Why Is Life So Boring Sometimes?

Photo Credit: Restore International
When I quit my day job to travel across the country and “chase my dreams” I thought it was going to be the most thrilling year of my life.

And, to be fair, in many ways, it was.

At the same time, I’ll never forget the moment, about a quarter of the way into our trip, when my friend Sharaya and I stood at Mt. Rushmore, staring at what was supposed to be so monumental, and asking ourselves this question:

Wait… is that it?

In fact, we found the whole thing so unremarkable, so unimpressive, we weren’t even willing to pay the ten bucks (or whatever it was) to get into the park. We took a quick obligatory picture, and then went about our way.

We had bigger and more important things to do. You know, like eat lunch.

I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes it feels like life is kind of like this. It seems like I travel so far to get to this place, this moment, and it’s supposed to be so amazing. But when I get there, I’m not as impressed as I wanted to be.

Or, I am impressed, but it wears off quickly when I get hungry or tired or bored and want something new and shiny.

New jobs. New outfits. New apartments. New stuff. New relationships. We’re all waiting for the next thing to make our life exciting, to make it meaningful.

Have you ever felt like that?

I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit and I think there are several reasons we feel like this. I think we’re so used to be entertained, we’re expecting our life to just happen to us. I think we’re so focused on “destinations” we miss what happens along the way. And also, I think we play it too safe.

Most of us play our lives way too safe.

I know I do.

This year I’ve been making a conscious effort to play my life less safe, and you know what? It’s been really hard. I’ve wrestled with anxiety my whole life, and although I’ve gained some control over it in the past decade, this year it’s really flared up.

Also, I’ve failed at more things. I’m not just being humble, I’m being real. I’ve been behind on more deadlines, been a worse friend and wife, and produced more bad art (consequently, I’ve produced more good art, too).

To top it off, I’ve also been judged for being “irresponsible.”

But you know what else? My faith in God has grown deeper than it ever has, and my capacity for love and empathy has grown wider than I ever dreamed possible. There has not been one single moment where I’ve thought, “This is it! My life is so exciting!”

But looking back over the past year, I feel the deepest sense of gratitude and meaning.

This is the thrill I was made for.

Unless you’re a social media hermit, I’m sure you’ve heard I’m donating my birthday this year to Restore International. I’m turning 30 on May 30th and instead of having a big party or a bunch of presents (I’m Packing Light, after all) I want to raise $30,000 to build a classroom in Gulu, Uganda.

And you know what?

I know this is crazy. $30,000 is a lot of money. To put it in context, it’s more money than Darrell and I made combined last year. But you know what else? I’ve never been more excited for a birthday, ever.

30 is going to be a big year for me.

Here’s the problem. I don’t know anyone with $30,000 (my guess is you don’t either).

Which means, if this is going to happen, it’s going to have to be a team effort. Strangely enough, this is part of the appeal for me.

I’ve never been much for asking for money, or even for help for that matter, but I’m already inspired by the way a community of people is coming around this project to make it a reality.

And I know money is tight right now. It is for us, too. Which is why I’m trying to get creative about how we can meet this goal as a community. Here are some thoughts that have come to mind as I’m brainstorming.

  1. Donating time. I often do freelance editing and copywriting to make extra money, and I’m going to donate 10 hours of my time to this project. If you’d like to hire me ($50/hr) I’ll share my services and donate all proceeds to this project. Contact me below if you’re interested.
  2. Selling stuff. I have a few vintage coach purses I’ve been hoarding for awhile. I definitely don’t need three of them, so I’m going to sell them for whatever I can get and donate the proceeds.
  3. Garage Sale. This is the time of year people are having garage sales anyway. Would anyone be willing to donate the proceeds of their sale to help me build this classroom?
  4. Bake Sale. I hate measuring cups and kitchen timers, so I’ll give you three guess if I’m good at baking or not, but this thought keeps coming to mind. Any bakers out there want to host a sale?
  5. Dinner party. I hosted a dinner party the other night in my community, and it was really fun. I made spaghetti and charged $15 per plate, and shared some photos and video of the location and the school. If you’d like to host your own dinner party, contact me below, and I’ll send you a really simple guide to planning!
  6. Car Wash. Well, it’s still snowing in Minnesota, so this definitely isn’t a viable option here, but this is how we used to raise money in youth group, so…
  7. 5k. I’m thinking of organizing a “remote” 5k where we could all run in our own cities or neighborhoods, but at the same time. Our friends could sponsor us to run. Does this sound fun to anyone but me?
  8. Benefit Concert. I’m working with a few friends to pull this off in Minneapolis in May. If you’re in the area, stay tuned.
  9. T-shirts. I have a designer who offered to design t-shirts for the project. If I had them made, would you be interested in buying one?
  10. Direct Donations. If you’d like to make a direct donation, click HERE.

