing, which turned out to be a lot more active than his version because I didn’t want to sit as much as he did.

So now my days are filled with yoga, kayaking, piano, walking, gardening, jigsaw puzzles, getting together with friends, enjoying good food, watching baseball, reading, delivering library books to seniors and people stuck at home and writing this blog when the other stuff doesn’t take all my time. I have to admit that the blog has moved lower down the list since its inception, but I still enjoy writing it when something comes to mind. Also, sometimes I have to stop all these fun things to clean the toilets and vacuum the floors, but I have to admit that they are not my top priority.

One of the reasons for this blog topic is my mother, who complains that she is bored every time I visit her. She is now in a care home, but has been complaining of boredom for the past fifteen years at least. The reason for this is that she never developed hobbies. She reads and does crossword puzzles until she says her eyes hurt, but that is about it. I bought her a beautiful colouring book and markers and coloured pencils, but she doesn’t do this because she finds it messy. I offered to bring in some jigsaw puzzles but she doesn’t want them either. Those would create clutter. God forbid that there be a little clutter in her boring world. And according to her, there is nothing good on TV. This is because the only shows she wants to watch are old reruns of The Waltons and Murder She wrote. To be honest, I find her state of boredom exhausting. 

My mother’s self worth was always based on her job, her house and her appearance. She worked very hard at making sure all these things were perfect. She is a product of her era and doesn’t know any other way to fill her time. This I think is very sad because I have watched her waste so much valuable time being bored. 

What watching her has done for me is showed me how not to age. Years ago, I suggested that she take up walking, but she didn’t want to. After retirement, she didn’t stay physically active and lost most of her muscle control before she should have. She didn’t embrace new activities and hobbies to make her world larger and more enjoyable. She has been essentially putting in time. All that precious time. And although she is ninety-three and frail, she has no prevailing medical conditions and is very healthy except for a little short-term memory loss. The biggest thing she suffers from is boredom and there is nothing I can do about it.

As I said above, boredom is a choice. I have always chose not to be bored and that is the way I plan to stay as I age. Being mentally and physically active is a key to everyone’s future quality of life. So please never ever complain to me that you are bored because the only person who can change that is you.

Thank you for reading. 

Photo: Priscilla Du Preez Unsplash

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17 thoughts on “Don’t Ever Tell Me You’re Bored

  1. I agree. To me boredom is lack of curiosity with a dash of creativity and I don’t think that I was ever bored in my life. I may have been close to being bored when stuck in a conversation with a boring person, so I think I know what it feels like to be bored. HAving said that, being in a nursery home may be a bit like being stuck in a conversation with a boring person. I wonder now what it will be like for me…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I plan on avoiding the nursing home for as long as possible but then taking some of my activities with me if and when I go. Guess I will need headphones for my piano when and if the time comes. I’ve see the rooms. It will fit.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I really couldn’t agree more – especially with the comment, ‘boredom is a choice’ – it is exactly that!

    When we were kids and it was raining and we couldn’t play outside, we’d sometimes sit in the lounge with our friends and moan we were bored – we got zero sympathy from my parents – they just told us to ‘find something to do then!’ – so we did and then we weren’t bored! Imagination was definitely key.

    Now my mother unfortunately has let herself get into an unmoving state in her care home and doesn’t even do the jigsaws or read and she also says she’s bored. I find it very frustrating that now she’s insisting on being wheeled around in a wheelchair when, only a few months ago when she left her home, she was able to walk with sticks into her gardens. She won’t even stand up on her own now. But, like your Mum, she is physically very healthy and actually more robust than I am (I have a lot of annoying ‘chronics’).

    I just had a taste of proper retirement while I had my broken wrist and couldn’t work for 3 months – and I loved every minute of it and really didn’t want to go back! I didn’t notice being any less busy either…

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  3. I’m so thankful that my mom was also one that was never bored. Now she’s also in her 90s but is involved in so many activities everyday that shes never in her room and I often can’t reach her by phone. She’s not in a nursing home but extended care, I don’t think she could stand a nursing home so thankfully she’s healthy. Maggie

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  4. The only ones I see bored in retirement are those that don’t have a lot of interests and hobbies. That’s never been an issue for me. As I tell people, I thought there would be a grace period where I woke up happy each day after retirement, and it would wear off. It still hasn’t happened yet.

    I look forward to each new day with a positive attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I understand your frustration with people who tell you they’re bored. I grew up a lonely only and my parents told me if I was bored that meant it was time for me to take some action and get un-bored. It was all up to me. It’s been a good lesson in life. I can always find something to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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