As you start this week, may you get bored. There’s something magical that happens when we intentionally shut off our brain for a short time, close out the calendar, and just… sit. Take in the moment around us. And not do absolutely everything in our power to be distracted by nothingness.
Now, I realize that many of us are parents, so you might be thinking, “Um, bored? How could I possibly be bored? I don’t have two seconds to myself.” I get that. I do. But if you’re anything like me, you probably still find ways to fill in the perfunctory gaps in your day—waiting in the carpool line, standing at the grocery checkout line, or those few quiet moments before you turn off the bedside lamp.
As a culture, we have such a hard time with doing nothing that many of us aren’t two feet away from a pocket-sized computer we call a smartphone, handy just in case we have to wait for anything. I’m right there with you. It’s a habit I’m trying to break.
I have a chapter in my book dedicated to boredom. In it, I mention that boredom is a relatively new concept. In the eighteenth century, no one was bored. If you were bored, you were probably on your way to certain death, because if you wanted to eat, you had to work. There was no time or energy to be bored.
But now, we are so used to being amused that we can hardly stand the thought of having nothing to do. Entertainment, in all its forms, is so easily accessible in our technology-soaked culture; we can hardly imagine a life where it’s not an arm’s reach away. My immediate reaction is to check social media or to pin stuff on Pinterest. It’s to clog my fingers and brain cells with busyness, or at least the illusion of busyness. Like, like, like, pin, pin, pin. Keep busy.
This week, may you begin it by slowing down and embracing a little good old-fashioned boredom in your life. You never know what you might notice for the first time.