“Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”
-Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
I wanted to write something short and snappy: a bit of flash and a lot of fun, with an ocean or two of depth behind it. You know: life affirming. Holistically hilarious. Like Buddha telling a really good knock-knock joke, or at least like a disciple–okay, a tourist–repeating the joke as well as he could remember. Instead I’m lying on the floor eating snacks, trying to believe that inspiration will come with the next cracker.
In the back of my mind, I often think that lying on the floor like this, not knowing like this, is a kind of moral failure on my part. “How lucky we are to be alive right now”–I feel like I should live up to the moment with something bold and dramatic. But what if that’s the wrong way to look at it? What if lying on the floor not knowing is part of the “alive right now” I’m lucky to share?
A little while ago I read something about children and boredom. Thumbs up, it said; let them be bored. I just looked for the article again. I couldn’t find it, but I found a lot of others. Now I have a lot of reading to do. The psychoanalyst Adam Phillips argues that boredom is an important part of the process through which we decide what is important to us, and what we’ll spend our time doing. Dr. Vanessa Lapointe says simply, “I. Love. Bored.” Walter Benjamin writes, “Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience.” I do not need to stay here, lying on my floor. But I think I can pause here, be here, for a moment.
Look around, look around. It feels different now.
I want the world to be bright and dynamic and exciting. It is. It’s also quiet and confusing, overwhelming and frustrating. It’s painful and pleasurable and inspiring and surreal and solid. And it’s boring. This is where I grow. This is where I am a part of everything that lives and grows. There are breaths to take with no direction, no purpose, no aim. Take a breath. It’s fascinating. There is work to do, texture to feel, friends to make. How lucky we are to be alive right now.