Episode 42: When Life Feels Boring

Join me this week as I share the difference between life feeling boring vs. stabilized, and what it feels like firsthand to be in the middle of a big (unknown) personal transformation.

In today’s episode, I share:

  • The difference between feeling bored with life vs. stability (hint: it often takes time for our brains + bodies to catch up)
  • How we go through these growth cycles when we’re really living
  • Why I’m sharing so transparently about this (I resist the idea that being in in-between spaces – which is often pathologized as low energy, anxiety, even feeling morose – is taboo)

Episode links:

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Let’s become a generation of creative women who are examples for the people in our lives of what it looks like to prioritize our work (AND recognize our impact).

x, Jen

Full episode transcript below:

Welcome to today's episode, When Life Feels Boring. Today I'm talking about the difference between when life feels boring versus when it's actually just stabilizing. And if that is unfamiliar to you, as it is for me, it can feel kind of boring and rote. But what I think is actually happening is just stabilization. And that may be a new experience for us. 

And I'm sharing all of this because I am sharing it from firsthand experience. I am in the middle of a really big unknown transformation, personal transformation, I'm not exactly sure where things are leading me, but I've been through this enough times that I know when I'm in one, and this is, I think one of the first times that I'm in this big transformation, but I'm not setting my sights on something specific, like I usually do, and just running towards it in my little achievement mode. 

I have done a lot of personal work around this, and I am just doing what I talk about doing, which is following the lily pads one at a time and seeing where this ultimately wants to lead me

 When I talk about the difference between life feeling boring versus things stabilizing, I think that what is actually happening is it's just taking time for our brains and bodies to catch up to the new status quo. So I talk about that in today's episode. 

I also share about how I think that we go through these growth cycles that often feel destabilizing, and then you experience the stabilization I'm talking about, when we're really living. I think if we don't know, and I've talked to a lot of people who it feels like something is really wrong when we are going through these personal transformations and we may be suffering or struggling and nothing feels familiar yet, and it's like, what the heck am I doing? What caused this? Why is this happening? Or things just no longer feel the way they used to for you.

There may be a sense of discontent, or malaise, or just like what was working for you for so long is no longer working and you're not exactly sure why yet. I think that these growth cycles are incredibly normal and actually a sign that we're really living. It's  a true example of the metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

You are literally changing your DNA in the process. And yeah, that's gonna feel weird and like a real squeeze usually, in my experience. 

And then I also talk about why I'm sharing so transparently about this. I think it's seen as taboo culturally to share when we are in a transformation which might look like struggling, or suffering, or when we just don't have all of our shit together.

I really resist the idea that being in these in between spaces, which I think is  often pathologized as low energy, or anxiety, or even feeling morose, that this is taboo. I resist that idea completely. I think that this is an extremely normal part of, if we're living on a curve, you know, we have the peaks and then we experience the valleys where we're integrating information, we're learning more about ourselves. We may be going through this metamorphosis that I keep talking about. 

So I know I've been sharing a lot about this lately, and I talk about why I am doing that. I wish more people would share about this because I think that the reason why we think something is wrong is that we think we're the only ones that go through it, and that couldn't be further from the truth.

So that's an overview of today's episode, and I am so glad that you're here, and let's get into it.   

I am thinking about how I feel kind of bored with my routine and my mind or my brain is, is like seeking interest. Like should I go do this? Should I buy this? Should I go have a glass of wine? Like so many things to change up what's going on or to like add interest, I guess. You know, seeking dopamine, right? Like seeking a dopamine hit. 

I was thinking about how a few years ago when I did a lot of work on money and how money became boring, and I was very much not used to that. I was used to money being like a rollercoaster I was on and highs and lows, and it felt very unpredictable, and I didn't really totally understand it, and I didn't feel like I had very much control.

And now money is pretty boring. I mean, like once in a while I'll go through something new with it, and I get to learn more things, but for the most part, it's just boring now. Like I pay bills, invest a certain amount, save a certain amount, buy things when we need them, et cetera. But it went from being like this to being more just kind of like a more gentle rollercoaster, I guess.

And in the beginning that felt really strange to me because I grew up very much not with money feeling boring. And I'm thinking now about how I guess it applies to my work really. It's just feeling a little, not work even like, just like life right now is feeling a little boring in the sense that it's really stabilized.

It's probably actually the right word. Not boring, but stabilized. And if you're not used to things feeling stable,  it feels weird. It feels like even though you want stability, obviously our brains and our bodies, I guess are wired for like this certain roller coaster experience, and so when things stabilize, it takes some time for our bodies to catch up. I think that's what I'm trying to say. It takes some time for our bodies to acclimate to the new routine, the new status quo.

