“‘If you could, would you?’ Probably not, let’s face it, I’m not the kind of guy who does.” – New York Times Bestselling Author John Green
My dear readers, I’m going to be very frank with you: I have many things I could be doing with my time right now. I could be reading the massive pile of unread books sitting on my shelf (stop glaring at me like that, Loki…and I REALLY don’t like that look you’re giving me, Paper Towns!) or I could be finishing the half-watched anime series that I’ve barely touched since the semester ended. I could be working on writing that Star Trek / Avengers crossover fanfic I started forever ago, or even start writing the idea for the sci-fi story I’ve been revising over and over in my mind but never typed out. I could be working on a costume, I could be re-organizing my room, I could be exercising…and yet I am doing none of these things. Readers, I am undoubtably, unbelievably, incredibly, and inexcusably:
So bored that I took more time than I should have coming up with all of those adverbs.
Never in my 13 years of formal schooling have I wanted summer to end this badly. I’ve actually already folded a good deal of the clothes I own and am seriously considering living out of my suitcase for the next three weeks, just so it can feel like I’m moving back into my cozy room in Lafrenz-Poole Hall sooner than I actually am. If I was back at school, at least I would be required to do something meaningful! Voluntary action? I’m just not feeling it. What makes it worse is knowing that these next few days are going to be completely stagnant. Nothing even remotely exciting that might help pull me out of this rut is happening until next week, and even so, I can’t bring myself to get excited for those things either! Guardians of the Galaxy premier? Leaving for the beach? Whatever.
To be completely honest, when I slowed down and started thinking about the complete lack of motivation I’m experiencing, I freaked myself out a bit. What exactly is my problem? I have so many things I could be accomplishing at this point in time with no obstacles, so why don’t I want to do any of them? Why do I feel as if there’s no point to doing them even if I mustered up the motivation?
Wait a moment, I thought. I know where this is going. I’ve asked one question and now I can’t stop – what’s the point in doing anything? Am I turning into some kind of watered-down part-time nihilist who can’t find meaning in her actions anymore? Actually typing all of these thoughts out makes them sound a bit silly – both to me and to you, I’m sure – but I’ve learned to be hyper-vigilant in examining myself when these kinds of thoughts start rearing their heads. An unfortunate side-effect of having succumbed to an everything-is-pointless mentality for real at one point, I’m afraid. Needless to say, I’m definitely not too keen on thinking anything like that again!
Thankfully, though, my wondering about the meaning of life and if anything I do has any worth probably isn’t the lingering fragments of my four-years-passed mental illness. Rather, I like to call these thoughts “the interesting questions” as my former honor’s program director would say. Asking these kind of questions is extremely interesting, and also strangely empowering.
Why exactly should I go read that book I haven’t touched, rather than lounge around pondering how bored I am? Does one activity have more inherent worth than the other? If it does, then why? Are some things more worth getting excited about than others, or is everything worth excitement, or is nothing worth excitement? And who decides what that worth is? Me, or someone else?
Referring back to the title of this post – am I a nihilist? Of course not! Questioning, I believe, isn’t disavowing all meaning in anything; it’s expanding my awareness. By asking the “interesting questions” about something as mundane as “why am I bored?”, I’m able to gain a better understanding of myself, of how and what I think. And if I don’t find “meaning” or “worth” in whatever I’m questioning, then I can create meaning if I choose to! I decide what’s worth my time, what’s worth my excitement and my energy. How incredibly empowering!
I really hope I’m not the only one who ponders existentialist philosophy on boring afternoons.
How about you, readers? Any sudden epiphanies that have come to you when you didn’t have much to do beside think? Or any other interesting stories that have come out of summer boredom? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, and as always, I invite you to follow me!