Today in spin class, we did something very different; we watched the second part of the documentary Ride the Divide, a documentary about a group of people who competed to see who could be the first to ride from Canada to Mexico on their bikes.
Now we're not talking about the Tour de France, when people ride in groups, with support teams to provide food, hydration and medical help. No, these riders were mostly out there pedalling away on their own.
It's interesting that what defeated riders most often was the loneliness or the boredom, not the exertion or injury or not having enough training. We saw one of the riders confessing that the scenery was lovely, but she was just so bored, too bored to face another day.
I thought of my own days and how often I feel a similar way. I thought of my childhood dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end or riding a bike from coast to coast, the way so many people did during the summer of 1976. It's good to remember that even if I was out there on a bike or with a backpack, I'd still face the problem of boredom.
I'd go a step further and say that boredom defeats many of us more quickly than lack of skill or lack of talent or lack of resources. How many writers (or artists of any kind) have quit because they could not face another day alone with their thoughts? How many marriages and families have been abandoned when the tedium became too great? How many jobs have been left because at least the boredom in a new job would be unfamiliar, at least for a few months?
I daresay many of us if not most of us are never trained with the coping skills we need to keep at a task, especially if the rewards are few and far between or largely self-rewarded.
Now, an enterprising blogger would end with an upbeat suggestion for how to cope with boredom--or a 3 part podcast, available for download for a very modest price, or a book! I am not that enterprising blogger this morning. I write mainly to remind myself that even if I was out there living my childhood dream, I'd still face the problem of what to do with all the boredom.
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