The music arrangement had been sent out for finishing. The rough draft of an essay was settling in my mind, waiting for its next revision. I had finished reading a book, continued a non-fiction read requiring attention, and initiated a new non-fiction. HGTV ran reruns of reruns, and I had had enough podcasts, had caught up on “This Is Us” and wasn’t ready to tackle “The Crown”. An amusing movie filled some time before a walk around the block confirmed that I was bored.
Blessed retirement can expose the many minutes to fill in a day, minutes which unfilled can lead to boredom, which resembles a side effect of corona virus isolation. Unlike retirement boredom during healthy times which can act as a catalyst for pursuing new adventures, isolation boredom is more likely to turn oneself inward.
Many years ago, freed by adulthood from the clean-your-plate syndrome, I turned mindfully to what I ate. I continue to work at it, recognizing consumption of food to tie up loose ends, to fill boredom, to comfort, to procrastinate. Prompted by Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington, I am observing my intake of alcohol, especially wine since I rarely drink hard liquor. Yes, I like wine, good wine. I don’t drink to drunkenness (too old for that) but I have wine daily. So, why?
Sometimes fear as examined in a previous blog. Sometimes frustration. And definitely there is a danger in boredom. Combining boredom with fatigue and physical discomfort brews a dangerous concoction. Observing myself, I have discovered that I, like everyone, am rather interesting. So I allowed myself a glass of wine out of boredom, which led to more boredom. Ruby is right: whatever you are feeling when you start drinking will exacerbate with alcohol. Perhaps that is why we associate drinking with fun. First introduced to alcohol with friends, we enjoyed that it relieved our stress and dissolved our inhibitions. Helen Russell notes that a study in Ireland demonstrated increased positive feelings with alcohol. (Don’t blame Helen. She wasn’t advocating for more drinking.) We were young, free, and having fun and, while drinking, we felt more young, more free, and having more fun.
Now we are old, isolated, and bored. So drinking can make us feel more old, more isolated and more bored.
Not wanting to take the experiment too far, I stopped at one small glass of wine when feelings of euphoria failed to appear. Moving ahead in the experiment, I pedaled my stationary bike for a few minutes, then sat pn my patio and niksened, (I am making it a verb) enjoying the beauty of my garden. Feeling serene, I poured a glass of wine which led to more serenity and an appreciation for the flowers in the yard. Then I stopped while I was ahead.
*We never allowed our kids to use the “b” word: any form of “bore”. Fines were assessed if overheard.