Bushtit bird builds a nest in a flowering pear tree made of lichen and moss.

The waiting area for diagnostic imaging overflows with people and teachable moments.

Once a year I find a collective of wise souls. Brought together by questions. Hopeful to leave with answers.

My visit is routine. But I still won’t relax until I know the results.

Alone and eavesdropping. Sometimes I hear a conversation that wakes me up. Changes a broken way of thinking.

Those are the best of days.

On this particular mammogram Monday, I sat tap-tapping on my phone. Killing time. Back to the windows.

A nurse wheeled and parked a patient across from me. The cheerful transporter asked if the woman would like a magazine while waiting. A distraction from certain impending boredom. 

With a wistful smile the woman shook her head, gazed out the wall of windows, and offered a polite decline.

“It’s rare that I have a few minutes to sit and daydream.” 

Mind blown. I put my phone away.

What a notion. 

Boredom is a privilege. A gift without expectations. An uncommon chance to let the mind wander.

What mother hasn’t heard the heavy sigh. The pitiful voice whimpering, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to dooooo.”  

It’s a universal truth that as kids we think boredom is an affliction. One that Mom should fix. Immediately.

Some moms have been known to task out the boredom. Run around the block, clean a bedroom, weed the garden. 

Some moms get crafty with clay, glue sticks, and watercolors.

My response as the kids got older was, “You’re bored? Well, aren’t you lucky.” 

It may have dripped with a bit of sarcasm and resentment. 

As an adult with adult children I see that declarations of boredom can be dealt with in three ways.


Allow for zero downtime. Jam pack every minute of every day. 


Doom scroll and channel surf. Preferably with salted dark chocolate and wine (or whine, or sometimes both).


Nod in appreciation when I find myself unsure of what to do next. Take a deep breath, get quiet, and let my imagination run wild.

I’m giving myself permission to enjoy the last option more and more. 

When boredom strikes I try to resist the escape hatch. 

But I do try to get lost. In my thoughts. Be captivated, engrossed, and mind-full.

Social media is a powerful dog whistle. A compelling foe. But I’m making progress on my screen time.

Meditation works for some. Not me…yet. Zenning out takes a little coaxing. So I walk. Doodle. Write. Sing, Garden, Yoga, Dance. I often use my body as a tool to free my mind. 

Then the thoughts flow. I feel the feels. I get ideas. Solve problems. 

Backyard photo expeditions are powerful Zen triggers.

Zooming in on winged miracles with my camera. Observing. Staying silent. Allowing my mind to buzz along with the bees. 

Do you create space to space out? How do you answer when boredom knocks on your door?

Maybe you need to schedule your annual mammogram.

Photography note: I could have watched the little bird build its nest in my front yard for hours. And choosing a “Bushtit” seemed appropriate for a post about a mammogram.

Writer. Photographer. Future Master Gardener. Artsy miid-life mama planting seeds for the second half.

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