I May Be Boring But I’m Not Bored

Twenty year-old me would think my current life is heinously boring.

Mostly stay-at-home mom, living in a small town on an island and I work part-time for myself making a teeny tiny fraction of my previous salary.

Fame and fortune haven’t found me.

I’m not training for anything exciting like an Ironman and I haven’t tested myself at a new sport in a few years.

I read a lot of nonfiction and couldn’t name a current top ten single.

Meal plans excite me. So does my son willingly brushing his teeth. I’m content with and fascinated by things I once thought mundane like having a family no-spend day once a week.

I’m okay with being boring. But being boring does not mean I am bored. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was truly bored.

While a much younger me would think my current life was boring, that younger me was also bored at times. I’d be out of books to read, have no money for movies and no energy to do much because I was training three times a day. If I was lucky enough to have cable I would spend the afternoon flipping through channels just killing time until the next workout. I was ‘living the dream’ trying to make it to the Olympics but I was, in fact, sometimes bored.

Today: not bored. The life of a mostly stay-at-home-mother might sound boring, and yes, it is filled with a lot of mundane and repetitive tasks, but for me at least, I’m never bored. It’s a good thing.

Boredom often lead me to buy things I didn’t really need. Some people buy things because they’re under stress or feeling bad. I bought for those reasons but I also bought things because I was bored.

Shopping was a way to fill time and feel like something had happened.

One thing I’ve found through simplifying my possessions is an appreciation for the mundane aspects of my life. SimpleMom wrote about living a good story, even when your story includes a lot of diapers, dishes and a like clockwork tantrum before dinner.

But what does it look like to live out a good, relevant, gets-me-up-in-the-morning Story when it still just feels like…. regular life?

– Tsh Oxenrider

My life is regular and sometimes quite boring to the outside eye. That’s okay.

I’m the one living it.

If I can appreciate the simple things in my life, if I can enjoy them, that’s what matters. So I’ll be here, washing my dishes with some frugal flowers on the windowsill, tweaking next week’s meal plan so I can buy what’s on sale and when the weather is better than expected, skipping the library story time for the park.

I may be boring but I am not bored. And the difference between the two has lead me to spend less, save more and enjoy the my life as it is right now.

Do you feel like your life looks boring from the outside? What about from the inside? Please note, this does not mean I don’t get bored with some of my repetitive tasks like mopping out the bottom of our fridge every week from the condensation build up.

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  • I’ve had to restrain myself recently because a few people have commented on how they couldn’t do what I do because it’s too boring. Instead, I turn the conversation to their jobs: meetings, phone calls, reports, data, same old same old. I find that boring myself! It’s more the lack of social contact that scares some, but it doesn’t take much to have a social life outside a workplace. Nor does it take a “boss” to make goals and measure progress.

    I consider staying at home kind of a dream job. Not the cleaning and butt wiping, but the fact my time is my own? Priceless. I have more time to read and learn than ever, and since going to school for the rest of my life would be prohibitively expensive, I’ve recreated that environment in my own home. All I lack is a large group of know-it-alls to argue with about everything I’ve read.

    We live very modestly. But I thank my lucky stars I even get to be insulted by people who “couldn’t stay at home” because a lot of folks don’t have that choice.

    • Nor does it take a “boss” to make goals and measure progress.

      So true, Starr. Thanks for this reminder. I also think of my current situation as a dream job. Not everyone’s dream job but mine.

    • Totally agree Starr! I still work part-time in the same job that I worked at fulltime before becoming a mother. It’s a professional, well-paying job, but it has more than its share of monotony and foolish corporate games. Personally, I prefer toddler games and the monotonous aspects of motherhood, and the hugs are worth more than any salary.

  • I could have written this myself, it’s very similar to how I feel. I used to have a good job in London, go out for lots of meals out, weekends away etc. Haven’t worked for eight years now, since my eldest daughter was born. I love being at home and being able to pick the kids up from school, and get plenty of time to bake most of our cakes etc now. I’m certainly not bored and very content with my life, even though people assume that because I’m well educated I must want something more “stimulating”.

    • Someone told me that because I’m not busy I must be really bored. There is such a strange and wrong perception of living at a slower pace. Sure, not being busy may be boring if you’re used to be overscheduled and overworked. But I find that I actually have time to think, engage and rest now. And I always have something to do (even if that something seems unimportant to busy people).

