For most people, real life is…well…boring. The real world isn’t like it is on television. Most of us don’t spend our days chasing bad guys and running along roofs in Monte Carlo. There is a reason there are so many exciting cop shows and gun battles on the big screen – it’s called escape. Our real lives are a series of commitments and kids and shopping and work projects. Unfortunately most of us have made financial commitments and have obligations that we need to pay for. Paying for things means work.
I have, arguably, a pretty sweet ride. I get paid to listen to other people’s problems, drink coffee, and pretend to be smart. When you think of vocations that are demanding and difficult, my career path doesn’t even crack the paint. If you have empathy and a desire to help other people it’s easy and very rewarding. Still, even this easy walk in the park gets old. Very few of us, in fact, after the initial blast of career steam, wake up every morning in a lather to get to work. Our lives are not overwhelmed with excitement and variety. Hopefully our home lives are fulfilling and stable, though probably not an adrenaline rush either. The media has us convinced that life should be a series of orgasms broken up only by trips and gunfights and touchdowns. Real life is not, unfortunately, “True Lies” and your nerd husband is not actually a super spy who hangs out with Tom Arnold. Sorry, he’s actually a nerd.
No one is talking about the catastrophic effect this is having on our dissatisfaction with life and the effect this media driven hysteria has on relationships, addictions, depression, anxiety, and life in general. Most of us grew up believing we were going to have exciting lives of adventure similar to the fantasies thrown at us since birth, and it is dawning on us that we aren’t models and rock stars and astronauts. Is it any wonder than that the statistics on depression are staggering? Why are we so shocked with the growing angst among the emerging generations? There is a reason people are doing more drugs and experimenting with sexuality and growing up later. We have bubble-wrapped our children and they are growing up unchallenged, uninjured, and curious, very curious.
When people ask me how anyone could become a drug addict I am prone to tell them the reason is – drugs are awesome! The high from Cocaine is way better than reality and if it wasn’t for the fact that it takes your house and your joy and eventually your life many of us would probably be stoned 24/7. Want to know the number one reason most of my clients who are recovering addicts return to active drug usage? Boredom. No one is talking about it at 12 Step Meetings but get an addict to be honest and he or she will probably tell you the ‘normie’ world is mind-numbingly boring.
Take the average day of a heroin addict. They get up in the morning feeling sick. Their day consists of finding money to get high, finding drugs to get high, getting high, being high, coming down, and going to bed. It isn’t much of a life but it isn’t boring, spending half the day getting high and the other half desperately on a search. Now put that same heroin addict on a Methadone Program. They get up in the morning and go to the Pharmacy at 8:15 for their cup of juice. They drink the juice. Day is over. Now what are they supposed to do all day? They have never had a job and have no capacity to lie on a resume and look for work. They come from generations of welfare recipients. They tell me all the time that they cannot imagine going to work every day and becoming a citizen. Many addicts equate that with giving up. Did you read that? My definition of success is their definition of giving up. Startling.
I have had to become ok with the real world. My life is not racing cars and nightclubs and beautiful hotel suites. Many people, however, continue to struggle with finding meaning their entire life. They are depressed by reality and long for a fantasy world of knights and damsels and adrenaline. They have a hole in their heart that they try to shove alcohol and Prozac and Ciprolex and sex and hoagies into, hoping to somehow feel like their life matters.
The real world is boring. Let’s say it together. The real world is boring. But that is actually not a bad thing. I cannot speak for everyone but I am fairly certain that I was not created or built for wall to wall orgasms. In fact most of the things in my life that matter have very little to do with adrenaline. I find more complete joy and fulfillment in the people I love and who love me than I ever could from something as shallow as a race car. The things that matter to me are the people I care about, in whose presence I feel more alive.
Fantasy is called that for a reason. I love pretending to shoot aliens and ride spaceships and being a spy as much as the next guy, maybe more. But at the end of the day I wouldn’t give up one minute with my new grandson Angus Scott for all the acclaim this world has to offer. And chances are, you wouldn’t either.
I think it was that Jesus guy who said something about that, even before Twitter.
