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The Heart of My Lockdown Boredom

It's month ten of the pandemic, and for the first time, I'm experiencing deep boredom and restlessness.


In months 1-2 of the pandemic, I was pivoting my brick and mortar business to be completely online and begging my members to try zoom classes. When I wasn't doing that, I was attending webinars about SBA disaster loans and sending frantic emails to my banker about the status of my PPP loan. I was a lot things, but I wasn't bored.


In months 3 and 4, I bought a house in a different state. I put in my offer for the house, the biggest purchase of my life by a factor of 50, after a 10-minute facetime tour with my agent and sending my brother over to assure me the house had good bones. I didn't actually see the house until after closing, at which point I had committed myself to thirty years of mortgage payments and untold thousands of house repairs. Nothing about that was boring either.


Then I moved and remodeled the house. My mother moved in with me, and when that didn't work, moved back out. That got me well into October. So seven months in, and I'm still not bored.


Then I took up baking and holidays and bought a Christmas tree that touched the ceiling but only four people ever laid eyes on.


6000 cookies, 98 loaves of bread, and 3 cakes later, it's January. The bread making has become routine, but the desserts have outlived their usefulness. I refuse to restock the sugar, although truth be told this is a safe promise because I still have a 10-pound bag in my pantry. My business runs mostly without me. I have taken a couple of shame-filled trips that I will not discuss with anyone, ever, so just assume they did not happen.


And finally, in month 11, the boredom has really set in. I know, I'm late to the party. Boredom is one of my least favorite emotions because it's one that I really believe I should be able to fix, and fix quickly. I'm practiced at letting myself be sad and angry and annoyed, but bored? How can one be bored when there is so much that could be done? My house is full of potential projects. I love to read. My business could always be promoted more, and there's that book I wrote that's only sold 137 copies. Surely I could be doing something about that! There are walks to be taken, and even in Portland in the winter, it's not quite always raining.


I do some of all of that, but it doesn't quite scratch the itch. Because underneath the boredom is something a little more difficult: this sensation that things just aren't right. That even all the work of pivoting the business and moving and working on my relationship with my mother hasn't fixed my underlying existential unease.


When the projects are all done, my natural state of being is revealed. I call it boredom, but in reality it's anxiety, this ever-present sense that nothing is quite right and there's not really much I can do about it. I have always been like that. The projects and the doing only serve to mask it temporarily.


So maybe the boredom is a gift, an invitation to deepen my practice of acceptance: acceptance of my own underlying anxiety, and also acceptance of the world and its current state, of which I have very little control. Here's to my new practice of morning savasana: letting myself lie back down on the yoga mat just minutes after rolling out of bed. That would never have happened a year ago, and my nervous system thanks me for it. I'm sure the projects will find me soon enough. 😌

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