My wellspring of joy has been significantly depleted over the past several months. In fact, based on my new life standards it’s at record low levels. There have been a couple of infusions – my cousin’s wedding, a meetup with A – but generally speaking, I’ve had to continually draw on my reserves over the last few months. This is for three reasons.
First, I’ve been bored out of my ever-loving mind. Me nuh know how people can just willfully and voluntarily siddung a dem yaad fi years and nuh do nutten! I mean, it was OK for the first couple of weeks, but it grew old very fast. For someone who is used to being occupied most of the time, it has not been fun! I’ve had to find things to occupy my time so that my brain wouldn’t vegetate. In between reading my Bible and learning to pray better, I’ve been going to the gym, helping with a couple of programmes at my church, getting involved in a Bible study group, occasionally meeting up with friends, and binge-watching online what has amounted to hundreds of episodes of several different shows. But those activities don’t test or expand my mental abilities. Eventually, I took up familiarising myself with the Cyrillic alphabet since I’m heading to Russia soon. And I saw a news report that said learning to write with your non-dominant hand helps your brain so I briefly took up learning to write with my left hand. I mean, it may or may not be true but I had nothing better to do so why not? In any case, that didn’t last long but it kept me amused for a short while. That’s how bored I was.
I hear the question you’re asking with skepticism in your voice: How can you be bored in Jamaica with all those beaches and all that lovely sunshine? Well, first of all, you guys should know by now that I’m not a fan of heat or sunshine. Second of all, I’m not a big fan of the beach; I’m just not. I mean, I like the beach, the beach is nice. But there are other landscapes I prefer much more. Mountains, for example. So the beach doesn’t do much for me. And other than the beach, there aren’t a whole lot of other things to do in Jamaica that would catch my interest for more than a few weeks. For instance, this is Jamaica so there’s always a party going on but since parties aren’t my natural habitat (late at night, noisy and crowded), that’s no big draw for me. I’ve also been to many of the local museums and the ones I haven’t visited hold no interest for me.
Related to this endless boredom is the second reason why my happiness well almost ran dry: lack of productivity. Most days, I accomplished exactly nothing particularly meaningful. For someone who is used to being productive and ending each day having powered through a checklist of things to do, this is not a good thing. I’m not talking about being unendingly and unnecessarily pressured under a crushing weight of things that need my attention, or feeding my identity through my own works and achievements. I’m talking about that lovely feeling of accomplishment I get when I start a day with meaningful and impactful things to do then I end the day having done at least some of them. I haven’t had that feeling for months.
Thirdly, I had to deal with a situation where some people I know were struggling through an unhappy circumstance of their own making. As much as I tried to stay out of it, it was impossible for me to divorce myself from it completely, and their blanket of unhappiness tried its best to smother me on several occasions. I had to pray and struggle my way out from under it then devise ways to keep out of its path. But it still managed to suck up a significant portion of my happiness reserves before I could fully pump the brakes on it.
So generally speaking, I’ve found being in Jamaica these last several months to be somewhat mind-numbing. I’ve managed to keep reasonably occupied but despite that and for the reasons I just laid out, I’ve felt as though my soul has been shriveling up from lack of nourishment. I haven’t grown or changed in any significant way this entire time and I’ve missed having stimulating and challenging discussions and experiences, even as uncomfortable as those can be. With nothing inspiring taking place and no new food for thought, I’ve barely written a word (which is why you’re still only getting two posts each week); this has also withheld nourishment from my soul since writing is a great source of fulfillment for me.
Through all of this, I’ve gotten the usual platitudes from people – everything in God’s timing, the waiting season is just as important as any other season, it will be over before you know it, relax and enjoy it because you don’t know when you’ll get this again. It’s all like seed falling on rocky ground – it means nothing to me. So usually when I’m given those sentiments, I smile and nod and don’t bother to comment because I’m pretty sure the speaker doesn’t understand at all where I’m coming from.
Still, I’m not a whiner, I’m a solutions oriented person so I don’t tend to wallow in my problems; I usually try to find ways to change things for the better. So I examined my situation and the only solution I could come up with was to just exhale and be content during this mandatory downtime in Jamaica.
I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. The way I see it, down that road lies complacency and acceptance of the status quo. Even though my time had a limit on it, I feared that if I relaxed and decided to be content, my fire and passion would get quenched again. It was partly my lazy relaxation and subconscious decision to be content with my lot in life that helped subdue my dreams and my passion the first time around. That’s not going to happen again. Until and unless I’m actively engaged in things that advance God’s plan for my life, I cannot and will not relax and be content, not for a minute much less for several months.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but you know I have to be honest with you guys, and while I’ve managed to not wish the time away, I have been eagerly anticipating the conclusion of this period. So thank God the end of this boring, unproductive, joy-reducing season in my life is looming. Now, my main source of happiness is that my new season will soon begin!