Boredom is a tricky feeling. It isn’t as unpleasant as depression or anger, so it quietly permeates your being until your motivation is sucked away. Many people are bored in their jobs, their routines and with life in general, but not uncomfortable enough to do anything differently. “Why make a change?” they ask, “when everything is fine just the way it is?”
Because your life can be better than the status quo. How? By taking on new challenges, embracing hopes (and the fears that go along with them) and pushing harder. Recently, I decided to earn my Professional Certificate in Editing through UC Berkeley Extension. I wanted something that would improve my own writing and which could help me in my career further down the road. But what I didn’t know was that this first course (out of four) is really hard! My class, “Grammar, Mechanics and Usage for Editors,” is more intense than any of the training I did to become certified to teach English as a second language. And the material is bone dry.
How is it that I never heard of correlative conjunctions, object compliments, predicate adjectives and prepositional phrases before? My memories of learning German grammar in college are hazy, and honestly, I think English grammar is even more confusing. But no matter how boring this class can be, and how challenging the concepts are, I’m glad that I’m doing this. Already I’m looking at my writing with a critical eye. I realized I needed to use the adverb differently instead of the adjective different in my first paragraph, because the verb “do” was being modified. (Okay, I’ll stop before your eyes glaze over).
The point is, pushing your boundaries is a good thing. I reluctantly signed up for a pole-dancing fitness class a few months ago, and that’s been even more challenging than learning grammar! My feet get bruised, my arms shake as I try to support my entire body weight for more than a few seconds, and I usually feel ridiculous. Will I ever glide around effortlessly, wearing 5 inch stripper stilettos and oozing sex appeal? Probably not. I don’t think I’m meant to conquer the pole. But that’s okay, because I’ve succeeded in performing a few moves and I’ve tried something I never thought I would.
So whether your challenge is small, like improving your tennis serve, or big like completing a marathon in under 3 hours or becoming fluent in Japanese- go for it! It feels better to be working hard at something than sitting home channel surfing (or surfing the internet). Living life with purpose will give you a deeper appreciation for your free time. Because when you do get the chance to catch up on your favorite TV shows, you may realize you’d rather be practicing what you love instead.