The summer after the sixth grade, I became friends with this girl, Anna, when I joined the cheerleading squad. Anna was a year older than me, and we never had occasion to hang out together before, even though we lived in a tiny town and went to the smallest private school in the area.
Anna lived way out in the country. Her house had a huge yard, and there were no neighborhood kids to play with. As May came to an end and we talked about our plans for the summer, I admitted to having mixed feelings. Summer always started with feelings of endless freedom and possibility, which soon devolved into oppressive heat and boredom. I spent much of the summer begging my sister to drive me to the swimming pool or snow cone stand. Eventually, I just wanted to go back to school, even though I hated it. School was full of stupid rules, adults making up for their miserable lives by making kids miserable, and kids whose primary mode of interaction was insult contests. But at least I wouldn’t be bored. Sadly, I prefered the stressful predictability of school to the directionlessness of summer.
“Really?” Anna said. “I don’t get bored.”
Seriously. She said this. And this is why we became friends. When I asked how that was possible, she said, “Last summer, I just decided I didn’t want to be bored, so whenever I felt bored, I would just do something.”
This was probably the most enlightened thing I’d heard in my young life. When Anna was bored, she would go ride her horse, paint a picture, dress up in her mom’s old clothes, rearrange the furniture in her bedroom, listen to her parents’ old records (this is how I learned about George Carlin and the 7 dirty words), make jewelry, climb a tree … you get the picture. Anna was awesome. That summer, and for the next several years while we both lived in our little hometown, our friendship revolved around doing weird shit just because it was fun. We wrote on walls, glued things to other things, adopted a pet lobster, rode shopping cards through Wal-Mart, climbed on top of elementary schools, and pretty much did anything else that made us laugh or made the world a little more interesting.
We had a great fucking time.
Don’t wait for life to come to you. Don’t be bored. Go be awesome.