Life is Boring, Yet Profound

Blueprint Series #2

A Personal Note

If I cannot be brave with my body, I shall be brave with my words.

That thought popped in my mind a few months ago as I was grappling with the ‘acceptance’ part of my debilitating injury, and realizing what the rest of my life might look like (and not look like).

For those catching up: I had a no-fault car accident in 2021 that injured my foot, and after 4 surgeries, I can bear weight on my heel and putter around slowly with a limp and mild pain for short distances.  But true walking can be excruciating–so I severely limit my movement, and when out and about I now use a cane to “push off”, as well as to signal not to bump or jostle me as I’m fairly unstable; sudden movements or shifts in weight can lead to extreme pain.

I can share more about all that later. 

I bring it up here because I have historically been a very active and adventurous person.  I was often bold and rough and adventurous with my body, you could say.

Laying my first brick in 2015—after returning from Uganda with the Peace Corps. Neither would have been remotely possible in my current condition.

Now, that is no longer an option.  Yet, I still feel that same call to adventure, to practice courage, to explore and to discover. I cannot do that very well in the physical world anymore, or at least right now, so I must do it instead with my mind and my voice. 

This thought quickly led me to realize how often I don’t speak courageously out of some sort of fear.  I hold back.  I avoid more vulnerable topics and stick with the “intellectual stuff”, and I avoid exploring things I’m not certain about because I could look stupid.  

As I was writing the second post I realized I was falling back into the same pattern with this Playbook–exploring the what and the how, but not the why. It’s scary because I don’t know the answer, I only know where to start.

The question that I need to explore answering is this: What does it mean to be human?  What does it mean to live a rich life?  What do “flourishing” and “thriving”, terms I throw around a lot, actually mean?

I believe we first have to understand who we are if we want to cultivate a habitat that truly supports us.  Everything else flows from that. The buildings, after-all, are just physical manifestations of the underlying values that went into them.  They represent our answers, at least in part, to the above questions.

And that’s just it: the problem doesn’t start with the buildings.  It starts with us. I think we’ve forgotten who we are, at least in certain respects.  And our habitat, our towns, neighborhoods and cities, are just reflecting back our confusion.

The following is my first entry into this exploration.

Life is Boring, Yet Profound

In a world driven by complex systems and processes, rushing towards efficiency and perceived convenience, I wonder if we've overlooked the profound depths of human complexity and experience.

The most compelling stories, the ones that resonate within our souls, tell tales of deeply complex people yearning not just for food and shelter, but for wonder, adventure, beauty, meaning, belonging, and deep relationships. They depict people risking it all to fulfill these yearnings.  Even when there isn’t actual magic in the story, we feel the magic of human pursuit and achievement—burdens born nobly, obstacles overcome, inventions created, monsters slain, relationships restored.

Those stories are meaningful to us because they help shape our own arcs of meaning in our lives. They inspire us. They give us hope and vision. They make us feel something. And occasionally, they shake us from our everyday stupor and cause us to act. 

But life isn't a two-hour movie. It's a 700,800 hour movie if we live to be 80, and it plays out a hell of a lot slower than on the big screen. There is a lot of space between the "highlights" that make up an engaging story. A lot of boring, humdrum, daily life sort of space.

We are physical creatures who have to spend substantial amounts of our time and resources on simple "maintenance" in order to survive: sleeping, eating, discharging, bathing, exercising, appointments, laundry, cooking, cleaning, chores, work. There is no getting around it: normal life is simply kind of boring. That's why it's normal.

But beneath “normal” flows an undercurrent of profound meaning and magic—a grand adventure that lies just beneath the surface, ever-present, inviting us forward and into deeper levels of engagement, connection, appreciation, mastery and meaning. I think, in some ways, we are all meant to be adventurers, whether we are accountants, doctors, moms or builders. It just looks different for different people. It's called living

The problem with a "boring life" isn't that it's bad—even though we tend to judge it that way. The problem is that boredom can lull us to sleep;  it can dull our senses and our awareness of something deeper: the invitation to the more meaningful story playing out in the background. We can miss the movie arc, the actual story and adventure that is life when we get stuck surviving, checking off tasks, going about our daily maintenance routine with our head down, numbed by the monotony of it all.

The antidote is not to make life endlessly exciting. We can't, of course. But even if we could, our bodies aren't meant to stay in a state of perpetual excitement. Stress and excitement have similar physiological effects, meaning perpetual excitement would kill us rather quickly. Literally.

No, the antidote to boring isn't excitement. It's something far deeper.

Join me next time as we keep exploring!

Premise #1: Life is boring.  The general human response to boring is to disengage, pay less attention, and to pursue excitement as the remedy.


Podcast of Month: Huberman Lab Podcast: Robert Greene: A Process for Finding & Achieving Your Unique Purpose. Wow. This was a good one. Took me a week to finish as I went through slowly. I found it inspiring, thought-provoking, insightful, exciting and encouraging all at once. I put in my calendar to listen to again in a year. If you are wondering how to access more meaning in your life, wanting to find even deeper purpose, how to tap into the adventure…I highly recommend.

Health Exploration: Molecular Hydrogen. Ari Whitten of the Energy Blueprint talks about this, but I will admit I don’t read/listen to him directly very often, but had this tip passed onto me from my sister who follows him closely. We are all experimenting with this as it’s quite cheap, appears to have pretty amazing benefits, and no side effects. My wife is due with our 2nd baby in March 2024, and with our first her blood pressure spiked and she got Preeclampsia. Among other things, hydrogen is supposed to help with that. So far her blood pressure appears to be doing better!

House Health Tip: Install an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERVs). Rather than me explain, just watch this 8 minute video of a good builder discussing. In short: it’s a whole-home filtration system that exchanges indoor and outdoor air, filters it, and “exchanges” the heat for minimal heat loss. With our toxic environments whether it’s from our homes themselves or just the furniture and things we put in them, our homes can be very toxic. An EPA study discovered indoor air quality can often be 5x worse than outdoor air quality in urban environments. Insane! This is especially important if you live in a new house, which are far more airtight, AND have more chemicals involved in their construction. We do this on new construction homes for around $4,000. A retrofit will be more, but 100% worth it in my opinion!

Content of the Month

Check out this full walk through of our latest home finished in Wheeler District.

Listen to architect, urban designer and expert Anthony Catania discuss building places for people on my podcast. Also available on Spotify and Apple!


Thank you so much for joining me on this journey.

Please subscribe if you have not, share, and shoot me a message if any of this stirs up a thought!

Until next time,

Austin Tunnell2

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