Are You Bored or Boring?

Gratification in an instant! This is the new expectation. If it takes more than 1.2 seconds for something to materialize, we are already bored. It seems that everyone has been looking to fill their time lately with the constant adjustments to what we can and can’t do out in the big wide world. Over the past few years, we have been told to stay home, limit contact in this way or that, and to do more activities that keep our germs to ourselves. For some, this has been a huge challenge. Boredom is on the rise.

Winter has set in across our country, with harsh reminders of nature’s power. We are limited. Keeping up socialization and finding activities of value can be such a struggle these days. Young adults and singles of any age have found it difficult to mingle and date. The elderly, who maybe didn’t get out much anyway, have been further isolated. As parents, we have struggled to keep kids occupied with wholesome and worthwhile activities. Do you feel like the entertainment committee in your life?

Growing up, when we complained we were bored, we were always met with the same retort: Only boring people get bored. Our father’s words became ingrained in us and created a lasting perception of personal responsibility for our own joy and amusement. “It is not my job to entertain you; develop your talents and entertain yourself” was his message. Not only that, but the amount of enjoyment we derive from any task, is up to each of us. Our interaction with our reality is influenced by our own perspectives. Just as nobody else is responsible for your happiness, nobody else is responsible for how bored you may feel.

The next time you feel boredom creeping in, try making a list of places you want to go and research them. List some interests or hobbies you wish to develop. The changes in how much we are able to interact with other humans can make us more complacent and frustrated. But it can ignite within us some motivation for a new challenge, developing a new hobby, or engaging in a project like a remodel.

About a year into the pandemic, my shut-in grandmother was getting Meals on Wheels brought to her door. During a visit, she showed me a flyer from Meals on Wheels, detailing some ideas for seniors to keep from getting bored at home. She could hardly contain her amusement as she laughed and asked me, “Who are all these bored people out there?” She literally could not believe people needed to be given things to occupy them! Having just recovered from a serious fall and five months with a halo attached to her skull the year before, she was happily using her time to her advantage. But this is how she has always been. Among other things, Grandmother reads about places she wanted to visit, learns how ex-pats are getting along in other countries, and works on learning Spanish.

You may think to yourself with these familial examples, that keeping boredom at bay is just in my DNA. I assure you it is not. Anyone can shift their perspective and be more productive and satisfied. It is certainly wonderful to have some down time and to veg out, so to speak. This is different from the nagging, distressing and restless feeling of boredom. If you make more out of your time and develop your own interests, you will never have to be bored again.

Jessica Sheehan

Jessica Sheehan is a columnist, bestselling author, and a freelance writer with bylines in everything from Top Talent Magazine to USA Today. She is a ghostwriter, and managing editor of bestselling books for Top Talent Publishing and for indie authors around the world.

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