Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How do you decide whether your life is interesting?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) May 7th, 2012

I know for me it’s all social. I make my life interesting because I want people to listen to me because when people listen to me, I get some validation and then I feel like I matter.

It really doesn’t matter what happens in my life. I can make it interesting by telling a good story. If I tell the story well, then I have an interesting life. I could tell it badly, and the same life would be boring.

So it’s up to me to decide. Do I want an interesting life? If I do, then I tell it interesting. If not; if I’m depressed or suicidal or whatever; then it is a worthless life, not worthy of being interesting; not worthy of a story.

I want an interesting life, so I tell it interesting.

How do you decide if your life is interesting? How do you make it interesting?

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23 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

I’ve always thought that it mattered more to be “interested”. Not that I’ve always succeeded in that endeavor, but that’s been one of the goals.

My life interests me; whether it interests anyone else isn’t important to me now… maybe if I try to write an autobiography I’ll change my mind.

jca's avatar

Others make that decision. It is what it is, and to some, it’s probably somewhat interesting. I know that lately it’s more interesting than it used to be. However, to some, it’s probably very boring.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I think that “interesting” is subjective. What makes my life interesting (to me) may not be at all interesting to someone else.

How do I make my life interesting? I am interested and curious about life, people, places, things. That really helps. It’s difficult not to be an interesting person…if you are “interested” in life. For me, it’s not about “telling a story” (though we all do it in different ways) for me, it is living the story…or interacting with others living their story and finding out why they live it the way they do.

What makes my life interesting? Being interested. But it may not be interesting to others…it is to me, though. I think that is what counts.

wundayatta's avatar

When I said interesting, in this case, I mean interesting to you, not to others. How do you decide your life is interesting? This is probably something you’re not aware of making a conscious choice about, and yet, it seems to me that it is not a given that you think you have an interesting life.

bkcunningham's avatar

By the people I meet and the stories I hear.

Salem88's avatar

Catch 22 I see.

Coloma's avatar

Well..I’m all about story telling and my life churns out plenty of zany stories. Interest is subjective. I don’t tell my silly stories for recognition or validation, I tell them because I am a comedian at heart and I have some damn funny ones.
Like waking up to a frog on my pillow and rescuing a giant Alligator lizard stuck in a drainage hole in a stack of flower pots with Astroglide. lol

My micro-farm generates it’s own stories and I am just the conduit.
The latest humor comes from my monster cat “Myles” in my avatar who is picking up slugs on his humongous fuzzy belly now that summer is near. Nightly slug checks, c’mon…nobody could make this shit up, I live in a Farside cartoon. :-P

Salem88's avatar

Just like the fluther logo says,“Everybody is an expert at something.” ....I like people. They fascinate me and delight me. They teach me and torment me.
Can’t think of anything more interesting than meeting a new person or catching up with an old friend.

Coloma's avatar

@Salem88 As long as the torment is balanced. lol

Pol_is_aware's avatar

sitting here, floating over various memories, searching for one specific answer is pretty interesting. surely not for anyone else—they may be waiting for a reply and bored meaningless—but its my experience.

Sunny2's avatar

I think it has to do with the opportunities that have come along and what decisions you made regarding them, plus what engages your fancy. Interesting is not the same, nor even necessarily a factor of, satisfaction with your life. Maybe the question is, interesting to whom?

augustlan's avatar

A lot of my life has been a little too interesting, if you ask me. Mostly, I had nothing to do with that. Weird and bad things have happened to me that I had no control over, and some of my reactions (which I do have control over, now) have been pretty darn interesting, too.

At this point, I find my life interesting because I am interested in it. It’s largely just mentally interesting, though… learning new things, making new mental connections, having new thoughts and ideas, etc. If my brain starts letting me down (more often than it already does), and not allowing that kind of thing to happen, I’m going to be bored pretty darn quick.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think my life is interested when I am engaged and have motivation to keep doing what I am doing. When I feel like I can’t be bothered, or what I am doing is irrelevant to me or anyone else, then I am not stimulated to keep doing it. I do need to keep finding new challenges. It might be doing the same thing I usually do but finding a new way to do it, or doing it with different people. I am a curious person so as long as I keep saying “I wonder why that is?”, “How/Why did that happen?” I am interested.

Am I interesting to others…? I don’t really worry about that.

thorninmud's avatar

There’s an important distinction to be made between “life” and “my life”. “My life” exists only in story form (this seems to be what you’re asking about). “Life”, on the other hand, has no narrative and belongs to no one; it’s just this living reality.

“Life” is intensely interesting. “My life”—the story featuring me—is just a mediocre work by a minor talent, hardly worth the telling. It lives up on a high shelf. Every now and then it gets pulled down. It naturally falls open to the few passages that might hold some interest to some readers. Then back on the shelf it goes.

wundayatta's avatar

@thorninmud And how does the book know which pages to fall open to? Which ones will be of interest to other readers? How do you make that choice?

Your life is intensely interesting to you. It seems to me that if you wanted to, you could share that interesting stuff with others. But many of us edit so much out. “Oh, that’s not interesting.” “You wouldn’t be interested in that.”

