Friday, September 25, 2009

Boredom: The Springboard of Imagination and Creativity.

"A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life."
~ Charles Darwin

Lately, on Facebook, I've seen several status updates from friends saying something to the effect of, "I'm so bored." I'll be frank here: Initially, I get slightly annoyed and frustrated because I begin to think of all the things I could do if I just had more time.

To me, "being bored" means that you can't think of anything worthwhile to occupy your time. So I start to think of all the projects that I have waiting to be completed, like compiling all my mission letters into a book, scanning all my mission photos (since I didn't have a digital camera then), cleaning out and organizing my storage in the basement, denim quilts, a t-shirt quilt made up of all the old t-shirts from camp and other activities I've been involved in over the years, keeping in touch with old friends, simply going grocery shopping, or finishing basic household chores.

I could go on and on. And this person is bored???

Despite my initial irritation with that phrase, I don't believe that boredom should be thought of as a 4-letter word. Out of boredom springs creativity, curiosity, and great amounts of imagination. But if you didn't learn how to entertain yourself as a child, then being bored as an adult will carry with it many burdens.

Creativity, self-reliance, self-direction, problem-solving — all of these skills are the hallmarks of a successful adult. They are also all strengths that children can learn through play and finding their way out of boredom.

So are you reading this, as an adult, and thinking... "Wait a minute, but I DO get bored." Does that mean something's wrong with you? No, but it may mean that you didn't successfully learn how to cope with boredom as a child. And let’s face it — coping with and finding your way out boredom is a life skill that everyone should have. So why not begin to foster it now?

Now, we could certainly have a discussion about OVER-booking our time, or over-stimulating ourselves, or filling our time with "useless" things, but we'll save all that for another day. I'm not encouraging you to over-stimulate yourself or book yourself busy every minute of the day or be plugged into something at all times.

Being alone with your mind can be enough. This is not wasting time. Relaxation and "me time" is vital. We begin to realize that our minds are powerful and can be quite entertaining! God gave them to us to use. So let's really stretch them to their full potential! It's a liberating feeling to discover that you have everything you really need right at your disposal.

Now, if your mind can't entertain or enlighten you, then I would suggest teaching it a few new things. Read. Meditate. Invest in an education. Talk about ideas with others. Get outside and see the world. Stimulate that mind, so that when you and it are alone, you will never feel "bored".

As Dorothy Parker once said, "The cure for boredom is curiosity." Your mind is capable of a lot. Just see what it comes up with and then go for it. Try something new!

Be curious! Cultivate the skill of coping with boredom. It CAN be done. And help your kids to learn it too. They'll thank you as adults.


Kimberlee Koplin Mills St. Clair said...

I completely agree. And I frequently tell my kids if I here that word, I will help them...with chores, homework, etc. They have learned that they have more than enough "stuff" to keep busy. However, I do have to say that trying to stay away from being bored while confined to my bed is terribly hard...but, I brought up my sewing machine, some movies, a few good books, and most days, I can keep pretty occupied. In a few more weeks, I'll probably "wish" for bed rest while I'm busy learning (again) about the demands of a newborn...BTW, Linsey is currently in "pushing" mode at the hospital...I CANNOT believe my baby sister is having a baby...what is the world coming to? Her name, McCartney Sue (as in Paul...the Beatle, my mother's love) My mom even suggested that she would appreciate me naming my baby "Lennon"....Oh mom!

Lydia said...

Thank you. This post was inspiring to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm bored.

eclaires said...