Boring people are bored.
The lovely Mrs. Betty Draper told me that. I know it comes from those times when advice was black and white – put a coat on or you’ll catch a cold, no pain no gain, respect your elders!
Of all the 1960ish life advice I agree with, Boring people are bored is kind of spot on. I look around at what we have today to distract us from our boring lives – Netflix, iPhones, Twitter – and I think about how we’ve forgotten how to to be bored with simple things: taking a walk, talking to our spouse, making dinner.
We can’t let those simple things be simple things without peppering in dopamine hits here and there.
I’m rarely bored, but it’s only because I keep myself busy. I’m a work-from-home parent of two boys which eats up most of my day. The few luxurious hours I get each day for myself are typically taken up by writing, reading, or exercising.
When I do have a few free moments – and I’ve had a lot more of those lately – I struggle. Time, to me, needs to be utilized or else it’s wasted. I don’t do boredom well, and I’m pretty sure a lot of other people don’t as well.
I say we give ourselves permission to be bored. Let’s make a pact:
I promise the next time boredom rolls around I’ll embrace it instead of shunning it.
I already tried it the other day. I sat in a chair. Just sat. No phone. No T.V.. I sat and stared at the wall.
I can’t remember the last time I did that.
Time isn’t always money
I haven’t looked at time the same way since I left my full-time job 3 year ago. Back then I received a pay check every other Friday no matter how much or how little I worked.
It’s different when you work for yourself.
When you work for yourself every hour you spend is either costing you or earning you. It’s a tough reality to live with. Especially when your kids want to play, Do I play and lose $100 or work and earn $100?
But I think I’ve been looking at it all wrong, or at the very least, I need to look at it from a different angle:
Not all time is created equal.
What do I mean by that? I mean we are all humans, we’re not machines that need to be left on and producing widgets at all hours of the day. Downtime for a machine is detrimental to the books. Downtime for a human is essential for survival.
Time isn’t always money, at least when it pertains to fleshy, warm-blooded, non-mechanical humans.
Give yourself a break. The machines are supposed to work for us. Not the other way around.
The phoenix rises from the ashes
If the phoenix rose from, I don’t know, a plush bedding of gold-shavings, the analogy wouldn’t work. From the discarded bits and burnt remains the phoenix rises and becomes its self once again.
As a creative, I need down days. I need days without output or productivity or inspiration. Every so often, I need to take a day, burn it down, and see what rises from it. I don’t know why it works, but it does. When I stop trying to force myself into creative work, creative work appears.
Even outside the realm of creativity I believe this still holds true. Sometimes I just have down days in general. I let it be. I don’t try to force it.
Instead, I see what rises from it the next day.