      • An argument could be made that the dependence on busy-ness could be a symptom of boredom. It takes a creative person to be able to be entertained (for lack of a better word) without constant activity. I understand that people have different temperaments and different needs for interaction, activity, etc. But I do think there’s a lot to be said for finding interesting things to do during downtime.

        • It seems that so many people haven’t had downtime to realize what is on the other side. You hear so many stories of people not realizing many things until they were forced in some way to have down time. I am one of them who was “forced” into downtime when my daughter was born. It’s been a wonderful road since.

      • Merton in “No Man is an Island” said: “Why do we have to spend our lives striving to be something we would never want to be, if we only knew what we wanted? Why do we waste our time doing things, which if we only stopped to think about them, are just the opposite of what we are made for? We cannot be ourselves unless we know ourselves.” :)

  • This article is perfect! It is funny because as my children were growing up I always told them when they would complain that they were “bored” is: “You can never be bored, only boring!” Then I would encourage them to come up with ideas and find something that they enjoyed doing. They started to look within themselves to find out what is of value to them instead of looking outside of themselves to be contantly entertained.

    • My mom said the same thing to me growing up. :)
      Of course, I’m talking about something a bit different. That having a simple and kinda mundane may be boring from the outside but it does not mean the one living it is bored.

  • I liked this. :) I had the luck to marry someone who was one of my best friends in college and so even in our married life, it’s just like hanging out when we were younger. People don’t understand why we don’t get out very much, but they don’t understand – I’m with the person who has brought me the most joy and fun in my life! And now we have a kid! Things can be on the mundane side (a trip to the grocery store seems like vacation), but we’re definitely not bored – maybe just a little boring to our friends.

  • Hi Rachel,
    I think being bored helps you to be creative. And it is very difficult to be bored nowadays because of TV and the internet. I think it is good for kids to be bored now and then, it helps them to find ways to play and be creative.

  • I am a stay-at-home empty-nester. I don’t even have my grandchildren nearby to fill my days, so how’s that for boring? When my kids were still at home, I spent my days taking care of them and the house, reading, watching TV, and doing too much shopping. Now I rarely watch TV, have cut way back on shopping and spending, and am having some rich life experiences with people I love instead. I enjoy my days home alone, and my husband and I are getting to know each other all over again. I am never bored!

  • You read my mind! Just yesterday I told a friend that our lives may not be too exciting, but they’re full of meaning and purpose. In fact I’ve found more meaning and purpose in “settling down” in my life than all my years of roaming and excitement.

  • I think the younger me was always afraid that if I wasn’t out there participating I was somehow missing out. I spent a lot of time going out with “friends” that I didn’t really like, working my ass off so I could have the illusion of being important, and just generally running myself ragged in a doomed quest to “matter.”

    It took me many years to realize that the only thing I was missing out on was the opportunity to truly experience my own life. Life isn’t “out there” somewhere, it’s right here and right now. I can’t imagine being bored – even if all I’m doing is lying in a sunbeam watching particles of dust catch the sunlight.

  • fantastically true. in my 20s, i spent so much effort entertaining myself. now in my 30s i’m never bored. it’s not (just) that i have a million things to do but more that the perspective of one with lots of responsibility reveals that there’s so much fun, frivolousness available if you can manage the time for it. =D

    beautiful article that loops brilliantly into “less is more”. well done.

  • I personally love the slow pace now, I don’t think I can go back to the “rat race. When my children tell me:” I’m bored” I tell them: Only boring people get bored:) If loving peace, quiet and simple is boring, I LOVE BORING!

  • Having recently moved to a new country, I find myself between schools and without a job. I’m fortunate enough to be able to spend my time reading, cooking and exploring my new surroundings – and yet, everyone I talk to back home keeps asking, “But what about a job? What about school? AREN’T YOU BORED?”

    Bored? How could I possibly be bored, with only 24 years behind me? I have no idea why the a job – jobs that I hear nothing but complaints about, by the way – should somehow single-handedly save me from my own mind. Indeed, experiencing NOT simultaneously balancing work and school for the first time, I am blessedly “bored”. I luxuriate in my “lack” of activity. I spend days with my cats, pondering whether I should finish my novel or head to the train station and get lost in a new neighborhood. Sometimes, I just take a nap.

