Why are we bored?
Being bored always has such a negative connotation to it, but perhaps we’re not looking at it in the right way.
We’re dissatisfied with being bored, because we think that we should be doing something else and be totally productive 100% of our time awake.
Why the heck are we always trying to do stuff when we should just .. do nothing?
Like hamsters on a wheel, we’re pedaling furiously but going nowhere, fast.
From young, we complain about being bored — “Mom, there’s nothing to do!!!”
Then we get a snappy reply of: “Nothing to do? There are dirty dishes to wish if you’re interested!”, at which point it was wisest to shut your trap and run away.
I soon learned not to say there was nothing to do, and occupied myself with finishing homework ahead of time, playing the piano or reading.
Photograph I took of my family piano
Now as an adult, tasks like doing the dishes, vacuuming and cleaning, doesn’t bother me.
I’m not in love with it (except cleaning my wardrobe), but I don’t think it’s the end of the world.
It’s something that occupies my hands in a menial but physical task, so that my brain is tricked into thinking I’m being productive.
It satisfies that desire in me to be useful all the time, so as I wash dishes, my brain lets my mind wander and relax.
As I relax, I dream and sometimes come up with the best solutions to my problems at work or in life.
Other times, I start reviewing back over things I have to get done to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
More often than not, that boredom helps me process everything and to help organize and plan what will happen in the future.
Sure, that sounds more like putting a burden on yourself than enjoying the boredom, but it’s a way to stress and worry over things, and then let it go instead of letting it build up, unresolved in our psyche.
Being bored is not a bad thing, it’s only bad if we don’t know how to use it productively.
Or worse that we try to cram it full with playing with our smartphones, watching TV, or doing stuff that makes us FEEL productive when we aren’t doing much at all.
(My brother is the King of pretending to be productive.
We can be in the same room, having a conversation and he’ll feel this impulsive need to whip out his smartphone to check… whatever he’s checking in the middle of a conversation.
It’s like we can’t stand or sit still for more than 15 minutes without checking what everyone else is doing.)
So lie down, stare at the ceiling, keep a notepad and paper beside you and let 15 minutes do its work (if you happen to nap, 10 minutes is the optimal time for the most relaxed and recharged nap you could take).
We should learn how to be alone, be bored, let our mind wander and stop trying to search for connections with others for no reason other than to check in to see if they remembered that you’re alive….. every 15 minutes.
I mean, what did cavepeople do before smartphones? NOTHING.
That’s exactly my point — it’s that’s how they discovered fire and invented the wheel.
(I’m sure it was out of sheer boredom.)
Instead of waiting for life to happen, and forcing it out of your smartphone or TV, why don’t we let life happen?