The act of being bored

I don’t know how to let myself just be bored anymore. Does anyone with a device? I mean, precovid anyway, I could still visit my mental luxury island and add more things to it when I was in a boring, no-need-to-really-pay-attention meeting or conference where it would be rude or frowned upon to be on a device. Add a new cabana. Redo the tree set up by the lagoon where I like to imagine my hammock. Hire a cabana man. Change his hair 17 times and his outfit closer to 70 times. Build a mental resort for one. Add a boat to go fishing on. Go have a mental swim in body temp water and float on my back with gentle waves. See… no device needed to cure that boredom. But devices make it so.much.easier. To just check out mentally now. But it’s like flatlining my thinking entirely as opposed to the creativity required for building my imaginary island. Um, and I kind of have a problem.

Photo by Maksim Shutov on Unsplash
Image of hammock between tropical trees with blurred rocks and waves in the distance.

You see I excel at avoiding boredom. To resist ever feeling that way. I read. A lot. Now, is reading evil and a waste of my time? Of course not. Is reading the volume of the types of low-to-no brow level material that i read a great use of the finite number of minutes and breaths I get in this life? Yeah, probably. Reading to not be bored, for me, is different than reading to stimulate my brain – to learn or to feel creative. I settle into a good, life-avoidance, gluttony of reading until I’m late for things. Unenthusiastic about doing things in real life. Trading off sleep and real recharging for wallowing in a sea of unreality.

I resist feeling bored. I resist it in such an epic way that I avoid applying for jobs I think likely to lead to boredom sooner rather than later. I choose not to go on a date or meet up with friends if I think there’s a decent likelihood I’ll end up bored because, hey, I know my fav boredom remedy will be better than what’s on offer if I go out.

I used to be able to be bored. To lay on a blanket in the grass with some music in the background and just let my mind go blank. To soak up the warmth of the sun and think of nothing. Just notice the heat on my skin. The sound of the buzzing insects. The feel of a gentle breeze ruffling my hair. The distant noise of kids playing. Just be. I could do that for a long time too. Now I go lay in my hammock for about 3 minutes before I reach for a device to read a book or a story and escape. Soon it’s like I’m not even laying, swaying in the hammock. Like I don’t exist at all. The absence of me.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Image of a small, black pug dog laying on a bench with an arm dangling off looking bored

So I’ve been experimenting and applying for jobs that aren’t about what I think I’ll hate and like Absolute stillness. It’s good for the mind and heart.

I think I got this way because devices and 2021 and ease of consumption but also because when you’re deeply unhappy with your life, the absence of you starts sounding pretty good. My married years are my lost years. The unhappy years. The misunderstood years. But the joke is on me because some of the survival skills I acquired unknowingly for those 14 years stuck with me. Powerful skills I perfected over the years that no longer serve me. But I turn to them blindly, unconsciously. And I tend not to live now. In the moment. I don’t feel now. In the moment. I don’t even recognize these moments of a void until well and many hours or days into these moments. And that’s a real kick in the pants to someone who has said they want to live, period. Let alone wholly and freely. 

Seeing this now, I’m asking “what else am I missing out on?” since I resist being present. And it starts from a place of boredom. Did I not apply for a job I might have really loved because it had too much contracts time or needed more FinTech CLE? Did I really choose not to see some friend and engage in person because I thought we might talk about the same things again instead of being ready to introduce new topics?

I’ve been seeing random things about being bored recently, and I’ve been reminded how much creativity can come from boredom. Dreaming. Building. Hoping. Sitting with myself and accepting me, my life, my choices. Dialing into the things that sound interesting or scary but worth trying. I’m re-learning how to get comfortable with being bored again. I miss dreaming me. I actually miss my extravagantly planned Boredom Island. I’m going back.

One comment

  1. Oh yeah, I’ve been exploring boredom lately, and also my inability to address it with a phone. I want to be more acquainted with it, to be able to embrace creativity once it hits, but boy can it be tough. Anyway, thanks for this post!


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