Let us learn to be bored again

Some time ago I came across a New York Times article titled "Let Children Get Bored Again" by Pamela Paul. She argues that boredom allows space for creativity: "When you’re held captive to a mundane activity... you let your mind wander and follow it where it goes." She details how her monotonous job as a grocery store cashier compelled her to create fantasies and fascinating stories about her customers, letting her imagination run wild. Reading her article ignited me to ponder on so many issues. First of all, this strangely applies to not only young children, but college students as well.

Take a moment to think of what you did this week. How many times were you bored? How many times did you turn to your phone when you found yourself not doing anything? How many times did you feel the need to be entertained or engaged?

I am guilty of this. So much, to the point where I dread taking a nap because I want to avoid the awkward moment when you’re just lying in bed not feeling tired to fall asleep just yet. Reading a book doesn’t get me fully engrossed anymore. I realized I needed mediums that were more ‘interesting’ or ‘interactive’ -- such as videos or animations, not just a static, 2D surface in front of me.

“Every spare moment is to be optimized, maximized, driven towards a goal.” This sentence speaks to me. And I’m sure many of you will relate to this too. University life is designed for us to find ourselves -- our strengths and weaknesses, what environments we thrive in and the areas in which we struggle. However, it fails to allow us to step back and obtain a birds’ eye view of our circumstances. College very often revolves around studies, social life, work -- and the cycle repeats itself. When we get bored, we move on to one of the three components in that circle. And technology is our worst enemy.

Thinking about Paul’s article again, I realized that boredom trains us to be self-sufficient and unlock our creative side. Rather than escaping our 'suffering’ with technology and taking the easy way out, we should find other meaningful and healthier ways to cope. As Paul so wisely puts it, “Life isn’t an endless parade of amusements.”

This summer, take advantage of staying bored. Stay bored to practice self care: perhaps, getting less addicted to social media/tech gadgets/toxic internet culture. Stay bored to improve your physical wellbeing; straining your eyes less by not aimlessly scrolling through Twitter at 2am will definitely do you good. Stay bored to appreciate the little things in life, to thank God for all the blessings that have come your way. Or, as Paul advises us, stay bored to let your thoughts wander and follow where they go. You could very well meet the eccentric but weirdly amazing and creative side of you!

Maybe you’ll surprise yourself.

What will you stay bored to?


Images: 1, 2, 3