When I was a child, I remember complaining about being bored during Summer vacation. Usually followed by a parent ushering me outside. “Get outside and play!” my mother or grandmother would yell as they shoved me out the door.
The thing is, you don’t hear this as much anymore. Are kids not bored anymore?
Present day, as an adult – it seems like none of us have time to be bored! We lead busy, active lifestyles that don’t allow for idle time. Plus, every free second we do have, our closest companion – the cell phone - is right there making sure we don’t have time for our minds to wander.
This is concerning.
Let me tell you why. Think back to the last time you were bored. A time where you sat idle, sans phone, computer or any other electronic device. What happened?
Your mind wandered
Your imagination started creating
You stared intently at one object, studied every detail
Thought on something you’ve been avoiding
Solved an issue that’s been bothering you
Prayed for or sent good energy to someone
Made up a new song
Came up with the best idea ever…
Instead of having idle time, nowadays we whip out our phone to fill a void, to kill time or not feel awkward being alone while waiting for a friend.
And when we do this, disregard that time in between, we miss out, on all the wonderful things that happen when we have a free moment. We miss out on a time for our brains to work, we miss out on connecting with others and we miss the time to feel that old childhood boredom…
Challenges for you:
The waiting game
Next time your waiting for anything, whether it be a friend, at the doctor’s office or your coffee at your local coffee shop. Don’t immediately take out your phone. See how long you can go without grabbing for your “life line”. Maybe the first time you only can go one minute. Maybe the next day you go two. Before you know it – you’ll be chatting up the barista, discovering the amazing artwork by local artists hung on the walls or making a connection you maybe would have never.
Turn off your TV
Mindless TV watching robs you of your precious time, even your time to do nothing. Trust me Housewives of Potomac will still be there when you’re done with my little experiment.
Free time here, get ya free time!
Now I know there’s usually not a lot of free time to go around. But the next time you think you can sneak a few minutes. Just do NOTHING. ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY NOTHING! Go lay in the grass. Sit and stare. Let your mind just wander…or wonder. ;) Gaze, daydream, linger.
One of my favorite Italian sayings is “dolce far niente”, it means pleasant idleness.
The idea that “doing nothing” is actually an event in and of itself is a foreign concept to most of us.
But how different would your quality of life be if you took advantage of idle time to be bored or savor the sweetness in the delicate details of real life, this natural world swirling around us.
When all that artificial noise fades away what surfaces can be truly amazing.