“If you’re bored, you’re stupid.”
My gran was a lovely lady. A tough, strong woman (she had to be; she raised 16 kids. Yep. 16.) And she loved me deeply. How do I know this? At about 80 years old, she chased me around the house with a knobkirrie because I told her that her wrinkled eye made her look like the dinosaur from Jurassic Park.
That earlier quote is one of hers. She meant it, too. Her logic – as she spelled put one day when, highly offended, I asked what she meant – was that boredom came from a lack of intelligence; an inability to think of something with which to entertain oneself.
I guess, in a way, she’s right. But if she is, then I guess I’m stupid.
Recently I’ve found myself being bored way more than I really should. I’ve found other ways to say it, of course. “In need of an adventure.” “Disinterested.” “Uninterested.” You know the words. You’ve used them, too.
It’s weird though, because I have no reason to be bored. I have an amazing wife. I have a great, and varied, group of friends. My family is great. My job is endlessly exciting. I’m back playing the sport I loved growing up. But I feel bored. Often.
Then I came across this from The Guardian:
It amazes me when people proclaim that they are bored. Actually, it amazes me that I am ever bored, or that any of us are. With so much to occupy us these days, boredom should be a relic of a bygone age – an age devoid of the internet, social media, multi-channel TV, 24-hour shopping, multiplex cinemas, game consoles, texting and whatever other myriad possibilities are available these days to entertain us.
Yet despite the plethora of high-intensity entertainment constantly at our disposal, we are still bored.
It continues that – and here’s the part that resonates with me so deeply – one of reasons that we’re so bored is that our entertainment comes largely from our screens. TVs, phones, tablets, computers. Even when we’re with people we’re often on our phones simultaneously, or watching something. Our lives are accompanied by screens. And therein lies the problem.
All this is simply becoming boring. Instead of performing varied activities that engage different neural systems (sport, knitting, painting, cooking, etc) to relieve our tedium, we fall back on the same screen-tapping schema for much of our day. The irony is that while our mobile devices should allow us to fill every moment, our means of obtaining that entertainment has become so repetitive and routine that it’s a source of boredom in itself.
Does any of this matter? I think it does. And for me, it matters enough to require some change.
Here’s my grand plan: Time out.
I want an hour each day to do nothing…productively. I want to chat to my wife, walk my dogs, visit a friend. Whatever. Just an hour of productive nothingness that’ll get me away from my device and closer to the people and things I care about.
Plan two is variety.After all, it’s meant to be the “spice of life”, or some clichéd tomfoolery like that.
I want to change things up; do different things. They don’t even have to be major. Maybe I’ll read again (I’ve slacked so badly, with the only reading I do right not being for work). Maybe I’ll go to the golf driving range. Maybe I’ll…I don’t know. But once a week I want to do something different.
I probably won’t get this right every day and every week. I won’t fail this week because it’s our wedding anniversary on Wednesday and we’re going on a day trip. So this as good a week to start.
If you’re bored by this blog, that’s cool. I don’t blame you. After all, it’s not the first thing you’ve read on your phone today…and maybe that’s the point.