The Joy of Boredom

The Joy of BoredomMy entire life, I’ve always tried to avoid being bored. It’s an unpleasant feeling, something to avoid. But nowadays, boredom has become increasingly scarce. Our smart phones make it easy for us to be constantly entertained, much to our detriment. With that in mind, I’ve started to embrace this maligned emotion and realize the joy of boredom.

Here We Are Now. Entertain Us.

Boring situations are nothing new. There’s a reason that waiting rooms usually have magazines. However, the invention of smart phones has changed the way we wait. With the entire internet in your pocket, there’s no need to cart around a book or newspaper. There’s always something there to entertain you. This is a positive thing in many respects, but it also has its downsides. Sure it’s nice to have any book, article, movie or TV show available on demand, but I think there’s more to it than that. If you look at people compulsively checking their phones, their not reading Charles Dickens. They’re checking Facebook. I know I am, at least. Soon you’re checking your phone while waiting in line at the store or sitting at a red light. In our modern digital age, you have no excuse to ever be bored, and that’s a problem.

Background Thinking

The human mind is deep and complex, and our conscious thinking is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s a reason people say, “let me sleep on it” when pondering a big decision. There’s something about relaxing that helps you think. But relaxation is boring. When I was a kid, I never wanted to take a nap, because the waking world was so interesting. Like any toddler, I craved stimulation. It was only when I got older that I realized that I have better ideas after I relax, meditate and/or sleep. Much more recently, I realized that I feel better and think better when I’m not constantly checking my phone. It turns out that, while my conscious mind is idling in boredom, my subconscious is churning away, thinking of new ideas and finding beauty in the moment. This, it would seem, is the true joy of boredom.

What do you think about boredom in the Age of Distraction? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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4 Responses

  1. Look at the body of evidence ammassed over years that shows the harm sensory depravation, i.e. solitary confinement for long periods. It causes permanent changes in the brain, specifically with impulse control and social skills. Boredome is just a slice of that pie.

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    […] ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.” Inevitably my dad would take the lead, only to get bored around 11. Then he’d parcel is money out to the person in last place, keeping the game going […]

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