    I panicked at first, certain the my life had lost meaning, that I needed to justify my existence to others by filling up every possible hour of it with activities that seemed relevant and legitimate. Wasn’t I undeserving of so much unfettered time? I was previously ALWAYS busy, and actually, I loved that too. I loved running in circles, feeling flustered but important, involved in everything. I felt…relevant.

    But I love this theoretically boring existence too. Cheers to the simple(r) life.

  • I surely do not think you are boring… I live in Montreal, have 40 pieces of clothes, live in a 800 sq ft apartment with my son and husband… do not own a car anymore… eat a vegetarian organic diet… do yoga, write a blog, soon will have a book coming out… and I am truly happy…
    I completely understand what you are saying… basically you just learn to enjoy the little things in life… or what seems like the little things to many… but they are what is truly important… and what makes life so woth while! When you life is clutter with stuff and activities and things to do you miss those things… like looking at the leafs in the trees changing color, the varying intensities of the rain, the color of ths sky of the cloud, a hug from your son, a kiss from your husband… THAT is important…

  • Love this – I feel the same way about my life. We got rid of our TV about a month ago and oddly enough, we haven’t missed it once! Our kids are less bored than they were with the TV around – and so are we! We’ve been filling the TV time with walks, reading, crocheting (me), and just talking.

  • Being a mostly stay at home mom is such a gift! My husband and I have a blended family; 6 kids total. I was not able to stay at home before we were together. My kids have commented on how much less stressed I am and how much more time I have for them. I am not trying to crunch quality time into 2 hours after dinner. I don’t rely on drive thru windows because I am too tired to cook. I am constantly trying new things like recipes or *soft squeal* organization idea, or a simpler more natural way to (enter anything I would normally do here). My home projects are getting done, my kids are learning there is a different way to live and there are many benefits to it. We do live simpler, not quite as simply as some, but we do not have cable, or buy many new clothes or things for that matter. I cannot seem to change my teenagers appetites for such “stuff” but I am hoping it will catch on.

    From the outside we look boring. I cannot comment on shows currently on TV. I have no idea what movie is in theaters. My world is substantially smaller, and happier. There is nothing better than curling up with my hubby, crochet project and a cup of hot tea. Not working full time has opened up so many doors for us. We have a group from church meet weekly in our home. We all eat dinner together at least 6 of 7 nights a week (including teenagers and one adult child). I can concentrate on taking advantage of teachable moments with the kids – when before I was too tired! My husband is happy. I am happy. None of us are bored . . . well occasionally we get a complaint from our 8 or 9 yo but that is easily solved. And I have to say, praise God! I am so much more thankful now too!!

  • Yep! I’m sure my life looks boring to some. But I never feel bored, either! And despite what busy outsiders might think, there aren’t enough hours in the day for my plans at home, either, especially since I also work at home. The great part is I’m my own boss, I get to do some things I want to, and I’m around pretty much all the time my kids are home. I am able to cook healthy meals 3x a day (though I’m not a huge fan of cooking, I am of eating!). I don’t have to buy a “work” wardrobe, I’m not driving myself crazy taking kids to ten different activities a week, I use up less gas and spend less money. I have time and peace to think about what’s really important in life. Sometimes I get a little jealous of what other people get to do, but then I look at all the time and money they spend on things I don’t care about anyway. I wouldn’t trade the “slow pace” of my life!

  • Wow! Thank you for this post. I just quit a job that I had for all of five days, after having been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years. I was more bored at “work” than I’ve ever been at home…I think working as a stay-at-home mom isn’t boring at all. It’s the busiest and best job I’ve ever had the privilege of enjoying.

  • Ironically it has taken me 4 days to read this compellingly titled post because I have been so busy! haha!
    I too am boring but by no means bored. In fact I have a post title in my head swimming around ‘So much to do so little time’. On a similar vein to this post, where I am coming from is that I have simplified so much that finally (yes finally) I have the space to do all these things I really want to do rather than what I felt I should do previously. It’s not a case of being busy for the sake of it. Suddenly there is so much i want to get my teeth into that I actually feel overwhelmed – but in a good way – a fit-to-burst way.

  • I actually think my life looks more exciting from the outside now than when I was 20. I was an exceptionally well-behaved 20-year-old, who mostly just did a lot of homework as I finished off my engineering degree. I actually lament a youth that was not misspent, even a little.

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