Them: “How are you? What’s happening?”
You: “Not much, same old stuff. What about you?”
Them: “Not much, just work and chillin.”
You: “Yeah me too.”
Them: “Well it was great to see you. We should hang out it’s been too long.”
You: “Yeah we should do something.”*
Really? A week goes by, a month, a year and NOTHING happens. We have become a generation that lives solely for experiences and moments. I literally count the days until my next travelling adventure. If I go a few months without leaving the country I come down with a severe case of wanderlust. I constantly browse airfare prices at random dates (just in case I decide to leave), I search for jobs in random cities, I look at apartments thinking that I might move…anything to break up the routine of life. Start a new adventure. Be a new person. Maybe I’ll be a spy, maybe I’ll teach abroad, maybe I’ll write a book (okay I actually did the last one) but you get the idea. It’s almost like we are faced with too many options and suddenly reality sets in: moving is expensive, a new job will become a boring old job after about three weeks, spying is kinda hard. So I go back to my regular routine and check my calendar for the next thing that is a planned, go all out, see all your great friends event like a reunion (but those only come every five years) or a wedding (a lot of my friends are single – and slightly cynical about marriage) or a trip (again, sporadic occurrence) and wait it out. But that means that I am literally waiting for life to happen. That seems wrong somehow.
The poet Alexander Smith said, “Memory is man's only real possession. In nothing else is he rich. In nothing else is he poor.” We are a generation that lives for memories. In the age of Facebook, YouTube and online albums every event is documented and plastered on to the internet for all to see. But if you look at those album covers (guilty as charged) they have titles like “Vegas Baby”, “Spain 2010”, “Sarah’s Wedding”, “Boston Marathon”, and “Europe Adventures”. Everything is centered around a few weeks, one day, one hour, one event. From the look of it, it seems like people are having fun ALL the time, which in turn makes me feel more bored with my own life… or lack thereof. However, those images are bias because they only show you moments that are few and far between. What about the other 325 days of the year when we are sleeping, eating and working? Are we just waiting for the next great thing to happen? Are we charging our digital cameras for weeks on end until something comes along we can actually take a picture of?
To be honest with you I have no answer to this question. Life is monotonous, boring and routine. However, I suppose that without the monotony we would not know what a truly great moment is and have less appreciation for it. Without pain there is no joy, ergo without boredom there is no excitement. So my hikes in Runyon Canyon seem more exciting if I spent the previous day in doors. Snowboarding seems like a blessing from God after a long Autumn, and a really great date is better if you’ve had your heartbroken once or twice.
It’s great to live for fabulous adventures, but I think I need to figure out a way to live for everyday. Not to sound like a Hallmark card but “making every moment count” seems like a good way to start, especially considering we only get one life. Rather than 20% enjoyment, 20% searching for an escape plan, and sleep-walking through the rest of it we should take the time to make more of our time. Will you still be bored at times? Yes. Will work still be work? Yes. Will some stuff still suck? Yes. But hey, that’s life.
* FYI: You never actually make plans.