Aburrido is the spanish word for “bored” or “boring”, not to be confused with the name for beans, meat, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla.
It’s also a word whose English equivalent I used for years to describe my life. The highlight of my elementary school years was to play American Girl dolls with my two friends during choir practice at church. It was what sustained me through tons of school reading, math textbooks, and even a one-year dabble into “classical education” (which, as someone who isn’t fond of most history curriculums, I found a nightmare.)
And then in sixth grade, I lost that, too, when my family had to move to a different church. So basically, my life consisted of school, practicing violin, and wishing I didn’t have to do school or practice violin. Pretty boring, right? And perhaps a little depressing?
As a homeschooled kid with few social outlets, I really struggled with contentment. I’m still homeschooled today, and I still have few social outlets. In fact, I quit co-op this year to transition to all community college classes, so I’m looking forward to a senior year of social isolation in the fall.
But here’s the difference between the me now, who would willingly drop out of a social life, and the me then, who would have given anything for opportunities at friends and fun. Not only have I embraced my inner introvert, but I’ve also learned that there are worse things than figuring out how to spend my own time. Because I’ve grown up with lots of free alone time on my hands, I’ve learned to occupy myself, to do stuff with the time I have.
1. Investigate What Interests You
Often cited as one of the coolest things about homeschooling, the freedom to learn about whatever you want to is a treasure that belongs to anyone with time and energy to spare. Not every topic makes it into the textbooks, and there is so much to learn about life, love, relationships, and reason beyond what school teaches. So if you wind up with hours to kill, go learn something. The internet has a lot of information, by the way.
Don’t know what your interested in? Search until you find it! Try out different hobbies, skim lists of majors at universities, and give yourself an idea of what you might want to spend your adult life doing before you have to make college and career decisions.
There’s no time like the present… especially when junior and senior year of highschool (or college) will most certainly sneak up on you before you know it.
2. Develop Your Skills
If I didn’t have an uneventful, open-scheduled upbringing, I might not have discovered my love for writing, and I certainly wouldn’t have coddled and fed it the way I’ve done for the past three years of highschool. School itself eats away enough of my time to keep me from devoting as much as I should to writing, so I can’t imagine it would have flourished underneath hills of extracurricular activities and social outings.
And writing is just one of the skills I’ve had the mental energy and space on the schedule to develop, in addition to viola, piano, and sketching. Granted, I’m not amazing at those, but that’s beside the point. We all have been given certain strengths, and I believe we owe it to God to sharpen those, regardless of how they compare to the strengths of others.
3. Get Committed to God
Lastly, a more serious note to leave with you. In middle school, I struggled with depression and major loneliness. I didn’t have many–if any–deep relationships, but I honestly believe no single friendship or number of friends could have made me happy at that point. I was searching, I was aching. And ultimately, the struggle I was going through was one only God could get me through.
So with that free time I had, even intermingled with my envy for others’ friendships and my own doubt and self-deprication, I began to pray and read the Bible on my own. I began to want to know God–not content just to know information about him, but faminishing to know him himself.
Jesus alone is the Bread of Life, the one who will satisfy our souls. Regardless of whatever situation you’re in, however good or bad your mental health may be, and however many people know and appreciate you, he will always be the only one who will not leave you empty but will fill you with gladness and peace. Only Christ loves you that way, and only Christ became a Lamb led to the slaughter to save your soul.
If there’s one thing you do in the not-so-busy, not-so-hectic periods of your life, or in any, for that matter, let it be pursuing God. Seek to know him, and rejoice in the fact that you are fully and completely known by him. He doesn’t ask you to be a world-famous author, surgeon, or CEO in order to matter. You matter because you were made by him, because he has given you days here on this earth.
So whether your schedule is uneventful like mine has been, or as crazy as some of the athlete/debater/artists I know, I hope you’ll find some time in there to discover who you are as a person and who God is. Get grounded in those things now, while you have the chance, and you will be so much more prepared than you otherwise would be to go chase your passions and be happy with your life. Make the most of it. 🙂