“A subject for a great poet would be God’s boredom after the seventh day of creation” Friedrich Nietzsche
I would like to clear something up with our readers in regard to Lisa and I in our travels. We have been to some wonderful places and seen spectacular things. The Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Gettysburg, New York City, Washington DC, Stone Mountain, Ga., Los Angeles and Las Vegas all come to mind. But in between all the places and exciting events are numerous days and weeks of getting up, getting ready, going to work, cooking, cleaning, and getting ready to do it all again tomorrow. Whew! Glad to get that off my chest. Lisa stays busy with work and, for the most part, I have been able to remain active and busy doing different things in places we have been. But during idle time there is a search for something to do – something exciting and engaging. Yet no matter how exotic a location has been – there are days of doing nothing and fighting boredom. The truth is we spend a lot of our time just living – not really doing anything spectacular.
If there is one thing that we try to avoid in our working/retired relationship and travels it is boredom. Boredom is for me the scary monster under the bed that is ready to slink out of hiding and attack me at any idle moment. Boredom is what scared me most about retirement and is why many people continue to work long after they should. I am certain I share that fear with other people in retirement and I have accepted that the fight to keep that monster tucked away will be mine until the end of my life. Lisa has made that battle a little easier to fight in that she seems to always find something to do or see or experience. Most of the time I initially fight against her hair brained ideas – it seems to be my default mode reaction – but have learned to just go with it because I always, in the end, have a good time. But where she has much of her time eaten up in her job, I have to work hard at finding things to do to fill up much of the hours and (I must say) have done a pretty good job doing that no matter where we have been located.
Of all the places we have lived – Cambridge, Ohio presents the greatest challenge for Lisa and I in terms of finding things to do. As I have written, Cambridge offers plenty of places to eat and adequate shopping venues. And in its defense, Lisa’s on-call schedule has prevented us from traveling very far from the area to explore the region fully. But it is certainly not the most exciting place we have lived. In fact, it has been a challenge unlike any other. Where we hardly slowed down while in Arizona and where the fast pace life of southern California and Atlanta were both exciting and nerve-wracking, here we are challenged to find a lower gear to live with and allow ourselves to be okay with doing nothing. Which leads to me to the point of all this.
It is okay to do nothing. Now when I say do nothing I don’t mean sit in a chair and vegetate. What I mean (and not to sound preachy) is that it is okay to accept getting up and going to work, cooking, cleaning, sitting outside, taking walks and generally living life in small town America. We have realized we don’t have to be “going” anywhere or “doing” something to avoid boredom. Here in eastern Ohio we have learned to live small. Somewhere along the way America has convinced us that we have to be “doing” something to be really living. My grandparents lived all their lives in a town of three thousand people and their days were spent working, cleaning, cooking and swinging on their front porch watching cars go by. That is all they did (for the most part) all their lives and they were the happiest couple I ever knew. Lesson learned.
I was thinking about this the other day: If you would have told me when I was ten years old and absolutely a fanatic about sports (of all kinds) that someday television would offer twenty-four hour sports – I would have been so ecstatic I would not have been able to sleep at night. Add to that the fact that someday I could watch cartoons any day or night of the week – well, I may have had to be medicated. When I was ten years old we had to wait until the weekend to see a sporting event on television and could only watch cartoons during a five hour segment of time on Saturday mornings. In those days we had to wait for those things we really liked. We did not get too much of anything. We never got bored with cartoons or sporting events because they were such a rarity. Too much of a good thing – it turns out – is too much. And we get bored with “too much”.
Cambridge Ohio is a good thing for Lisa and I. There is certainly not “too much” of anything here. We are learning to live with the anticipation of more exciting places to see and more exciting things to do. That anticipation keeps us from getting bored and has shielded us from the horror of unhappiness. Often the anticipation of something is the best part. Planning and looking forward to a vacation or trip is sometimes better than the trip itself. Our worn out RV is just that – worn out. But it makes dreaming of a new RV all the more exciting. I have said before – we need to thank God for the hard times because they make the good times even better.
So – it is good to be here in Cambridge Ohio – where we are living small but never bored. Now if you will excuse us – it is time to go sit outside and watch the cars go by.
Love, Steve and Lisa