Recently, I’ve been a little down in the dumps. Not in the cry my eyes out sort of way, but in the subtle, lethargic apathy kind of way. Being the delightfully small community that it is, Amherst has started to feel cramped. And my life, in a similar trend, has begun to feel stagnant in this bubble.
The worst part about it is how long it takes me to realize I am in a funk. The realities of my life are about as far from a tragedy as you can get: I am getting a fantastic education, I have met people whose company I enjoy and those who I trust implicitly, and I am still getting good grades. I’m vaguely discontent about some amorphic facet of my life that I can barely articulate. Nothing more and nothing less. In the simplest sense, I’m bored.
Now I am the first to admit there’s nothing worse than listening to someone bitch about being bored. Really? That’s the worst thing going on in your life? Boo fucking hoo. The unfortunate reality, however, is that boredom is the worst type of unhappiness. It is subtle and creeping. It’s there all the time. It doesn’t ruin your life, but it dims simple happiness ever so slightly.
While changing your perspective is one of the biggest cliches ever… “oh just think of all the good things in your life.” Yeah, because that’s really going to make me happy about only getting two hours of sleep and bombing my interview the next morning because I haven’t lost my student ID yet this week. But maybe there is something to it.
My mother is one of those ladies who is all about the shitty self-improvement-like articles every so often published in the New York Times. I don’t know when, but recently she read an article and won’t stop touting these stupid pithy ditties advocating change in perspective. While originally resistant— my name may be proud pantaloons, but I am a born cynicist— I’ve decided there may be some credence to acknowledging the things that are going right. I will never be a glass half full kind of person and on my best of days, the most you can ever hope for out of me is that the glass is equally full as empty, but the truth of the matter is that there is always something in your day that could and should make you happy. Maybe some boy you made out with in the box last week actually deigned to say hello to you in Val… almost as if you knew each other, eh? Though we know that will never happen, maybe it was as simple as leftovers of Miriam’s Coffeecake at lunch (seriously, it’s so good). And sometimes talking about those, while subtle mind tricks, really do change your perception of your day every so slightly. No, they can’t cancel out your massive hangover, your teacher calling you out for facebooking in the middle of class, or even just general apathy, but they can offset it just enough to remember bad days aren’t the norm. And even at the worst, there is some good.
Am I still claustrophobic? Yeah. Apathetic? Mostly. Bored? Sometimes. But acknowledging few good things in my day help me recognize the dull shadow boredom has cast on my life. And recognizing it is the first step to doing something about it. There is no cure-all. And where would the fun be in that. But there’s gotta be something to do in the Pioneer Valley to mix it up and I intend to find it. And in the mean time, I’m going to do my best to recognize that being bored is distracting and detracting from my quality of life. Fuck that shit.