|Courtesy - Missbrain.com|
Not just children, even we adults have been through a phase when we felt stagnant, listless and bored out of our wits. Most of us will choose to ignore it. Why risk moving out of our comfort zone when we can wallow in misery instead? For a while we do try our best to fill the void with a bungee jump down a ravine or holing up in a forest reserve for days. It is rejuvenating, gives us a high but it is temporary.
A select few take it as a wakeup call and try to break out of the rut – walk out of a stifling relationship, rethink priorities, forsake the boardroom to live a life less lived. Unfortunately, not many have the liberty to renounce comfort for the sake of dreams.
Many of us have the tendency to drift off towards distractions during phases of boredom.
Tedium is a scary thing – it can be constructive or destructive. It all depends on what you choose to do with it.
When you are younger, you are busy climbing the stairs to success. You have milestones to look forward to – a six figure salary, a vacation in Salzburg, a house with a garage, your dream car in the garage, your dream partner in that car. And when you finally reach the summit, you are overwhelmed by the lack of direction you are now confronted with. You are on a plateau and do not know where to proceed. Where do I go now, what do I have to look forward to?
In our clockwork precise lives we seldom pause to think and evaluate our choices. Perhaps we do not want to. And when we finally do get time to introspect, we do not like what we see.
Most of us are scared of having nothing to do at all, at least I am. We fill our time with countless activities. We are afraid to be alone with our thoughts because we do not know what we will end up discovering.
Boredom is the breeding ground for unhappiness.
It was about nine years back I was hit with this dreaded ennui. As our plane from Goa touched down on the Delhi runway, I couldn’t stop my tears running down my cheeks. In laid back Goa we had encountered life at its languid best. We had experienced the joy of having nothing to do at all yet be filled with a sense of calm. The thought of having to come back to the tedium of chores and the unending list of to-do’s filled me with dread. Goa had opened my eyes to the ordinariness of my life.
This despite being blessed with everything a woman could ask for – a close knit family, a warm welcoming house and a job that kept me charged up. So why was I filled with a sense of despondency? Was I behaving like a petulant child, craving for a utopian existence?
Perhaps I was. I was seized with this state of restlessness yet I refused to do anything about it. I did the next best thing. I got busier and made sure that feeling got buried under a heap of inconsequential trivialities. I knew I was procrastinating.
You know, I often ask my friends to be selfish. I tell them you are your first priority. Only when you are happy, can you make your family happy. Martyrdom looks good only in books and movies. Two years back when I finally decided to leave my job, I knew I was doing the right thing. It took me almost three years to make up my mind. No, let me correct that, my husband coerced me to make up my mind. A lot of my friends were convinced that I had lost it, but I haven’t regretted the decision even once.
When I finally put in my papers, I made a list of things I always wanted to do but never had the time for. I started learning dancing with 12-year olds for company, took a second shot at driving and most importantly I was finally writing. It was a dream I had nurtured for long.
Now that I have the time to think, I often ask myself – what is the purpose of my life? I have always taken life as it comes, welcoming the ups and shrugging off the lows as part of life. But is being a good mother, a loving wife and a teacher who was perhaps instrumental in influencing a few young minds, enough? It gives me immense joy that my blog-posts put a smile on some of your faces. But that doesn’t qualify as a purpose. Or does it?
Recently the husband attended the 7 Habits signature program and came back with a revelation that changed his way of thinking. He was asked “when you are celebrating your 80th birthday, what would you like your family, friends and colleagues to tell about you?” What stumped him was the realisation that, while we talk of goals and mission and organisational vision at our work place, we almost never define these objectives when it comes to our own lives and our families. It got us thinking on how screwed up our priorities are. Look how we push ourselves beyond our limits for success. How often we take our most loved ones for granted. Your battles, your victories, your achievements are of no consequence if they failed to fill you with a sense of self-satisfaction. And when you look back they all seem trivial in the larger scheme of life.
Friends, success, acquisitions are no guarantee for happiness – it has to come from within.
So what should be our priorities be really? Should it be material goals or simply achieving a state of mind? A life where you stood by your core values without having to compromise or a life when you trampled over fragile egos and blazed your way to the top. Have you ever wondered why our childhood memories fill us with so much happiness? Because it makes us recount the days when we had an open heart and we embraced the good with the bad. We knew no angst, no hate and stress was something that only our parents had.
I crave for that state of bliss.
So what would I like my cherished ones to say on my 80th birthday? That I was a good human being, the eastern Sun who spread sunshine in their lives... the one who made them smile.....the one who stood by them no matter what...
If I can earn so much goodwill, can I really have any reason to feel bored with life?