Afraid of the Boredom

Two things have occurred to me recently, about myself, and I’ve no idea how significant they are. But I’m writing them down here.

A long time back my counselor suggested, and I’m going to paraphrase, that it seemed to him I was “easily bored”. I wasn’t sure I agreed, at the time, but it’s sat in the back of my mind for quite a while. I pushed back against this at first because I see myself as a person who likes routine, who likes things to be a certain way. A “boring” way! “Interesting Times”, the name of my comics, is meant to be ironic because I’ve always joked that in real life I’m very un-interesting. My counselor George was speaking to my periodic dissatisfaction with my work, among other things; suggesting that I need new challenges to stimulate me.

No, I thought. Challenges take energy that I don’t enjoy expending.

But here’s the thing; over the course of 2020 and nearly every year of my adult life before that, I’ve picked up projects, dabbled with them for a bit, and put them down. I’m back on my YouTube videos right now. Can’t say for how long. Earlier this year I was all heated up about volunteering with LibriVox, which is a group turning public domain books into audiobooks for free distribution. I got the equipment I needed, set everything up, submitted a few chapters, fixed whatever small errors I made, and haven’t felt compelled to sign up for more in…weeks now.

Thinking back on that, it’s finally dawned on me that my counselor was…right? On reflection, it seems the real excitement for doing LibriVox was in setting everything up, and figuring out how I was going to do it. Once my setup was ready and I’d submitted a few chapters without major incident, the project became…known. Something I understood and could now do comfortably. And thus the interest has drained away.

I think back to all the times I’ve bought a new gadget and looked forward to setting it up. I’ve got a Raspberry Pi; I’ll happily spend a Saturday afternoon trying out a new software image, setting it up, tweaking it, and then never touching it until months later when I start all over again.

Do I…do I need challenge? Do I need to find things to expend my energy on? What does it mean when contrasted with the story I’ve told about myself? How can I find motivation to keep going on projects, and not just abandoning them once they’re ‘familiar’?

I don’t know! I’m still turning this stuff over in my brain.

The other thing, not brought up by my counselor but something I hadn’t named until recently, is good old-fashioned FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. This manifests in a few ways, but mostly I’ve been thinking about my gaming habits. I read tons of forum chatter and gaming news, and I’m down to try almost anything that people say is good — to the extent of reinstalling games I’ve already tried and didn’t like, just to give them another chance. If somebody’s having a good time, I want to do that as well! I want to try all the things, because I don’t want to miss anything extraordinary! Even if it means disregarding my own tastes and preferences, which of course is not going to work!

Thanks to Game Pass (Microsoft’s version of Netflix, but for games) my Xbox hard drive is littered with saves from games I’ve played for an hour and moved on from. Even things I really like are difficult to see through to completion, because I keep wanting to try the new things that are coming out on a regular basis. Or I buy things to play “sometime” because the deal was just too good. Like a lot of people who play games as a hobby, I have a backlog, but I think I’m a little unique in that I’ve sampled almost everything in my backlog. It’s like a person having a shelf full of books that they’ve read the first chapter of.

You can see how this also calls back to the First Thing, which seems to be boredom with the known, and how the two together try to make me Get More Games. Always. Hardly finish any of them, but hey.

Again! I’ve no idea if realizing either of these things is significant. I just wanted to write down where I’m at these days.

Thing I Saw: Beautiful orange and yellow trees on my in-laws’ street. Our street is still relatively new and our trees are small, but theirs are gorgeous and showing full fall colours.

Thing I Learned: Weirdly, I’m reading reviews and watching video clips of the new Super Mario 3D All-Stars game due out tomorrow for Switch, and…I don’t need it? Not yet, anyway. It’s supposed to be removed from stores next spring, and I’ll probably grab a copy before that happens. Thanks FOMO

I’m Grateful For: Sleeping through the night. Lately I’ve been up most nights at least once, because Cassidy’s had a bad dream or something, and while she drifts off again almost immediately, I’m usually up for the next hour, wide awake. But when I sleep soundly, a whole night through? It’s glorious.

Big summer vibes for me