Many years ago, while in my teens, I complained to my mother that I was totally bored. I will never forget her answer and how it has affected me for the rest of my life. She said, “did you ever stop to think that bored people are very boring?” I didn’t like that answer. Not only did it make a lot of sense … it made ME the boring one !
My mother suggested that I visit our elderly neighbor Mrs. Whitely and, although I couldn’t imagine how that would help, I decided it would be better than sitting there feeling sorry for myself. I made up a little plate of homemade cookies and, reluctantly, made my way across the lawn.
Mrs. Whitely was surprised to see me but seemed very pleased too. She ushered me into her living room and insisted that we have a “tea party” to go along with the cookies. She told me to make myself at home while she steeped the tea so I spent the time wandering around the room trying to make sense of everything. I felt like I was in a museum and, in actuality, I was.
To make a long story short that was the beginning of an amazing friendship. Mrs. Whitely was in her 80’s and, although she had been widowed for many years she recalled how she and her husband had traveled the world for his business. Everything in that room was in remembrance of those years and she was thrilled to share it with me.
When I told her how “totally bored” I had been before coming to see her she (gently) scolded me, saying: “Boredom is a luxury that millions of people in the world do not have. They spend every hour just trying to survive. You must never squander that luxury.”
Now I am the one in my 80’s and I reminisce about those magical days spent with Mrs. Whitely. She was a very wise woman, as was my Mother. They taught me that boredom is a trap and the best way to avoid it is to get out of ones self … like visiting a neighbor perhaps ?