Boredom Is a Choice

Every once in a while, I’ll receive an email from a reader or see a comment somewhere in which the reader complains that they’re “bored” during their financial recovery.

I’m honestly mystified by this. I can’t recall being bored since my pre-teen years. I have more things that I want to do than I have hours in the day, and it’s not even close.

I’ve come to the conclusion that boredom is a choice that you make when the first thing or two you think of to do is unavailable to you.

Given that, I can understand where the boredom of financial recovery comes from. Quite often, during the early stages of turning around one’s finances, many of the activities you filled your day with aren’t as appealing any more. They’re now weighted down because you can now see what the financial cost is really costing you in terms of other aspects of your life.

Thus, a lot of the things you might have otherwise filled your day with – the options that you considered the “best” – are now further down the list because of that cost.

You’re left with things that you considered less enjoyable, and thus you’re bored.

When I was in this situation, the solution to that problem was easy. I opened new doors. I looked for new things to do.

Since my financial turnaround, I’ve done many things I’ve never done before. I ran for an elected office (losing once and winning once). I served on a volunteer committee. I helped distribute food to the needy. I learned how to play several new sports (like disc golf). I learned to play two musical instruments (not particularly well, but better than nothing). I’ve coached youth sports teams. I’ve read books on subjects I would have never touched before. The list goes on and on.

I’ve tried out countless things, just to see if I liked them. With some of them, I was pretty sure I would find them boring before I even tried, and sometimes I was right. Other times, I discovered something to be a lot better than I thought. At still other times, I came across an idea I had never considered before and found that it was pretty enjoyable.

Try new things. Try everything.

You can start by heading down to your local city hall and simply asking what there is to do in this town.

Get brochures from your parks and recreation department and pick up a copy of the community calendar. Ask for listings of civic groups people can join.

Got a cause you care about? Research how you can get involved with it and help push it forward.

Read a book on a topic you’ve been interested in before but never had the time to learn about (your local library probably has books on it, and they’re free to borrow).

Plan a potluck block party, or just a series of potluck dinner parties with your friends.

Learn how to fix a broken toilet or a broken hot water heater.

Help build a Habitat for Humanity house.

Work on mastering a skill you’ve always wanted to learn, even if it’s something as simple as a coin trick or solving a Rubik’s Cube quickly.

Learn a musical instrument.

Take on a second job to earn some extra cash, or start a little side business.

If you do all that and you’re still bored, at least you’ve passed a few years and you’ll find yourself in a better financial spot than you’re in right now.

Boredom is a choice. If you’re bored during your financial recovery, you’re choosing to be bored.

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