Leisure: COVID-19 #11

In this long period of contemplation, I’ve come to equate boredom to a lack of self-faith. Here’s why:

Notwithstanding everything I can’t do, I can think. Granted, some deliberations are darker than others. Some lead to despair. Despair can lead to depression. Depression can lead to worse. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve reaped the results of risk and reward. I’m lucky. And I know it.

But those experiences — those risks, those rewards, and that luck — aren’t badges. They don’t make me better. They don’t make me superior. They don’t make me savvier or better-equipped. They don’t make me stronger. And they certainly don’t make me unbreakable.

They make me sympathetic. They make me compassionate. They make me open. They make me realistic. They make me self-aware. They make me vulnerable, fallible, human. And they’ve given me a measure of self-faith I choose never to relinquish.

Love is not a choice. It’s a gift. It’s given to all of us. Cherishing those we love is a choice.

Thinking is not a choice. It’s a capacity. It’s given to all of us. Believing in what we think is a choice.

Self-faith — loving ourselves — is not a choice. It’s part of our natures. Refusing to surrender that part of our natures, refusing to let it be taken from us, is a choice. It’s the choice between boredom and creativity, between fear and imagination, ingenuity, and happiness. It’s the choice we have right now.

Hope is not a choice. It’s the product of what we believe in ourselves to do.

What do you believe you can do?


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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  1. Can I curl up with the dog instead, Mark? We don’t have a cat.

    I’ve been an unemployed person since March 18th, and I’ve yet not to find a way to occupy my time. I was out for my second walk yesterday afternoon, and my friend commented that these are the days we always wished we had. She’s right, as on so many occasions we would mention that we wish we had more time to do things.

    As odd as it feels not to be working, I can’t help but believe that I’m on this path for a reason. So, I try to embrace it and make the most of it. I love that I can read more, write more, and exercise more. And I’ve been able to be a support network in ways I wouldn’t have been able to if I were working. I can concentrate better on a job search, although I still can’t figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

    But, the one downside is there’s more time for me to think – and I can overthink. So, then I begin to question my purpose because much of it I tied to my career. And I find myself saying, ”now what?” But I can’t escape the feeling that it is going to be okay and that it will work out. Or perhaps that is my rationalization to keep my anxiety at bay.

    Regardless, this piece is brilliant, Mark, and drives home the point that it is our time – and our choice in how to expend it.

    I’m late to the party on this article, but happy to have come here this morning.

    • Laura, you have it right here: “I can’t help but believe that I’m on this path for a reason … I find myself saying, ‘now what?’ But I can’t escape the feeling that it is going to be okay and that it will work out.”

      That’s it. We’re on our respective paths — The Big Test — for reasons. It’s not even our jobs to figure out the reason. Rather, it’s our jobs to read the signs, to make responsible decisions in response to our reading the signs, to monitor and progress and our contentment, and to take corrective action or no action, depending on where our decisions lead us.

      I suspect you’ve seen this before. If so, I apologize:

      That’s it. If we can regain the wonder and courage we had as children, we’ll be better able to intuit our next steps and be less afraid to take them.

      If you ever feel like you’re on the verge of giving up on yourself, you know where to find me. 😊

      Thank you for sharing yourself with me.

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