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Saturday, September 2, 2017

I want my boredom back

I thought I was one of the few people who had it down pat. I rarely look at my phone when I’m having a face to face conversation with someone. I don’t have the urge to scroll through my Facebook feed. Nor do I have the urge to post about everything I do. But, I’ve found myself grown addicted to something else that only my phone can give me. An escape from silence, from boredom, from the freedom that only “having nothing to do” can give me.

It creeped up on me slowly. I didn’t realize it had taken over me, controlling what I see, hear, and feel, almost every second I’m awake. But I suddently realized that I was trying to fill every silent second with something, anything. When I got into the elevator, the overwhelming silence during the 10 seconds it took to go up to my floor was too much. The walk from my room to the laundry room couldn’t be done without the company of music played on my phone. The ride on the Underground to work definitely needed a background noise to escape from the uncomfortableness of riding on the tube. Boredom had to be annihilated.

And it’s not just me. We are growing and living as generations who are afraid of silence, afraid of boredom, afraid of the thoughts — or lack thereof — that would come if we were to just be. To absorb in the sensory inputs of our surroudings rather than that of our phones. To engage with the people around us rather than with the virtual personas on social media. To be grateful for every second that we take a breath rather than to wish the time to go by faster until the next gratification.

So what? I’m concerned that if we continue down this path, we’ll end up nurturing generations who will have forgotten how to be humans. As the most social animals on planet Earth, we rely on social interactions to build trust, to learn, to find meaning, to discover the treasures of the world.

But, if we move on towards the path of self-imposed isolation in the real world, we will find ourselves with higher tendencies towards anti-social behaviour and increasing dependency on external valdiations.

We will lose the creativity and the inspiration that can only come during moments of boredom. During moments of when we have nothing to distract us, except the ingenuity of our minds, of our ability to think, to self-reflect, and to explore with the limitless capabilities of our imagination. These are things that are unique to humans. Yet, we’re simply throwing it out like last week’s leftovers, or sidestepping it like a skunk on the road.

I want to unshackle myself from the virtual and psychological chains created by my phone. I want to to retain my humanity before it becomes lost in the Cloud. I want reconnect with my physical surroundings and the people around me. I want my boredom back.

What steps are you taking to get your boredom back?


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