Boredom

I can’t remember ever being bored. When I was a child, I must have been bored at least once. Maybe I said the word but didn’t mean it. After all, a lot of people talk about being bored, especially children.

In an interview, the teenage pop-singer songwriter I admire the most even mentioned being bored. I was surprised. How could anyone as talented as her be bored?

Looking for a reason why people get bored, I looked up the definition and the first one I found offered no help. The first definition was “The state of feeling bored.”

Huh?

I wondered if the person that came up with that one was bored when they wrote it, so I found another one, and Merriam-Webster at least tried to come up with a more interesting one.

“The state of being weary and restless through lack of interest – the boredom of a long car trip.”

I can’t remember ever being bored on a long car trip. My legs and back get stiff. I might get sleepy, but never bored. The scenery grabs my attention. It doesn’t matter if it is in the mountains, desert, farmland, a forest, there is so much to see that I’d rather let someone else drive so I’m free to explore with my eyes, and I always take audiobooks on long car trips and the stories keep me focused and awake because I want to find out what’s happening to the characters in the stories.

The video above mentions one writer who said, “Boredom has historically been an important source of creativity, well-being and our very sense of self.”

After hearing that I thought, maybe I’ve been bored but didn’t know it.

That’s where my overactive imagination comes in. When there is nothing else to do, my imagination fills the empty time with amazing or frightening stuff. Then I have my woodshop with all those tools and the house I’m renovating.

As a child, when I had nothing else to do, instead of sitting around complaining about being bored, I went outside and let my imagination carry me away to other places and times. I literally became a time machine where I could become anyone I wanted to be at any time in history, even the future.

Scientific American says, “There is no universally accepted definition of boredom. But whatever it is, researchers argue, it is not simply another name for depression or apathy. It seems to be a specific mental state that people find unpleasant—a lack of stimulation that leaves them craving relief, with a host of behavioural, medical and social consequences.”

The narrator in the video with this post also said, “People who are often bored are at greater risk of developing anxiety, depression, and drug or alcohol addiction; displaying anger, aggressive behavior and lack of interpersonal skills …”

After reading the last two paragraphs, I was glad I never feel bored.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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9 thoughts on “Boredom

  1. Gates and the Zuck are playing teacher again: https://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Gates-Zuckerberg-team-up-on-new-education-project-12898003.php?utm_source=sfgate&utm_medium=hp&utm_campaign=hpsci

    On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 8:25 PM, Lloyd Lofthouse wrote:

    > Lloyd Lofthouse posted: “I can’t remember ever being bored. When I was a > child, I must have been bored at least once. Maybe I said the word but > didn’t mean it. After all, a lot of people talk about being bored, > especially children. In an interview, the teenage pop-singer songwr” >

  2. I never get bored. I watch the clouds or the birds from my window, or read a book, or cook something, or work onmyphtoos…
    However, what bores me to tears is the conversations ‘out there.’ that reveal the enormous ignorance. I just cannot listen to another person spit the memes that have ended our democracy.

    • I understand. I went to a theater to see a film last Wednesday and I had a short conversation with the person inside who took half of my ticket. He’s an older man. I don’t remember why I mentioned this quote, “I’m a stable genius” to refer to Trump without using his name. This older man mentioned Obama as if it was Obama would said, “I’m a stable genius.”

      I said no, that’s something Trump said. Obama never said anything like that about himself.

      His reply was, “How could you say that. Trump is doing so much for this country.”

      Do we blame idiots Hannity and Fox and Friends for this level of ignorance?

  3. I get bored frequently. I’ll admit that. But as you say, Lloyd, there’s always something to do and somewhere to go. Maybe some have both the “gene” for boredom and the “gene” for motivation to do something about it. Or maybe it’s a learned technique. Thought you might like this particular article: https://www.wired.com/2017/01/clive-thompson-7/

    • I liked that piece … two types of boredom, one good; one bad. I think I have the good boredom but don’t know it is boredom because my imaginaiton just kicks in when I have nothing to do and I seldom have nothing to do. In fact, it is often challenging to do everyting I want to do. Sometimes I’d like to have four arms and another head (one set facing the other way) so I could do two different things at the same time.

  4. I, too, have no notion what boredom is. Can’t say I have experienced it, and I don’t really understand people who do. Those who do experience this often tend to be pretty unobservant and ignorant.

    • It’s as if they are missing a gene that cripples them causing boredom. People that complain they are bored have always baffled me. Life and the planet we live on are full of things to do and places to go. And there is so much to learn, that it is impossible to learn it all in ten lifetimes.

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