This is a continuation of my previous post about boredom and apathy. In high school not much changed as far as a lack of a challenge. One of the things I did enjoy there was writing essays. That activity gave me free rein to say what I wanted and I always easily got A’s for my work. Unfortunately I was never guided toward an avocation that would have exercised that talent I definitely showed even in my early days.
After high school college came. That is where I came upon the first real challenges in thinking. Again I excelled in English Comp classes without much effort and the electrical engineering classes I took were challenging but not particularly enjoyable to me. That should have given me a clue that I was in the wrong major but being a naive farm kid that I was that just didn’t occur to me that I had options.
After college I managed to get a job with a “major communications company” designing its consumer telecommunications products (plain speak — I worked for AT&T/Bell Labs designing the Trimline telephone). I really didn’t get much pleasure out of designing circuits and circuit boards so after about five years I moved over to reliability testing. That area allowed me to build all kinds of interesting Rube Goldberg machines to life test a lot of different stuff.. That kept me occupied for another five years before it too became boring 🙂 Like I said I get bored easily and looking back I am amazed I lasted five years of doing basically the same things.
I then spent another five years doing test set design. That involved writing software to do the electrical and acoustic testing for the products we designed. It was in software design that I finally found something that kept my interest. I moved from test set design to a full-time software mode in the last ten years of my corporate life where I and my team wrote software apps for an engineering division. That work allowed my creativity to shine as it had never done before and it kept me from getting bored.
Boredom has always been a serious part of my life. I just couldn’t seem to stay interested in anything for any length of time. After I left the corporate world I opened my own cabinet making business. I had been into woodworking as a hobby for twenty-five years so that was a natural for me. But, that too lasted about five years before it was no longer a challenge. After you have built a couple hundred cabinets each one begins to look like the last one. 🙂
So, to wrap up this two post dissertation on boredom the statement by Professor Eastwood that “wanting to, but being unable to engage in satisfying activity.” got my attention. I guess it struck a nerve. In some aspects it might be true but in others it failed to explain my boredom as being something without the necessary challenge.
Apathy on the other hand is something that I will never understand. When there is no urge to do anything that is probably the sorriest state of being. It kind of goes back to one of my favorite posts on this blog and that is “What is the saddest thing in the world”. Apathy is just another way of saying lazy minds. I won’t get started on that again here as I am out of space but if you want to see the original post click on the reference above.