Boredom is good for us. Play. Rest. Time for our brains to do all that imagining. Time to go inside ourselves.
But for me, personally? Ick.
Here’s the sitch (my 90s kid cred, roll with it).
I can’t work right now, and I should be applying for new jobs but I don’t know what I’ll be up for or when. My physical activity is limited. Normally I work off anxiety with physical exercise, which is currently limited to Qi Gong and rambling walks.
There’s plenty I had laid out for myself during these months of recovery — and I am notably doing so much better than projected — but I’m having trouble making myself sit still long enough to do any of it. I wanted to crochet presents, edit my novel, learn to play You Are the Moon on keyboard. Instead I wander. I watch Jessica Jones. I get up in the middle of episodes or paragraphs to just walk.
Am I finding out what I really care about, while the pressure is off? I don’t think so. I think without a set schedule, I’m at the whims of my house mates, often lonely and restless. I wanted to be walking all summer, and now I am, because the air has finally cooled. It’s all in the timing.
My restlessness comes from feeling like I don’t get to choose when or how I’m alone, but I can choose this place. Today I choose to walk, and write.
Tomorrow I will choose again.
I’m discovering some strange things about loneliness. When I was a kid, I would read for hours every day, curl up in a tree or a fort, in a closet nest, on my bed. I still do that on days off. But without anything to play hooky from, less satisfying. Unless someone is coming over, hard to care about cleaning my room.
Maybe it’s not about being alone. I get this illusion of connectivity, through twitter and Facebook and my phone. I feel lonelier with the illusion of connectivity while physically alone. For a writer, I’m a very physical person, needing affection, and the closeness and human smells of very specific people. And having my phone in line of sight actually reduces my attention span, according to several studies. I can feel it. My phone is also how I took these pictures, and I’m writing on the much more user friendly WordPress mobile app. So it’s a matter of balance — combating the feeling of being available but unwanted in the way cell phones are so good at making me feel.
What I need is patience.
Patience to see what shape this feeling takes when it blossoms. Patience in love, so I don’t crush or over water what I believe could be an oak tree.
Patience in work, while I relearn my body, and allow the healing to happen. Patience because not only does my body tire easily, but it feels like right now my mind does too.
Patience with my heart and mind, while I process the depth and breadth of my feelings, instead of trying to sort them and get them over with. Staring into the hearts of trees, the ripples on the water, present but still not wanting to sit with myself, it’s clear we have different ways of avoiding feelings. While I had been frustrated until recently about a friend refusing to face his feelings, I think I put my feelings on an agenda like a business item, and am surprised when I’m still feeling them, and still need to talk. We already made a decision in the meeting — why are we still here, heart?
And the need for patience feels so much more clear when I have nothing I have to do. Hundreds of books to read, a dozen shows to watch, projects to finish or edit or start, my brother’s graduate school application to edit, but everything unscheduled, often waiting on someone else. Without work and my time scheduled for me, waiting becomes a new kind of meditation. So I’m just…here. And just here is a hard place to be.
But it’s worth being grateful for being here. As people have time and reach out to me, I’m realizing that while I have often been lonely and restless due to a lack of control, planning more than one activity or hang out in a day sounds exhausting. I still need a lot of time to rest and do me-things. I’m applying to start massage school in a month, and I’ll have plenty of work before I’m ready.
For now, I breathe through this.
P.S. I’d love to know the classification of my new mushroom friend.