The Boredom Experiment

“Boredom: the desire for desires.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

Last week I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Dan Cumberland, creator of The Meaning Movement.

Dan asserts that our mobile phones may be keeping us stuck because they are always there for us; we have lost the ability to be bored, to have free time that encourages the mind to wander, feel difficult feelings and dream about our goals and values. Basically, boredom can be an opportunity. This is pretty radical! Read the post here.

Prior to reading this post last week, I knew that the upcoming weekend had little scheduled  for me and my list of “must-do’s” was relatively short. An open schedule like this is extremely rare and it felt a little uncomfortable. I found myself wanting to fill the days, to plan up the weekend.

After reading Dan’s post I decided to leave the schedule open. I told myself not to fill in every moment and to allow boredom to settle in, if it should show itself. I could not remember the last time I felt bored.

“Boredom is… a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.” ~ Bertrand Russell

I would love to say this experiment was a smashing success.

Actually, I found myself feeling like I was forgetting something, feeling that I should be doing something productive, and feeling like I was missing something by not checking my phone every 5 minutes.

On Saturday, I shopped for spring clothes, dusted the house and swept a couple floors, working at the most relaxed pace possible (read: slow), and was finished by 2:00 pm.

My husband was out all day so I couldn’t look to him to fill my time. I read a book, looked through a magazine, and thought about topics for blog posts. This free time didn’t exactly produce boredom but it did produce some sort of anxiety about not doing more.

Scheduling time to relax, knowing that I will take an hour at the end of the evening to enjoy a book or watch a sitcom on TV, creates for me a satisfied contentment. But free time, purposefully unscheduled time on a Saturday without apps to distract me, left me feeling unsettled, in a knot. I will try the experiment again, try to allow boredom to come, meditate on it and allow myself to just be.

I wish for all of us some unscheduled time so that we remember what life was like before our apps.

Make it a good week!

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2 thoughts on “The Boredom Experiment

  1. I too struggle with a little knot of anxiety when I try to truly relax. It’s a challenge for me because I feel like it sometimes goes against my motto of living life to the fullest…like I am maybe missing out. I’ve found that it’s all about balance…a little time for being out and about embracing life, and a little time for myself embracing the little things as I recharge for my next adventure.

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