One of the greatest assets someone can have is the ability to be easily entertained. I’m biased, of course, because I am among those fortunate souls who derive some amount of pleasure from just about anything.

It doesn’t always come naturally, though. Over the past year, I’ve had friends help me appreciate all aspects of life – even the boring or unpleasant parts. Our days are numbered, and we don’t get credit back for time we didn’t enjoy, so we might as well try to enjoy all of it.

I came across an excellent story about living intentionally – perhaps it was in a book or essay by G.K. Chesterton, but I can’t quite remember. But even while I can’t remember the author, I do remember that the story was impactful.

It was the story of a man who dwelt in a quaint little seaside village. Tired and bored to tears by the same old sounds, streets, and buildings he’d seen all his life, he gathered what money he had and bought a ticket to an exotic destination filled with marvelous sights – a land just brimming with adventure. Then, boarding his passenger ship, he promptly fell asleep.

Unbeknownst to him, a severe storm intercepted the ship not far from the coast, forcing it to turn back and dock at its port of origin just before daybreak.

The man rises, knowing none of this, but surmises from the sound of seagulls that the ship has made landfall. However, he incorrectly assumes that he has arrived at his destination.

Rushing to his porthole, he looks out in disbelief. This new place was even more beautiful than the brochures described!

Hurriedly disembarking, he wanders through town, admiring the architecture and craftsmanship of the weathered brick buildings. He watches the first locals begin their day and stops to appreciate even the smallest curiosities.

Not long after, the sun fully rises, revealing that he was home all along.

The story is much more compelling in Chesterton’s prose than mine, but the point survives. An exciting, interesting, and adventurous life is not handed to you. You must make it. Someone who truly wants to get the most out of life will, regardless of where they are.

Like most things in life, being excited and interested in our same old boring lives is a choice – albeit a difficult one – that begins by establishing a mindset.

“Choose not to be harmed, and you won’t feel harmed,” the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius wrote. “Don’t feel harmed, and you haven’t been.” He could have just as easily said, “Choose not to be bored, and you won’t feel bored.”

Living intentionally is hard, but like so many other difficult things, it is worth doing. Make time for whatever it is that puts you in awe or makes you pause for a moment of quiet contemplation.

When you’re stuck in the less glamorous parts of life, follow Aurelius’ advice. Our lives can be as adventurous and interesting as we make them. We just have to choose.

Nick Treglia is a first-year law student.

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