Am I a dullard?

I promise these pumpkins are relevant to the post.

You ever go through a spell of boredom, where nothing sounds good to do or there’s always some practical reason why a once-fun thing isn’t worth doing?

Last week the work stress ramped back up, and I wound up waking up on Thursday morning with a killer migraine. Nothing I ate or drank, or sleeping in was able to help alleviate it. Excedrin didn’t even make a dent. Thankfully I got my additional monitor and approval to work hybrid about two weeks ago, so I was able to work from home on Thursday wrapped up in my pajamas and rest up a bit. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but I will say that work has been a roller coaster of feeling frustrated, then stressed out, then resigned and then at peace again and able to handle the challenges … only to get frustrated a week or two later. So it’s safe to say my offline life is the main player in my stress-to-crankiness.

Then there’s the second transition of crankiness-to-discontent. I’m 30 and not where I thought I would be professionally and financially. Granted, I’m not going without or struggling, but I had a mental picture of travel races and living the white collar, high-falutin’ single woman life. It’s not here, and what’s frustrating is that there’s only two or three steps to get there. If the dreams I had were completely unrealistic or had no chance of happening in my current station, then it would be easier for me to accept that and let it go. Okay, there’d be a period of grief and anger, but life would force that period to pass pretty quickly. But I’m so close, and what I want isn’t that far out of reach. It’s just taking forever to get here and I’m surrounded by people who have already achieved what I want, which is gasoline on a fire to the discontent.

Slightly off-topic, but the discontent part reminds me of a conversation I had with my former boyfriend. He struggled (and probably still does) with feelings of discontentment, and I once told him during a car ride talk that his nature and personality will never allow him to be satisfied with anything unless he becomes a workaholic or seeks therapy. He didn’t disagree with my assessment – if anything we both chuckled about him being the worrier and me hardly worrying at all. Back then I remember thinking the discontent folks were pathetic and how that seemed like one of the worst ways to go through life – always unhappy, even if what you have is a wonderful thing. Then I realized the other day I’ve turned into some discontent jerk.

And then from the state of discontent comes the third and final evolution for me. Boredom. Very little sparks joy, and I genuinely don’t see the point in pursuing things that once sparked joy because there’s always some practical reason why not. With the exception of Marina and my outdoor kitties (animals have never let me down), nothing sounds appealing. I could try a new recipe, but then I have to go to the grocery store and it’s expensive. I could go out to eat just to get break up the monotony of work-home-work, but half of the time eating out isn’t near as exciting as I think it will be. And it’s expensive. My brain doesn’t like to focus long enough to read for pleasure, which Child Me is disappointed to know, or play Nintendo. I’m tired and slow-moving all the time anymore, so I’m not getting the endorphin hit from resistance training and running. Hell, at-home self-care doesn’t even sound good. The only reason I’m maintaining that is because I can’t stand the look of grown out nail polish and know I look terrible with a moustache.

It’s a vicious cycle. Although I am chuckling at that part about only keeping up my appearance because I hate how I look when I don’t maintain myself. I just heard the Emperor from Star Wars tell me to let the hate flow through me. I guess hatred for stray moustache or eyebrow hairs is the beauty secret all 30-year-olds know and I’m just now discovering it.

Incidentally, this is what I look like if I skip my tretinoin too many nights in a row.

So this leads me to the question I asked myself. Am I or have a become a dullard?

One of the talk therapists my mom used to listen to when I was growing up has a segment in her marriage book about how “bored” equals “boring.” In other words, the people who are constantly bored, call their spouses and families boring, are usually boring themselves. They have no awareness of their own role, and if they would actually do something nice for their spouse – and get some perspective – they would find their lives and marriage aren’t as bad as they think.

I’m not a workaholic per se, but I do tend to focus a ton on work more than is balanced or healthy. My particular role changed about two months ago, and trying to learn all the nuances frankly is driving me bonkers. So it’s easy for me to focus on one part of my life, amplify its importance beyond reality, and for everything else to fall by the wayside. I know, I know – all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It also lead to him trying to kill his family in a creepy hotel.

I have no desire to be a dullard. Who does? And I especially have no desire to turn into one of those bored people who are always discontent, always triggered and always stewing in their own juices to the point they can’t see anything good around them and won’t do anything to change it.

So on Friday afternoon, at 5 sharp, I shut down my laptop and decided I was going out for Chinese. Putting on some real pants instead of my sweats, and got some sweet and sour chicken. Turns out I preferred the wonton soup instead, those confirming my taste buds are in fact changing with age.

Then yesterday I went on my annual drive to Lynd Fruit Farm. Every year in mid-to-late September I buy all of my pumpkins for my front walk there, with the trip usually being in the afternoon during an Ohio State game. However, I decided to get there at 10 a.m., when they open and see if I could beat the crowd.

I didn’t beat the crowd at all. But I had too much fun looking at everything, bought what I needed under the budget I set for myself, and then had a peaceful drive on the country roads back home. My front walk is cleaned and decorated. As I was placing my pumpkins and trying to decided where which one would go, and seeing how all the colors looked next to each other, I felt a spark of excitement. As corny as it sounds, those little pumpkins reminded me there’s more to life than my own discontent and they made me happy.

So am I a dullard? More than likely yes. But is it really that bad? No, and it’s just another ebb ‘n flow.

Until next time reader-friends,

Allison

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