By Jim Selman | Bio
all the complaints and fears we hear that are associated with aging,
the number one is boredom. After a lifetime of activity and
accomplishment, it is incredible how many of us move into “elderland”
only to discover that we’re unsatisfied and bored. How can this be?
Granted that we might not be as spry as we once were and some of our
libidos are lackluster, but goodness gracious, do we really expect our
circumstances to make us happy or enthusiastic or interested in other
people and the possibilities of each and every day?
I know that
in our culture we have become addicted to stimuli. We are stimulated or
titillated or aggravated, frustrated or gratified, motivated or
de-motivated all day long and have been for most of our lives. We
experience the absence of stimuli as boredom and can drift into endless
days of television, computer games, repetitive storytelling and
eventually our ‘aliveness’ muscle atrophies into a blob of
uninteresting flesh waiting to die.
Do you remember when we were children and felt bored? We would create a game, any game, and we would play.
Somewhere along the line we forgot how to create and how to play and
began to feel that it is someone else’s responsibility to create the
games and then motivate us to play. Shame on us if we’ve fallen into
that pattern! The fact is that we never lose our capacity to create and
to play. If we think about it, boredom is fairly high up the ‘mastery
scale’, since it is the last mood we encounter before breaking through
to a self-generated enthusiasm for living.
I don’t believe that our experience is ever caused
by our circumstances (although in our culture we are very attached to
understanding why we feel what we feel and the notion of cause and
effect). The problem is that what passes for understanding is at best a
story and is usually just bullsh… After enough experience, we can begin
to appreciate that we are either replaying old tapes or we’re blaming
the world and our circumstances for how we feel—being victims. The
breakthrough is to bring our enthusiasm to life rather than trying to get it from life.
I know that many of us do know this and even live it most of the time.
But I wonder how many of us are committed to sharing this basic fact of
life with others in a way in which they can be empowered to create and
play games that are satisfying, enlightening, enlivening and even fun?
That is one opportunity we have as we grow older—to generate the game
of empowering the next generation to create their experience and their world and stop complaining that life isn’t giving them what they deserve.