And for me, I'm watching my inner experience like something, it feels like something's wrong. It feels like I should input something in, to have a little bit of excitement, to like shake things up a little bit, because I'm seeking the roller coaster ride that I'm used to. Which is like peaks and valleys, like a big shift.

And I don't even like roller coasters,  so it's always funny to me that I use this analogy, but it just is always the most appropriate one to me. So I'm thinking of like, oh, I wa like I wanna input something so I can get on this rollercoaster ride that I'm used to. And here's the thing, when you have a really high peak, you're going to have a similar valley.

We can't just have like high peaks, and then like barely enter a valley, and then high peak again. It doesn't work like that. We have similar waves of experience and I don't know if it's a symptom of getting a little bit older, learning, you know  growing as a human, personal development, et cetera, but I feel like in different areas of my life, I'm finding a more stable wave, a more stable rollercoaster ride, and it's taking time for my brain and body to catch up to it.

I think that it's definitely evidence of growth, and I'm not talking about boredom in like I'm bored. I don't know what to do. I am not interested in anything, not like that. I'm talking about boredom in the sense that things feel routine, almost predictable. Like you kind of just have a flow that you're going in.

I think this is applicable too to artistic mediums. The beginning, there's so many things you don't understand. I'm thinking of when I first learned pottery, it was like, chaos. And if it was successful, I didn't know how to repeat it yet. It was like a fluke. And then with lots and lots of practice, it became very predictable where I knew what was gonna happen or if something went wrong, I understood what caused it and I could remedy it.

And that level of mastery is really compelling to me in creative work. But there's something about in life that that mastery and stability, I think I'm just not used to it, and I'm sharing all of this because I feel that I'm in a growth phase, or maybe like a cocoon phase. Like there's some stuff that's brewing for me and, and shifting and changing under the surface that I don't totally understand yet where it's leading me.

Usually I have a sense of it, but this is really, I think, a culmination of a lot of the personal work I've done in that I have no freaking idea where this is leading me, what is brewing. I just can feel this reorganization happening underneath the surface, and I'm seeing evidence of it in my life and my reality, and I always wish that people would share more about this. 

Because  it feels incredibly destabilizing when you're in it, when things don't feel familiar anymore. I often use the analogy, you've swum too far away from the island that you're used to, and you're like halfway between the island that you used to live on and the one that you're swimming towards, that you don't totally know what it contains, and you're too far away to go back, but you're not  really close yet, so you don't really see where you're going or have any sense of familiarity really. 

And I think if you're really living, this is what happens. We all go through growth cycles like this, like that cocoon phase where you turn into goo. And you, you go in a caterpillar, you turn into goo, and then you come out a completely different species as a butterfly, and you'll go through that phase so many times if you're really living.

And we don't talk about it very much culturally. It's kind of taboo because  it often can look like you're feeling low, or confused, or anxious, or even morose, and that's a normal part of the rest phase that's happening as you're reorganizing and things are recalibrating. And it doesn't need to be like a taboo experience because we all go through it if we're really living.

And so I guess I don't have like a real fine point to put on this, and usually I try to when I share this kind of stuff, but I just wanted to say that it's normal to feel bored and even when you're in a really deep, unknown phase, and especially if you don't know where you're going yet, it's normal to feel boredom and to feel kind of  destabilized. 

And it can feel really scary if you don't understand what is happening. But I want you to know, at least in my lived experience, I've gone through this many times. Each time I'm like, oh my God, here I am again. Like it feels like the first time every time, but it's normal to go through phases where you feel out of sorts, and like you don't recognize yourself yet anymore, but you also don't know what's next. To feel boredom and wanting some interest, or to get those little dopamine hits to feel a little bit stirred up or destabilized, especially when your system is stabilizing. And your body is catching up to it.

I've experienced this with money. Like I said, I've experienced it in my creative practice, now I feel like I'm experiencing it in, I guess, a greater life sense. It's definitely in work, and it's also just in life. And I think part of it is that I have been ultra, ultra focused on work for the past decade plus of my life, super focused on achievement, and something is shifting around that for me, which I'm really interested in for sure. I wanna see where this goes, but it's an unknown territory for me because achievement has been my jam for forever.

And I think maybe this is how it happens, like different areas of our life get upgraded at a time, and then put into a whole, that is our lived experience. 

That's what I have for you today.

I'm so glad that you're here and that we get to walk our paths together. See you next time. Same time, same place. Bye for now. 

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