When I was in kindergarten my mom would drive me to school every morning and I would cry as we got closer and closer to the school. I really didn’t want to go to class and it’s something I vividly remember. That anxiety. My mom was perplexed. She didn’t know why I was so dead set against going. So one day she came with me to class, which made me very happy, and she watched what was going on. She could see that I was extremely bored, and that the vast majority of the kids in the class were operating on a different level than me. When my teacher asked me if I wanted to work out of the cool workbook I said “yes!” and instantly lit up at the prospect of doing some real & challenging work. After seeing that my mom went into the other kindergarten class down the hall. That class was working on more advanced things. They were reading & learning numbers. So my mom went to the principal and got my class changed. Once I was in the new class, I immediately learned to read and I didn’t dread going to school every day.

I’ve had jobs where I had nothing to do, no real tangible tasks that I could rely on, things that I could look forward to working on the minute I got into the office. I hated having to come in and manufacture some sort of relevant task to do. All of that makes me anxious and irritated. Boredom and Valli don’t mix. So all of that reminded me of kindergarten and how some things don’t change. It’s crazy how something you felt when you were just a little kid is still relevant when you’re an adult.

That’s just who I am. I don’t relish the idea of going in to work if I know that there’s nothing to do and that I’m going to be bored out of my mind. It causes anxiety, all of that uncertainty. Dreading going into work is the worst feeling.

On the flip side of that, my biggest dream is to have nothing to do. I know that sounds like it completely contradicts everything I just said but it doesn’t. Because when it comes to work, that’s what you’re supposed to do — WORK — and if I’m not doing what I was hired to do — WORK! — then that creates anxiety and uncertainty. However, if I’M choosing to do nothing because I CAN that’s totally different.

I once told my mom that I wanted to be able to do nothing so that I could do everything. Which means that I wished I had enough money to do whatever the hell I wanted whenever the hell I wanted. Travel? Absolutely. Start a non-profit? Love to. Attend every single race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule? Why not?! Turning that huge, crazy dream into something realistic is what I spend a ton of time thinking about, because I truly believe obtaining some level of personal freedom is possible without having to win the lottery. Although, that would be VERY nice.

Choosing to do nothing on my own is entirely different than being forced into boredom by someone else. Getting to choose is delicious, being forced is painful.

Photo Credit: Randy P. Martin