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.
I hate that bored feeling. I don’t crave to fill every second of my waking hours like some people do – I can happily sit there and do nothing until I figure out what I want to do next. If I’m on the bus and I’ve read everything on social media and there’s really nothing left, I’ll daydream. I usually daydream about the guy I like at the time haha! I come up with all these scenarios in my head. Makes the trip go quicker XD
Lol I realise how contradictory I sound – I hate being bored, and yet I can sit happily doing nothing?! hahaha… What I mean is, sometimes I just lie on my bed or on the couch and daydream and have time to think, and then I’ll get up and actually do something. But if there is really nothing to do, then boredom is annoying!
I am a very fidgety person so when there comes a time where I have nothing to do, I get restless and tad crazy. I have to do something, otherwise I have this weird feeling of being useless. However, I too realized I can use that time to just meditate a little bit. It helped a lot with the anxiety towards doing nothing. It’s a great feeling, actually.
I hate that feeling of bored-restlessness. I think it has to do with the limited feeling you mentioned. I just feel like I’m missing out on an opportunity or I just can’t figure out what to do. My biggest fear is that I’m wasting my time doing something when I could have been doing something I love and maybe haven’t discovered instead.
That said, there’s beauty in those moments where you can start appreciating the way the sun hits the leaves on the tree outside. Those moments you can’t catch on camera but will forever be ingrained in our minds.
I love this post. It is so simple, yet it dives so deep. I love your outlook of life being on “pause” for that train ride. Yes, it may happen again and it can be used to just reflect and appreciate all that life has brought.
I have been exactly the same! Normally there are a lot of things to do in the day, and a few times when I have finished absolutely everything and have nothing left, it feels so strange. I don’t know what to do with myself. It is such a weird feeling and it can take you over, so I just try and breath and focus on doing something creative so I have some direction.
Love that last line. I think the fear comes from fearing stagnation. A desire for motion. Kind of ironic you felt that on the train. ;)
While talking with my counsellor about how I get calmed by ticking clocks, she had me focus on the space in between the tick-tock. It was so, so weird. It was a tiny space of… nothing, basically. There was no movement, nothing happening, nothing to be done.