Do any of these ideas sound fun to you? Would you like to host or participate in any of them? Do you have any other ideas I haven’t listed here? I can’t do this without your help.

In the words of Bob Goff, everyone is invited! Consider this your formal invitation.

Much love to you and thanks for helping me celebrate this important year. To Reply: Click HERE.

 

About Allison Vesterfelt

I help people uncover their true self through the art of writing. Author of Packing Light. You can connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments

  1. says

    The remote 5K sounds like a great idea! My friend Julie is organizing her 2nd such run at her blog Run With the Big Girls (http://runwiththebiggirls.com/), so you might want to contact her with any questions/for ideas if you decide to go that route.
    And I hear you re: life being boring. It’s funny how we can reach a goal, look at it for a second or two, and then be ready to move onto the next thing because the present thing seems “meh” in comparison to the hype and hopes we had for it.

    • says

      Michelle — thank you for sharing that link with me! I will definitely contact your friend if I decide to go that direction. Appreciate you.

  2. Ashleigh Dean says

    I am so excited about this! I’m meeting with my high school girls (I teach their Sunday school class) this afternoon and we are going to plan what we are going to do! We plan to do a bake sale at the high school and possibly the college I work at, as well as a garage sale. I’ll keep you posted on our plans!
    -Ashleigh, Addie, and Shannon

    • says

      Oh my goodness, this message warms my heart Asheleigh (and Addie and Shannon) :) If you want, I have pictures and a short video I can share with you about the work Restore is doing in Uganda, and what a building project looks like so people can get a good idea of what they’re contributing to. Shoot me an e-mail if you need any help with anything ally@vesterfelt.com.
      You ladies are the best!

  3. says

    Hey, I’m Julie, Michelle’s friend :) I loved doing the 5K last year to help my friends with adoption expenses. This year it’s for a different family and different need, but still going to be a blast. I will tell you that last year we raised just over $3,100 (after all expenses) for my friends with my teeny tiny blog. I’d say one your size could do significantly more. But let me know if you decide to go that way and have any questions. I’ll be glad to help out! You can reach me at runwiththebiggirls@gmail.com.

  4. says

    Ah, yep. I’m totally a lover of the exotic, a pursuer of all things novel. I have a hard time not feeling constantly disappointed that things aren’t as exciting, rewarding, generally shiny and magnificent as I thought they’d be once I got there. And usually, once I get here…I’m pretty much just already looking ahead to the next thing do. Except then God domesticated me by shooting me three babies in 2 1/2 years and giving me a husband who is generally content just being in the here and now. And so now I’m learning how to be here. Just here. And now. Right now. SO HARD! But by being here and now, stripped down of all the plans for the next big thing, I’m learning who I am in the present. And trying to live here, I’m having to face “just me.” And just me is really all there is in front of God. It’s a vulnerable place, but maybe a place where all the real excitement starts. Not just the anticipating. But the real! Real is pretty intense!

    • says

      Elodie — real IS intense, I agree! And learning to be content in the here and now is such a valuable lesson to learn. So hard, but ultimately what brings peace. Thanks for sharing from your perspective. It’s really valuable.

  5. says

    Ally, I love this. I love that you’re fighting to live a life that’s risky, scary, and completely full of meaning. This is beautiful encouragement and I’m heading over to donate now. :-)

    • says

      Thank you Stephanie! You’re support (not just the donation) means the world to me. Thanks for being a great example of risky living yourself. Much love.

  6. says

    I quit my day job so that I could follow both my calling and my dream. I’ve dreamed of being a full-time writer all of my life. Now I’m doing it. But more importantly, I’m following my calling to be a missionary in the Philippines. I’ve been at since September of last year. It isn’t always what I thought it would be. In some ways it’s been disappointing — yet, in other ways, it’s been the ride of a life time. Working with kids in need, seeing their faces when they realize that they’re going to get to go to school . . . well, even on one of my best writing days I don’t think I could describe how that feels. I hope your endeavor is successful! I’m in the throes of raising money for school supplies, uniforms and shoes for a little place called Datag.I could never go back to work — at least, not like I used to do. I’m grateful that God has given this mission to me, and I thank Him for the blessings He has provided.

    • says

      Scott — good for you for going after it. I applaud your courage and your conviction. I’ll say a quick prayer right now that you’re fully resourced for everything you need for your trip, and that many people will be impacted by your words. Thanks for your encouragement and for commenting!

  7. says

    Hello are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new
    to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my
    own. Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own
    blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  8. says

    Currently itt appears like Dupal is the top blogging platform available right now.

    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’reusing on your blog?

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