For the first time in a long time, I was bored.
On the train home today I felt bored.
I’ve been a long-time fan of web developer Brad Frost, and his ‘about’ page used to say:
Not once in my entire life have I ever been bored.
I liked it. I liked it because I felt that in some way I could relate. I was passionate about so many things like dancing, music, photography and web design, had many interests that could have my attention at any time they pleased, and I always had something to do.
Coincidentally, perhaps, after hearing a SydCSS talk about how technology makes us fear boredom and intimacy – I sat on the train, bored.
That was exactly what we collectively fear. What I fear. I fear running out of things to do, but I didn’t realise until I was sitting on the train with nothing to do.
But it’s not so much that I had nothing to do. It was that the environment I was in limited what I wanted to do, or felt like doing. I had read all my messages on Slack, I had replied to all comments on my blog, I had read all blogs in my feed reader, read all my emails. I even read everything on my Twitter feed and had a few conversations. I even scrolled through my Instagram feed.
So I sat there bored. I couldn’t do much else without my laptop. I had no articles bookmarked to read. I reviewed the day’s events in my head. I started thinking about tomorrow’s tasks.
But after that, I didn’t even have anything to think about.
That was when the fear settled in. I didn’t like this strange feeling of being bored – something that I had not felt in a while. Sure, in the past year I’ve said a couple of times, ‘I don’t feel like doing anything. I’m bored’, but it was a different kind of feeling. A lazy, can’t-be-bothered sort of feeling.
But now I was feeling an uncomfortable restlessness to do something, but I didn’t have anything I could do. At least not comfortably in the environment of a moving train.
It’s times like these when I think that I should think about nothing.
Times like these would be perfect times to meditate and empty the mind.
Rather than being bored, I embraced it as a moment of life that just happened to be paused.