Wednesday, 4 July 2012

How to Refuse to be Bored

"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." - Zelda Fitzgerald

This is one of my all time favourite quotes, and a while back I mentioned it in a quiz sent to me by Sabrina from Pouffia. She asked how exactly one goes about putting this into action...  Here's what I came up with.

The life of Zelda Fitzgerald, although synonymous with the adventure and glamour of the Jazz Age, was also a very tragic one.  She spent many years hospitalised after a mental breakdown, and prior to this, engaged in reckless acts which put her life in danger.  You can read more about her and her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald here.  Zelda is also portrayed by Alison Pill in the 2011 film, Midnight In Paris.  

What Zelda seems to be saying in this quote is if you believe, you can achieve.  If you think that you are boring, you will become so.  If you think that you are interesting, you are.  Or, to put it the way the song by Harvey Danger does, "If you're bored, then you're boring."

I used to believe that because I got bored a lot, I was therefore, the dullest person alive.  And then I realised that I had been focussing on the wrong part of that quote.  Instead of focussing on how often I was bored, I should have been working on why  thought I was boring, why was acting boring, why I was making myself seem boring to me.  It was around about this time that I discovered the Zelda quote on Goodreads, and it became my favourite.  Here are a few ways that I've said no to boredom since then.


How to Refuse to be Bored

1. Find a Work/ Play balance.
If the things you usually love to do seem tiresome to you, you're probably doing them too much.  I love to read, but lately, I've been reading all the time instead of working on my thesis, and justifying it by reading Western Australian novels, strictly in line with what I am studying.  (Well, mostly)  But the thing is, I end my day feeling like I have accomplished nothing, and the times I would normally enjoy a good read to wind down (before bed, in the bath) I find myself looking for something else to do.  


Doing the things that need to get done doesn't seem  like a very interesting or impulsive thing to do, but will help you appreciate your downtime, give you a feeling of having accomplished something, and reduce stress considerably later.  


Set yourself tasks for the day to be balanced alongside your leisure activities.

2. Try something new.

The powers that be say do something that scares you every day.  Well.  I'm not a fan of horror movies and I'm certainly not in a hurry to read Stephen King's It but I do have a slight fear of the unknown.  When I think about trying new activities, I often manage to find a multitude of reasons not to go.  But on the odd occasion I do get my behind to the new thing, I really enjoy myself.


Learn the difference between genuinely not wanting to do something and being nervous or anxious.  

Force yourself to do the things you want to try despite your uncertainty.  Today I am going to a yoga class.  You could even try going with a friend.

3. Don't be so self-conscious.

Ever not gone to a movie you really wanted to see just because you were worried what other people would think?  As social beings, we let other people dictate what we do and what we think of things far too much.  We also have a tendency to manifest our insecurities as fears of what others will think.  Ashamed of taking Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus out of the library?  Think the librarian is laughing at you behind your back?  She's not.  She doesn't care what you borrow, she's just doing her job.  You are the one who is judging you.  And you should stop that.


Don't let what you think other people are thinking and doing stop you doing what you feel like. (Unless they are thinking "Hey, pal, don't ride your bike off the edge of that cliff into the water, that's really dangerous.")


Assess the situation: Who thinks the activity you have chosen is lame, you or other people?  Then, do it anyway.  

4. Spend some time spoiling yourself.

You are the best friend you are ever going to have.  And I don't mean that in a "nobody likes you" way.  You are the only one who 100% understands what you are going through, you have all the same tastes as yourself, and you know what you need, even if it doesn't seem obvious right away.  You can also be your own worst enemy- and if you are, perhaps you need to focus on some of the things you like about yourself.  Taking time to catch your breath and just take really good care of yourself can be incredibly relaxing.  There are some things you can only do on your own.


Spending time alone can be like spending time with a cherished friend.


Pamper yourself with a bubble bath and a face mask, or buy yourself a present.  Have a night in with you and celebrate your friendship.  Try and make it a regular thing.

5. Let the world in.

When people invite you to do things with them, if you keep saying No, eventually they will stop asking you.  It's a really fast way to spoil a friendship.  When opportunity knocks, you should at least open the door and inspect the parcel.  And if invitations aren't flooding in, maybe you should send them out.  Humans (especially girls) are social creatures, and we can't get everything we need from one person.  Spend time with the people that you care about, even if it's just watching The Vow with your bestie or going for a quick run.  


An enriching social life is achieved when we create a balance of give and take.  


Accept invitations from your friends, and extend some of your own.

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