I am bored when I am driving to and from work. When I’m folding laundry. When I’m in the shower. When I’m waiting in line at the store. When the tests are running at work. When I’ve run out of stuff to read on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. When I’m watching tv and it’s not particularly engaging. When I’m at home alone.
When I’m bored but have access to my laptop/phone, I do a lot of superficial stuff like buying things, checking Facebook, responding to easy emails, reading short articles, etc. When I’m bored and I don’t have a device in hand, my mind wanders and comes up with all sorts of creative things. I used to have a long drive to work, and every day, I would come up with a new short story. Most of these creative thoughts get shoved to the background when I’m busy.
It’s hard to let myself be bored these days if I’m not in one of the previously stated situations. It seems easier to ignore the real things and hang on to the clutter in life. I engage my mind with activities that do not add much to my life — in fact, things that I probably won’t remember a year from now. Even worse, I feel like I am so busy, but I don’t feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. It’s so hard to break away from the easy patterns of turning on the tv or checking into social media. I’m looking for inspiration through a variety of fiction and nonfiction books. I was lucky to be inspired to write a blog post a week (thanks, Craig!), but I feel like that’s the tipping point for me.
Boredom for me is an honest and self-observant place. It’s a fearful and fearless place where I can see that I am not living up to what I want but can also see that the world is completely open to me. I hope it will become a trusting place where I can be assured that it’s good to be bored sometimes.
4 thoughts on “A short thought on boredom”
This is what I use exercise for – I’ve noticed that, when I’m swimming, the first 10 minutes are used to think about what’s on the top of my mind (which then goes away), the next 10 minutes are less focused (on whatever is going on that day), and any time after that is free time for solving my actual problems 😉
(I do realize that after 10 minutes of swimming you’d have drowned, so I recommend a different approach for you 🙂
If I try to think about anything other than swimming during my swim lessons, I do tend to somehow fall out of the water… But one day!
We really are the same person. You can tell Nick he is right. I did this: http://www.wnyc.org/series/bored-and-brilliant/. Thought you might enjoy the challenges and the metrics. It was a really fun process and helped me be more conscious of how boredom helps me process.