Among the people who come to see me at my office, sometimes there are those who complain that their daily lives are too uneventful and boring. Of course, they come for some other reason, like insomnia or irritation, but the cause of those symptoms seems to be in their "uneventful" lives.
Once, a woman who was approaching her 50th birthday had this problem. She told me, "Both my children are adults, and my husband is hard-working, but our conversations lack a little in excitement. After five years he will retire, but he apparently has no plans for after that. When I think that maybe my life is going to end like this, I feel suffocated. Every day is just a repeat."
I suggested she find hobbies or volunteer, but she turned those down, sighing and saying there wasn't anything in particular she wanted to do. To other people it would hardly look like the woman had something to complain about, but she was serious.
This "every day is the same" complaint, though, can easily disappear. People who were affected by the recent Kumamoto Earthquake are saying on social networking services how they wish they could return to "a normal life." I have seen an online comment that said, "I'm not asking for something special. I just want to wake up in my house, go to work, come home, eat and sleep. While living at an evacuation shelter that kind of lifestyle seems like a dream."
If the people writing things like that saw the complaint of the woman who came to see me, they would probably want to say to her, "What are you talking about? There is nothing as wonderful as regular everyday living."
However, people are troubled creatures, and while in times of disaster they may think "I would be thankful for a regular everyday life," once their situation settles back down, they quickly start wanting this and that again.
Of course, it can be said that it is because people strive so much that our society has come this far, but the problem is that we feel dissatisfied when our wants aren't met. The woman who complained that everyday life was boring thought that a life full of change was more valuable than what she had. Dissatisfied with her life, she was stressed.
I hope that, even if people desire more, they will be able to convince themselves that the regular life is wonderful and that there is satisfaction to be found there. This is obvious, but we are quick to forget it. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)