I hear people tell me that all the time, and I’m not quite sure what is going on. I know I would be interested. I am interested. So I think they are either telling me they don’t want to share, or it is possible that they truly believe it would be boring to someone else. But mostly the feeling I get is that when someone says their life isn’t interesting, that means they don’t want to share. It’s too private.

Sometimes it is a fear of boring another person, and of course, it is possible to bore others, unless you know how to tell a story. If you can tell a story, you can make anything interesting.

OpryLeigh's avatar

If I am doing more things that inspire me than not then I consider it interesting. At the moment I am enjoying the fact that I am getting closer to my career of choice, that inspires me. I am also inspired by my love for my boyfriend, certain friendships and fun (mostly active but some more relaxing) plans I have for the near future. These things, to me, make my life interesting.

Salem88's avatar

Perhaps some people were taught to “look both ways before crossing the street, Don’t run with scissors,” etc. I once had a very intelligent friend who had no interest in social networking (not even Facebook!) Stumble across a Google site that made her curious.

So she logs in just to check it out, and enjoyed all the different intelligent viewpoints. She said it reminded her of her college days when every Thursday night, her Circle of Friends met at nice outdoor cafe. There they formed their own Algonquin Table. The bond/band they formed was like a family and ALL that entails. trust, sharing, caring, laughing, crying…..—...You can fill in the rest.

Just a couple of days after logging in to the new website, other users started mentioning her real family’s name, occupations, etc. So she just played along trying to sniff out the Truth. Hell, she even asked an administrator in a PM. They laughed at her ”paranoia” . So she, naive she, thought it might be wise to ask a new “friend” for advice on tech problem but she had to click on a outside link.

After that, BOOM!!!! Her computer turns itself on while laying on table few different times, has turned itself off once, her browsers have been pirated, and received lovely Valentines.

Now she feels like Lancelot Link. When I told her maybe it’s just her inexperience with new tablet, she replied, Don’t think so, my husband saw it too”. Now both of them worry about their phones, bank accounts, etc. My wish is that someone on that site will prove that’s she is wrong.

So currently, my interest is helping Dorothy Parker start writing again -

thorninmud's avatar

@wundayatta “Your life is intensely interesting to you. It seems to me that if you wanted to, you could share that interesting stuff with others.”

But it’s the ongoing shared experience of living that is intensely interesting, not the story that I spin about it. If I were sitting in an audience listening to Mahler’s 5th symphony, I wouldn’t feel inclined to reminisce to my neighbor about the wonderful performance of the Eroica that I heard last year. Even if I were to artfully whistle a few bars of it to add interest, it would still be, at best, quite beside the point.

I feel the same way about life. This present shared experience is where the interest lies—this passage of this symphony. I don’t feel that I can add much by talking overr it.

wundayatta's avatar

@thorninmud But then you’re sitting around the dinner table with friends, and someone asks you if anything interesting happened in your life. Do you say, “No.”? There are times, I assume, when even a Buddhist finds it appropriate to review the past. Where being present is being in the past, sort of.

thorninmud's avatar

@wundayatta That really doesn’t come easily to me. I admit that there are some social situations where it would be wonderfully useful to be able to pull out a repertoire of stories. I fail pathetically at that.

When I do look back, I find that there’s very little archival material there. Memories require maintenance, and I’ve consulted mine so infrequently that atrophy has taken its toll. Some folks tap into their memory storehouse to nourish their sense of identity, so all that history feels vivid, relevant and personal. It gets quite a workout, so it sticks around and stays fresh.

My memories have lost their smell of me-ness. Whoever I my be, all of those snippets of the past will have little to say about it. There may be a little useful information about the world in there, maybe a little entertainment to be had, maybe some flutherable material, but only very marginally relevant or personal, and certainly not vivid.

It’s been a choice, I guess—a choice of where to invest my identity. The more I invest it in the protagonist of my stories about the past, the more interesting stories I’ll have to tell, and the greater enthusiasm I’ll be able to muster for the telling. But I’ll pay a steep penalty for this in the currency of freedom.

wundayatta's avatar

@thorninmud Could you explain that last a bit more. What is the penalty to your freedom that you incur when making up a good story about your past?

thorninmud's avatar

@wundayatta The loss of freedom isn’t incurred in making up a good story about my past. It comes from believing that they’re really about me, that I am reducible to this story character. Then I begin to think in terms of “my life”, as if a present-moment incarnation of the lead actor in all those stories is now engaged in penning the next chapter. “My life” then looks like the work of creating this story arc, constructed around this little guy.

Freedom requires taking leave, to a large extent, from this little guy and his stories.

Paradox25's avatar

The term interesting is a subjective one. Only I can decide whether my life is interesting, not other people. I consider something interesting because I find the things I enjoy doing interesting. I think what tends to happen alot is that we usually listen to others telling us what we should or shouldn’t be doing, and when we put how we want to be perceived by others ahead of what we really want to do then problems arise.

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