It was sometime during high school that I made a simple yet powerful connection between a few thoughts that changed my entire perception of time and what we do with it — as well as eradicating the notion of boredom itself from my life.
This all came back to me last week as I attended a festive meal in honor of the holiday of Shemini Atzeres, part of the high holiday cycle that takes place every year during the Hebrew months of Elul and Tishrei. As we waited for the meal to begin we sat in the living room with a couple of the teenaged children and I asked how school was – and one of them said it was boring.
Many words were exchanged after this but here is the essence. I asked the one daughter to estimate the average human female lifespan in North America and then asked her age. I took the difference and told her based on her figures, that was about what she had left in this lifetime. She said it was a depressing thought and I told her that it should not be – and that it should save her from ever feeling bored again.
Think about all of the books one could possibly ever want to read. If you prefer movies or plays or poetry, think about all of those. Think about all of the things that a person could possibly choose to learn — another language, history, science, mathematics. Think about all of the crafts that one could learn — knitting, candle making, woodcarving, etc. Think of all the forms of art one could learn, practice, teach! Think of the scores of people who have nobody in their lives to tutor them, who struggle with basic reading and math.
There are so many things that a person could choose to do with their time that one could never hope to do even a fraction of all of them in one lifetime. How, then, could the thought “I am bored” even enter ones mind, let alone manifest itself? It is only from not recognizing ones own mortality and how relatively few precious years, months, weeks, hours — one really has to make it all happen.
I hope to follow up with a regular series on what to do instead of choosing to think that one is bored.