Making friends with a Boring Life.
People ask me,
And I say, with a smile,
One year later they ask me, “what’s new?,” and I say “nothing.”
Two years later they ask me, “what’s new?” I say, “nothing, really. Same sweet home, same sweet dog, same hard but fun work, same bike and working away at my sweet office or in those same Boulder cafes.” Same life for 17 years now.
Routine. Boring. I fall asleep on the couch, like an old man, more often than I post selfies in Bali or even enjoy a bourbon with a friend at a hip bar on a Friday night.
But one time, as I half-apologized for being so boring, an acquaintance rejoindered:
“It’s not boring so much as that you’ve got it dialed.”
I liked that.
I’m living a life I can feel pretty good about. It isn’t perfect, because perfect ain’t life.
But it’s basically good, simple, fun, hard, boring, ethical in all those annoying eco ways, silly, communityful.
It reminds me, perhaps, of the Blue Zones.
Blue Zones? Those places in the world where lots of people live over the age of 100–because all they do is work honest simple jobs (ikigai, right livelihood—see videos, below) eat real food, see community without planning to see community, constant low-level exercise.
So if my life is boring, I say, well: you’re right.
But boring is what parents do. Boring is what public servants do. Boring is what craftfolks do, or service industry. Boring is duty. Boring is everything that isn’t selfish. Boring is about putting others before our silly selves.
But, too, boring is about contentment. Boring is about enjoying the little things: a sip of coffee, taking out the recycling, doing the dishes, waking up to sunshine, playing with Redford.
It may not be instagrammable, particularly, or VSCO-worthy or FOMO-making…but it’s a good little life I’m enjoying waking up to, again and again.
Bertrand Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness: “We are less bored than our ancestors were, but we are more afraid of boredom. We have come to know, or rather to believe, that boredom is not part of the natural lot of man, but can be avoided by a sufficiently vigorous pursuit of excitement…Certain good things are not possible except where there is a certain degree of monotony… A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow processes of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers, as though they were cut flowers in a vase.”
Some of that we help with in Elephant Academy: find your path, find your community, find your voice this Fall.
Image source of Blue Zones, above.
Top image: Redford can supervise any fun activities on the whole park behind my house from there.