It’s been quite a long time since I was properly bored. I remember being a kid and staring mindlessly at pictures, yawning and scratching my head, fiddling with anything in near sight. To be perfectly honest, I sort of miss that today. But that was a long time ago, before smartphones and adulthood and before a productivity obsessed age . While my phone is the most interesting thing on the planet now, adulthood and its crazy obsession with productivity robs me of any real opportunity to be genuinely bored. It’s been an astonishingly long time since I sat down with nothing but just my thoughts as entertainment and stared out the window.
I’m not alone in this. In fact, all of us are a lot less bored than our ancestors, thanks to the myriad forms of entertainment at our disposal today. We are even afraid of it. Being bored makes us feel unproductive and as if we are missing out on better, more ‘fun’ things to do and so we avoid it at all costs with a vigorous pursuit of entertainment. The upshot of being less bored is very problematic. We are always searching for getaways from reality, as if the world around you now, free of any duties, is not exciting enough. We find it hard to sit with stillness. You know what? I miss staring out of the window. Whenever I do, there’s this toxic narrative that plays inside me telling me there are a lot of other things that I should be doing.
However, staring out the window was probably the most meaningful thing I’ve done over the years. It was less about what was outside than it was about what was in me. To sit and observe the thoughts coursing through my head taking me to a dead past and a non existent future was the most meaningful exercise I’ve done in discovering myself. In fact, my new year’s resolution is to stare out the window more. That’s right, I aspire to look out the window more. While this might seem the most laughable resolution to this productivity obsessed age, small exercises as these are our only hopes of relying on ourselves for entertainment. To stir the contents of our mind and cook up the most delicious dreams is certainly more purposeful than scrolling away mindlessly on Instagram. Not only does this render us more creative, it also helps us find cure for many sleepless nights. Keeping brief appointments with the neglected parts of ourselves is really important to keep our heads healthy. Plato suggested a metaphor for the mind: it is full of ideas like birds fluttering around in the aviary of our brains. In order for the birds to settle we need periods of calm.
When we bow to this creative potential of reverie, some of our greatest insights unfold in front of us. Indulging in boredom is a silent rebellion against the ex
cessive demands that this world imposes on ourselves. Isn’t understanding ourselves the most important task in the world anyway? We are all junkies high on pixels, blue lights and glowing screens. It’s time we instead resort to the multiplex cinema screen of avantgarde videos in our head and resist the absent minded busyness that is offered to us as our smart phones.