I am easily bored, and this is not a good trait. It can lead to unemployment, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Two weeks ago, I was getting sick of tomato sauce. We have so many tomatoes this year. The heat and rain have been a perfect combination for them, and every time I show up at G.’s house, he has 20 or more pounds of tomatoes waiting for me. Last Thursday, I converted 21 pounds into 17 pint jars of salsa. It took all day.
I’ve made nearly every sauce and soup in You Say Tomato that doesn’t involve meat, and I’ve pulled recipes from other books too. I’ve made sauces with mint, nutmeg, basil, cream, no cream, zucchini, carrots and stuff I can’t even remember. I canned about two dozen pints of salsa, and G. wolfed down another gallon or so.
And then, I got bored. This is my problem: I am captivated by new things, new problems, challenges. I’m totally into researching the problem and finding a solution. I’ll practice until I get good at something. But then, I’m just kind of done. I can skin a tomato quickly and easily now. Time to move on.
But of course, the tomato plants are still producing.
Then C., the philosopher, said something earth-shaking and perspective-altering to G. two weeks ago: “Has she tried curry?”
Curry! I love Indian food, and it’s a whole new continent of cooking. I tried the chicken curry from Six Spices last week and mentally blessed Neeta Saluja for basically writing what amounts to “Indian Cooking for Dummies.” It turned out reasonably well, and G. was delighted as he loves Indian food too. Then I found recipes for chicken korma and chicken masala online, and I made those yesterday. That got me through what might have been the last big batch of the tomatoes because it’s gotten cooler, and production is falling off.
I wish I knew how to make a small change like that, just a shift in perspective really, to keep other aspects of my life fresh and exciting. Mostly, I feel that way about work. And here’s where “easily bored” leads to “unemployed.”
I used to be a college professor. I worked very hard all through school, earned my doctorate in near-record time, got a tenure track job and published several articles in refereed journals to put myself well on the path to tenure. And then I got bored. The challenge I felt in graduate school, where the focus was on research and learning, didn’t translate into teaching. Suddenly, it wasn’t as important for me to learn new things as to impart what I already knew to others. Teaching was repetitive. I could change examples or approaches, but in the classes I taught, there was a core of information that had to be passed on and there was no getting around that without shirking your duty. I am not a shirker.
And so, after four years of giving variations of what were essentially the same lectures and lessons, I was bored _ and I quit. I went out and got a job at a newspaper, which was plenty exciting but also involved long hours, a weird schedule and complete lack of job security. The newspaper industry is dying. I’m not the first to say it.
I’ve moved on from that job to ones with ever more excitement, ever more stress, ever weirder hours. No more job security. Each change is exciting at first, but after a while, when I can do the job without sweating, I start to get restless. I wonder what’s next, whether there’s anything more than what I’ve already experienced, felt and learned.
Now though, I have G., and he’s a hometown boy. He doesn’t want to move, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to ask. And truthfully, I don’t want to move either. I love Wisconsin. It feels like home. I just want to be able to make a little curry in my 9-to-5.