Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reaching Boredom

There is a moment in any recovery - from a cold, the flu, or surgery - when one feels too good to just rest and stay put, but too bad to really do anything. When I encounter that moment, I know that I am well on my way to getting better.

The tension between the two feelings often results in boredom. The rather mindless pursuits to pass the time of being really ill are old hat and very tired (Wheel of Fortune at three in the morning only works when one is actively trying for the most mind-blotto state possible!); the desire to do more cannot yet be realized.

In between the two is a kind of conflict. Why is it always at this time that I want to embrace every New Year's resolution, every whim to take up a new interest, every promise to spend more time taking photos or writing poetry? All the things I have ever wanted to do seem pressing and desirable, right now.

And of course, the presence of such desire creates frustration and boredom. Every other idea I come up with seems unacceptable. Yes, I now have the time to re-read A Search for Time Lost, but so totally don't want to.

Probably, the conflict propels us forward. I'm not sure how long one can stay in that space without changing something and suspect that it is much more a function of personality than it is a function of recovery.

So, I am planning for the day when I have the overwhelming desire to plant an herb garden and write symbolist poetry by trying to think of things I can reasonably and contentedly do. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to share!

(photo credit)


Hels said...

Oh I hear you, I hear you.

My beloved came home from hospital on Friday and should have been resting all week. Instead he paced around, turned tv on and off, half read his books, threatened to sue the medical staff in hospital for keeping him too long as an in-patient and couldn't eat._I_ can't stand it, and I am not even the patient.

What to do? Take a project that involves a lot of intellectual attraction but not much physical effort. Pursue it specifically during your convalescence eg reading, writing, watching tv programmes that help.

Wheel of Fortune isn't just banal. It insidiously rots your brain :(

Be well!

Ciss B said...

I understand way too well that condition of boredom! Hope you heal fast and get past it really soon!

askcherlock said...

I think your restlessness is a sign that you are healing, and that's a positive thing. Jot down some ideas for writing or a "to do" list and as your strength seeps back in you will know when it is time to move. Till then, be a good patient and have patience. Please take care....

Owen Gray said...

Spring is coming! It's always easier to recover when all of Nature is recovering with you.

Pearl said...

thumb twiddlers? suduko? online scrabble? chakra/meditation exploration? seeing if you can sketch the same cup 40 different ways?

angelshair said...

I am sorry to read that Chris! I have been out of blogging so long that I didn't know that you had a surgery. I hope you will get well very soon!
What I love to do in this type of situation is to create. So I would suggest crocheting, drawing, writing.
Another thing I do is to watch tons of movies whithout feeling guilty about all the task I am not doing.

Belle Isle said...

Do you study languages? I love the BBC website- lots of great interactive language learning and a bunch of languages to choose from- pick a new one for your convalescence?

After I broke my leg I got so bored that I was raking leaves in my front yard with my walker-but then my neighbors would have none of that, they sent me inside and then I felt guilty because they finished raking the leaves.

Also, very gentle yoga- mild stretching and breathing exercises- helped keep me from going stir crazy. I felt it helped me heal well, too, although that may have been the mental game.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

One of The Guys said...

I wish you a fast recovery! As for your boredom: listen to great music or start taking piano lessons. Or watch some good movies and plan your next 20 posts, even if you don't write them.

Your site was one of the ones we gave props to with our post today. Enjoy!

nothingprofound said...

Frankly, Chris, I think illness, any illness, however minor or severe, reminds us of our mortality, and with this reminder comes a certain haste or desperation to catch up, to accomplish things "before it's too late." At the same time, a sense of futility sets in, a kind of shrugging of one's shoulders and wondering "what's the point anyway?" I think that's the middle ground you're talking about, which is being in-between two extreme outlooks which neutralize each other and lead to restlessness and boredom. I say just rest, take your time, don't push yourself; you're not ready yet to return to your normal pace of life, your teaching, your work, all those regular activities with which you fill your time. Eventually, as your strength and possibilities increase you'll slide right back into that more active sort of life you're accustomed to. But for now, just accept the way you're feeling, your boredom and frustration; it's all just temporary.

ChrisJ said...


I think you've hit the nail on the head. I'm finding that just being with it as it is seems best.