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Inch Closer to Occasional Boredom

Being bored all afternoon isn't helpful, but being bored for long enough to be guided by our solitude is helpful.
Inch Closer to Occasional Boredom

Boredom is becoming a hotter topic these days. Why? Because with phones and technology we almost never have to be bored. In line at the grocery store? Check an email. Dull moment in conversation? Check a feed.

Being bored all afternoon isn't helpful, but being bored for long enough to be guided by our solitude is helpful. With the allure of our phones and other technology, we rarely reach that occasional state of boredom where we can reflect and evaluate our feeling of boredom.

Boredom used to be a helpful and encouraging guide. If you felt bored anytime before the 21st Century, you had to deal with the discomfort of why you're feeling bored and reflect on what you could be doing instead. Those reflective moments of boredom would then compel you to do something (go for a walk, read, draw, write, clean) that would lead you away from boredom and towards intentionality and satisfaction until that process repeated.

Now? It's not the same. That loop gets short-circuited the second we get bored, because the second we feel that discomfort of boredom we can introduce novelty, whether that be a news story, an email, or a social media feed.

We can also choose not to introduce novel stimuli the second we get bored, we can instead inch closer to occasional boredom.

How do we do that? By experimenting. Try having coffee with your phone and computer in another room. Try spending five minutes with a pen and blank piece of paper. Take a walk without your phone. You may experience some boredom...what does that boredom tell you?

In a time of always-on connectedness, we could all use a little disconnection from technology and a deeper connection to the boredom that allows us to more deeply connect with ourselves and others.