- Lowering Your Expectations (scott-williams.ca)
12 thoughts on “Life Is Boring”
Great post. I agree, I think life can be very boring, especially for the young. In our culture, we don’t have enough real life responsibilities for young people to help them mature into adults. We baby them too long. I remember being bored out of my MIND as a teenager. So, instead of growing up, we go break some rules to spice it up, like doing drugs or drinking. That brings destruction and pain. From there it’s easy to fall into the addictive trap: destructive behavior, your favorite numbing agent to drown the pain it brings, then back to the destructive behavior. I suppose there are various ways to break addiction but the only way I found was Christ 🙂
Reblogged this on entropy: the other constant and commented:
The struggle defined…
I loved this post. This leaves me feeling a bit more normal. It also makes me feel like what I’m striving for, needs to be embraced. And once attained, never let it go. I have a mental illness and there are limitations in life that come with having as much. But if I could wake up tomorrow, and all I had to worry about was getting to and from work, and have a family to come home to, my life would be very much complete.
I can’t tell you the countless times that I have told my teenage daughter that high school is a far cry from the scenes on Glee and that growing up is a lot more than the casts of our favorite television show let on. But don’t get me wrong, I’d be one of the first to volunteer to hang out at the coffee shop with the cast of Friends. But as you mentioned, I made a choice to have certain responsibilities in life like children, a home and vehicles. And unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon how you look at it) these things all require a cash flow. And because I enjoy living a life of the free I have to hold down a job in order for the cash flow to continue. But don’t for one little second think that I won’t hold on to the fantasy of laying on the beach, reading a book and drinking a glass of a drink of choice while the waves are crashing into the shore.
PS At the end of a person’s life, is she or he likely to say, “I didn’t watch enough TV,”?
Hmm. Not sure if I totally agree with you. I get the idea that much of life involves a series of seemingly unrelated tasks, but I’m an optimist at heart, and would try to rally you with the notion, “Life is what you make it.” We are responsible for making our own lives meaningful. I’m reminded of a Dakota proverb which said, “We will be known by the tracks we leave behind.”
If you’re really stuck, read a good book. It may be escapism, or it may contain hidden gems and life-altering thoughts.
I’m reminded of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, in which the character of Rincewind is cursed with adventure after adventure — one day when transported on some uncalled for escapade to to a mysterious continent he spots a man whose job it is to hold the string that stops the cow, which eats grass and manures the paddy field, from wandering off. That’s all the man does all day, holds the string. How Rincewind wishes to be that man.
Hmm. I can’t say I’ve ever found life to be boring, really, and especially not lately. The days go by too fast, if anything, there’s so much to do. The trick seems to be finding something that genuinely interests you, which of course will vary depending on your personality and experience. But I think if I told myself that life was boring, I wouldn’t have much hope of making it not-boring.
Life is full of infinite possibilities, and so many beautiful colors! It may take some effort to find what makes it interesting for each person, but it’s worth it! 🙂
I love this post, Scot. I have been gradually admitting, like falling in love with the plain and slightly irritating person I never paid attention to, that reality is actually the one for me.
Drugs, they flirt and leave you — drugs are all me me me. But what of art? Oh, art is always the centre of the crowd. People adore art, with its apparent ease and its promise of meaning beyond all meaning. Fuck art. I’ve poured my heart into that cauldron, taken out just so much paper and string.
There is another side, though. I would really like there to be a bit less adrenaline in my life today. As the latest bout of SAD floors me and the news relays nothing but terror for someone in a position of illness such as myself, I could happily jump into the arms of some misty, muted shroud-laden figure of unreality and nestle in its false, featureless cocoon forever. Where, I ask myself, is the dull, straightforward world I long to know?
this is a great response. I especially love your last sentence. You actually get it.
Very interesting thoughts here. I’m not sure that I agree that the “real world is boring”. But it certainly can SEEM boring when you compare it to a movie. Maybe an exciting, plot-altering event doesn’t happen every 5 minutes in reality, but there is so much joy and excitement to be found when you look around you and start exhibiting a child-like curiosity towards the space you live in. You can make life as exciting as you want if you put the effort into things – or you can choose to believe it has nothing to offer you and is boring. I like the former better. It makes things much more fun!