Often I find myself coming home from school, and being utterly and completely bored, even after an entire bus ride of thought on what I want to do when I finally get there. I put my backpack away, head up to my room, and sit on my bed. And my mind’s seemingly gone blank. So I think and think, but nothing fun seems to come to mind. Minutes pass, and I still haven’t thought of anything. What usually ends up happening is I give up on trying to think of something to do, and I go to check what’s new on YouTube. Or Instagram. Or on a video game that my friends and I play together.
Today I found myself in this same predicament, trying to find meaning in what I find myself thinking was pointless. As you might have guessed, it, well, didn’t work out. My mom called me for dinner, and I sat down and ate. My family treats dinner as a time to come together and talk, and even if what we talk about during dinner might sometimes seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I later reflected that I had had a better time at dinner than any previous time in between then and when I got off the bus. Back to the story though.
When dinner ended and I returned to my room, I decided not to get on my laptop again. Instead I plopped down onto a chair with a sigh and tried to think of why I was so bored. One of the constant subjects of conversation in my family is being happy with what you have, and I felt like I was failing horribly at that. I looked around my room and saw all the amazing things I was surrounded by. To tell the truth, I just felt even more frustrated. And then I felt ashamed for being frustrated. What right did I have to be so ungrateful for all of these things?
Still in a bad mood, I rummaged through my closet until I laid my hands upon my box of Magic: the Gathering cards. I pulled it out and looked through them, and they were entertaining for a little while. But I still wasn’t happy. I thought maybe if I had more money I could buy more Magic cards, and then I would be happy. But I had no way to make money. I laid down on the carpet in defeat, boredom and depression washing over me like a wave. In my mind I was despairing; why couldn’t I feel any joy? So I began to think back.
I thought back over all the times my parents had told me; happiness does not lie in the possession of things. I thought over all the times in my memory where I was happy and having fun. And I began to notice a pattern.
At first it was only a glimmer. But that glimmer grew and grew until it became a sparkle, shining in my head. A realization. As I thought back, I realized that in all the times where I had fun, had joy, there were people surrounding me. At the dinner table, I was with family, with people I trusted and loved and had fun with. Playing Magic the Gathering, I was always with friends, people I trusted and loved and had fun with. Whenever I truly was happy, there were people at my side.
Though I have been told many times that happiness lies not in the having of things, but in the hearts and minds of the people around you, I don’t think I have ever realized it with such a depth as I did tonight. So I want to encourage you, whenever you are having a rough day, whenever you’re depressed but still being entertained and you don’t know why you’re not happy, to know that it is probably because in your heart you miss somebody close to you, even if they are just downstairs.
Looking back, I realize that all the video games I ever downloaded, all the board games I ever bought, they were all because they were a way to connect with my friends and family. In truth, they are the most important thing in my life, and without them, I couldn’t be happy. I might be entertained by things, but they only bring me joy if I can share the experience with somebody else.
I hope that maybe one day I will be feeling bored, and I will remember tonight and remember that, no matter what, my family and my friends will always be what truly brings me joy in life. For they really do.