The art of being bored

“I’m bored!”

Parents, how many times have you heard this?  Even if you’re not parents, sooner or later somebody will (perhaps grudgingly) temporarily entrust their tiny offspring to you for a while.  And they’ll probably expect you to entertain them.

There are tons of parenting articles on the pros and cons of constantly being right there with the kids versus letting them play and grow on their own.

This is not one of them.

I’m talking about, as an adult, the ability to be bored.  To embrace it, to cherish those moments when you just don’t know what the hell to do with yourself.  Within reason, of course.  If this is your daily standard routine, then you probably just need to get a hobby.  I’d suggest model rocketry.

I pondered this after reading an article on the internet the other day.  Obviously, it had to be true, so I took it at its’ word.  Even if it wasn’t, it was still a great thought experiment.  The story is of a former Marine who’s sitting in the outer office of a random employer waiting on a job interview.  Everyone there with him waiting to interview has their faces plastered to their phones.  He, however, has been through the gauntlet of mind games the military loves to play on people, so he just sits there and takes it in; he’s learned to just be bored, to sit there and wait.  He makes eye contact with the office staff, smiles at people walking by, etc.  The story goes that he gets the job because he seems more personable, but that’s not the point.

When was the last time you daydreamed?  Just stared out into space and wondered…

-What superpower would I love to have?

-if Q from Star Trek offered me omnipotence, what would I do first?

-Why did all the critics bag on ‘Solo’ so much?  I loved that movie!


In any case, you get my meaning.  Maybe the brain needs a little idle time in the day.  Maybe we don’t NEED to be constantly stimulated, to know what shocking thing this guy saw in his class photo that changed his life forever, or to see fake spy photos of the new Nissan Skyline.  Our brains evolved just fine all these years without having an electronic device plugged into them; we can just chill for a few minutes a day.

So try it, really!  Next time you’re on the bus, waiting to be seated at a restaurant, in line at the movies, etc.  Just look around and see what you can see.  Maybe you’ll learn something.  Maybe you’ll see enough evidence to become convinced human civilization has peaked and there’s nowhere to go but down.  Either way, you’ll add something to your day!

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