bored. busy. alive.
2 of the most popular answers I hear to the question “How are you?” – besides the default “fine” – is “I’m bored.” or “I’m busy.” I’ve used it myself on occasion, tho’ usually I stay away from these trite phrases. I prefer to be more descriptive.
“Bored” was true of the first 30-some years of my life. Growing up in a small town of 20,000 (Winchester, Virginia) my hangout gang of high school buddies lamented sarcastically about life in “Funchester” and what little we had to do when everything closed by 9:00pm, not there was that much more to do before then. And this was in the early 80s, the days before the Internet, before DVDs. Cable and VCR movies was just beginning to get popular. Cruising (driving a car around town) was the popular thing to do, besides the movies or strolling the mall. Now in 2005, I still often get an IM (instant message) from someone saying they’re bored. We’ve got more entertainment options, and people still suffer from boredom. Perhaps it’s a sign of being under-challenged or under-engaged; one’s gifts and interests and capacities are not being used.
“Busy” has characterized my life in the past 6 years or so, working 2 jobs for most of that time, even now, and yet giving pretty good attention to my family. They can attest to how well (or not well) I’m doing in that department. So with a very full daily schedule, I kept active and engaged, and having the 2 jobs breaks up the monotony and rountine of just 1 job. I do better with variety and change. I don’t do well when I have idle time on my hands, occasionally bordering on self-destruction.
Work (career, job) had previously been a means of cash flow and being responsible.
About 2 years ago, I was awakened to the notion that work and career can actually connect with my personal interests, desires, skills, capacities, and values. What I’m doing now does have some connection, but a total connection is still elusive for me. I’ve never been able to connect my abilities with my passions. What I wish I could be was to be a stand up comedian. That’s my one joke, thank you very much, you’ve been a great audience!
With a background in technology and theology, I’ve been skimming a number of business related books, magazines, and blogs during the past year, and it’s been fascinating to learn how things actually work in the real world. I still love theories and ideas, but without a conversational partner, and my lack of desire to be a teacher or professor, what could I do. Most people, in my life experience, don’t care about ideas or philosophy or theology; most are interested in the daily here and now.
People’s opinions aside, I have to decide how to live, coram deo, or to be more theologically correct, how God wants me to live. Or, to become who God created me to be.
I was asked today about my dream or agenda for my life. I can honestly say that I don’t have one. I’m doing a lot of things by most measures, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to have friends and family to enjoy. But I’m not allowed to just have that; pressures around me say that I have to do something or accomplish something. I can’t squander my talents and gifts. And, confidence alludes me too. Sometimes I wonder if that’s really the x-factor about doing life. Kinda funny I’d be having these serious reflections, again, after several career changes already, including a decade long stint in seminary and pastoring. Maybe it’s the age 40 around the corner next summer. I sure don’t want to be “busy” the rest of my life.
A book I’ll be reading soon is Tom Paterson’s out-of-print book, Living The Life You Were Meant To Live. And then by end of June, I’ll be working through a LifePlan consultation with CRM’s Craig Chong.
And with a more focused life, I may be able to answer, not that I’m bored, or that I’m busy, but that I’m alive! Life has never been better, in the face of challenges and opportunties, energized by knowing that God’s been up to something even when I’ve yet to figure it out.