ask a fuck-up

I got my life together and now I’m constantly bored

Is this really what being an adult is like?
ask a fuck-up

I got my life together and now I’m constantly bored

Is this really what being an adult is like?

Brandy Jensen, The Outline’s Power editor, has made a lot of mistakes in her life. Has she learned from them and become a wiser person as a result? Hahaha oh gosh no. But it does leave her uniquely qualified to tell you what not to do — because she’s probably done it.

Dear Fuck-Up,

I’d like to start by saying I used to be a fuck-up myself, but it damaged my health and relationships so I eventually managed to change.

I’m in my mid-20s. I have a stable job with good benefits that I don’t dislike all too much, although I wish it took less time out of my day. I live with my boyfriend and love him unconditionally and our apartment is extremely nice and not entirely unaffordable. I do yoga regularly, have no more debt to pay off, and an incredible cat. Life is going well.

But I’m constantly bored. I miss being an utter shitshow some days because at least it was something to do. I daydream about ruining my own life just for the fun of having to start all over. I just keep thinking — Is this really it? The world is crumbling around me and I’m going to spend 60 years just doing this? I don’t know what I’m working towards anymore. I’m just... underwhelmed. Please help.

About To Have A Baby Just For Something To Do

Dear Baby,

When I find myself deeply, almost physically resentful of the fact that adult life is full of mundane tasks one must repeat, forever, until you die, I think about my mother. She had three kids by the time she was 24, and for a time ran a daycare out of our house then worked the night shift at McDonald’s. All she wanted for me, really, was the opportunity to have a boring life. She would have described such a life as stable but there’s often little difference. For years, I took that nice little dream she had and said “no thank you not for me,” about which she was, to her credit, a remarkably good sport.

Which is not to say that just because other people have had it much worse your disappointment is not real. Broadly speaking, being a person is often very stupid and a bit of a letdown. You have to feed the same humiliating body every day; change your sheets every week; pay your bills every month. It is tempting to start rejecting the demands of living. But the alternative — really sliding back to a place where you are solely following your own whims and desires — may alleviate your boredom, but only because, by being a mess, you hand it over to other people. You become someone else’s monthly bill; their weekly sheets. Your own indulgence is just a demand placed elsewhere. There is nothing more crushingly monotonous for the people who care about you than letting them down time and time again.

For me, that remains the bulwark against the occasional intrusive thought that asks “What if you just didn’t do the things you have agreed to do?” I regret to inform you that you will keep asking this of yourself until you stop asking anything at all.

But in the meantime, things can and will happen to you. It will not just be this way forever because nothing is just the way it is for long. You may fall out of love with your boyfriend or find a job you like more or move to a different apartment in a different city. Your life might blow up without you lighting the fuse. You might realize you are a little depressed and go to therapy and begin to feel much better. You might realize you are a little depressed and go to therapy and still feel bored but in a way you can accept. You might take advantage of your enviable lack of debt and decide to travel to other countries, because the world is quite large and contains places where you can stand and feel small. You might eventually have a baby although I would strongly encourage you not to do that yet.

Or you might ignore everything I’ve said and go on a bender and leave a wake of destruction behind you. This stupid, boring life is your own after all, and I can’t tell you what to do with it. I can only recommend that you try to live it in a way that is not a drain on others. It’s not true that only boring people get bored — but bored fuck-ups become very, very boring to manage.

A Fuck-Up

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