My life is excessively boring.
I miss my journal. It was a constant companion that carried me through some of the toughest moments in my life. The truth is my “journal” was multiple volumes and not just one book. Faithfully, I would come to its pages at night by candlelight, sometimes with jazz or wine. I’d write about my day, no matter how mundane, and process the world without fear or interruption.
I haven’t spent significant time with my journal in almost 10 years. We’ve become strangers. I don’t live alone, and finding time to think, much less write, happens only late at night after the kid is in bed and my husband is washing dishes. Even then, when quiet finally happens, I focus on work. I catch up on assignments or try to get a head start on others. Taking time for myself seems futile.
I can’t blame time, solely. I have to blame myself. I’ve become wretchedly boring. There is nothing about me of interest. I got old. I complain about politics and think about dying my hair crazy colors but manage, most of the time, to only throw whatever cheap brown I grab at the grocery over my hair to cover the grays. It’s painful. Who is this woman?
Though I can’t recall the last time I felt truly idealistic, I used to have dreams. I wanted to make things happen and now I just want to make enough money to pay my bills and move into a new house. A new house is the equivalent of dreaming of a better vacuum —all function and no fun.
Am I having a midlife crisis? I think I am.
I’m having it in the most classic way possible, and my instinct is to flatline and delve into my routines, ignoring the feelings of restlessness and apathy. Sometimes I think I should take a leave of absence from life as a mother and wife to find an adventure somewhere that I’ve never been, but that takes initiative, less apathy and an amount of cold disconnect that I don’t have.
Existential boredom is different from being depressed. I’m not that. I’ve been there, so midlife crisis confirmed. I’ve got to figure out what to do about it.
It seems that my first step should be remembering and reclaiming the person that I used to be. Does that mean I’m going to go clubbing and wake up on the floor of a random friend? Probably not, but I think the unfortunate next step in this conversation with myself is what drives my peers to sign up for ballroom dancing classes. I’m just not ready for that, though I admit a silver chignon would look pretty swanky on me. I don’t think I could pull off the tiny dance outfits just yet — a few more yoga classes and perhaps.
Taking up a stable of young lovers sounds dangerously fun. I’m not sure that my husband would appreciate it. However, we are looking to move, and having extra hands for lifting might sway him. I don’t think he’d enjoy the competition or the crowd at the dinner table. I think I’ll vote against that too.
So no lovers, no dancing — what is left? Crafts? Too expensive and likely I’d end up buying something that I’d stash alongside the letter writing box, earring kit and life drawing set.
Maybe, I’ll learn to accept that age brings a certain level of contentment, which may at times be boring. I may get restless and feel stressed by marriage or motherhood but I should be satisfied by the mere opportunity to feel this way. It means that my life is safe. I understand the privilege it is to feel “bored.”
I think I’ll keep courting my journal, perhaps one day it will answer back and send me regular invitations to its pages. If so, I’ll use the time more wisely. I’ll spend less time writing about unrequited love, new relationships and more time exploring the therapeutic nature of the book.
I’m guessing that I haven’t forgotten how to dream, I’ve simply lost touch with the place where it used to feel right.
I’ll share this challenge with you: Dear Reader, find some space for a dream. Leave yourself a text every day; send an email to an inbox just for your dreams. Find and allow yourself space and five minutes to remember who you are. Reclaim the dreams you think lost. I promise to do the same.