I was never, ever bored as a child—or so I told my parents.
You see, we were raised on the belief only boring people get bored.
Anytime I’d grow close to lamenting boredom to one parent or the other Id quickly remembered this fact.
I imagined what their cure to my boredom might be.
I feared what project or chore they’d offer to lessen my current state of restlessness.
Invariably something–ANYTHING–I’d create for myself would have a larger element of fun and a smaller level of work or educational value.
The majority of the time this realization was enough to stem any tide IM BOOOOORED whining, prompt me to turn inward, take matters into my little misfit hands and get creative.
Somehow I’d forgotten this this childhood lesson when I headed off to NYC with the Tornado a few weeks ago.
I had meetings.
We had fun outings and meet-ups arranged.
I had a secret (from her) plan to allow myself to grow wholly, completely and utterly bored.
Bored bored bored in the city that never sleeps.
(A lofty goal, I realize, with a constant-motion seven year old in tow.)
I’d spent the past seven years being focused, present and mired in my childhood state of resisting boredom at all costs.
It had been decades (four?!) since I’d experienced pure, unadulterated boredom and the “dullness” I made time to experience in NYC rocked
- I was prepared to be bored. I was excited to be bored. I longed, at the first sign of slow-down-in-activities-what’s-next?, to sit and embrace the sensation. I paid attention to how my body felt in those moments. I noticed what my thoughts & immediate instincts were. I listened to what my body said (dont slow! go go go!) and ignored the temptation of action and movement. I was eager & ready.
- I seized the boredom to reflect and think. I make time each morning for silence and meditation. During those morning minutes I work hard to empty my mind. As a result, it’s occurred to me lately how little time I spent on reflection. During these times of boredom I took the opportunity to look back. Way back. Before the tornado back. I spent time thinking about where Ive been, where I am, and where I want to go.
- Boredom sparked creativity. Ahhh childhood lesson Id forgotten. At one point my boredom manifested itself in the fact I couldn’t find anything to read. As I clicked through Amazon unable to find a book I grew bored. Soon I began to think about what I wished were available for me to read. Starting down this path of thinking drew me away from purchasing & toward plotting a new manuscript. A plot so convoluted I may never write it—but allowing myself to be bored offered the freedom my mind needed to be crazy creative.
- Boredom relaxed me. Boredom made me tired. I think allowing myself boredom actually resulted in better sleep. Boredom gave my mind the gift of wandering and the result, surprisingly, was a more relaxed body as well.
As you might imagine, my experience embracing amazing, decadent boredom resulted in more than a few Im boooorrrrrrred lamentations from the Tornado.
To my surprise she and I easily solved this problem—for the trip and at home—by starting a boredom jar. In the same vein as our fitness jar, we brainstormed ideas for fun projects when the dreaded boredom strikes. Everything from making a zoo with her stuffed animals to creating a family newspaper.
I, however, learned a great deal from slowing down and making time for boredom in my life.
I returned from NYC more in touch with my inner-self, more creative than Id felt in ages & refreshed.
I also returned from NYC committed to slowing down (even more) & ready for a life where busyness does NOT provide me an excuse to gogogo and avoid”dullness” whenever possible.
- Do you avoid the feeling of boredom at all costs?
- Are you, too, the product of the notion ‘only boring people get bored?’
- Wanna hire the Tornado to create a BOREDOM JAR for your children?