Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Boredom is for People Who Lack Imagination

On Facebook recently, a cousin of mine posted a status update about being bored. Another person on my list who is a teenage girl (the daughter of a family friend from church) also posted a status update in which she said that she was bored and wanted someone to tell her what to do. When I read that, I was stunned. "Who has time to be bored?!?" I can't remember the last time I was bored. Probably not in the last decade, or even two. Life's too short to be bored. I'm stunned that anyone would want to post such a status update, because they are basically telling everyone on their list that they are boring people.

I'm not sure if I was remembering a quote or if I thought it up myself, but whenever I hear people moan about being bored, I have always come back with this response: "Boredom is for people who lack imagination." Its true. If you are bored with your life, it means that you are likely entertainment and activity based. I know people who always keep busy because they are afraid of a moment where there is nothing. Maybe they are afraid to face whatever demons they want to avoid. Some people really don't like to sit still at all and just think. Since I think all the time, I actually like it when I have nothing of importance to do and just sit still and clear my mind. In fact, some of my favourite memories in life have been the time when I've sat and done nothing but watch the sun set into the ocean, or birds playing with one another, or people watching. A friend of mine in France often says in his letters to me: "I have no time to do nothing." That phrase always makes me laugh. I guess what he means is that he is so busy, he simply does not have time to sit down, relax, and just observe life. I'm sure that he never gets bored, though.

Since I personally know the two people who posted that they were bored, I can attest for one of them (my cousin). She's not what one might call the intelligent type. She's just a typical lower class redneck, living on the margins of poverty. She looks forward to going to bars to drink and sing karaoke. I like her older sister better because at least she's hilarious (her sense of humour is very sarcastic and her mannerisms are a lot like the Joan Holloway character on Mad Men). I never hear her say that she is bored. Well, as a teenager, she did a lot. I can understand, though. As a teenager, there were times when I felt bored. My dad's response was always: "Read a book!" I wish I took his advice. I didn't really get into reading until 21. Maybe the smart gene kicked in then (I'm such a late bloomer in quite a few areas of life). As a teenager, every time I would sit and read for an hour, I'd start to get a headache. The other problem I had was that I didn't know what I liked. My dad had quite the selection of books, especially all the classics in leather-bound editions. If I could go back in time 25 years, I would definitely spend more of my summer vacations reading those classics, rather than watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island, Charlie's Angels, The Brady Bunch, and my mom's favourite soap opera: The Young and the Restless. Yeah, I was young AND restless.

With adulthood, though, I noticed that time seems to go by much faster than it did as a child. I know this is not possible, but its what Albert Einstein talked about when he mentioned his theory of relativity. Because we have lived longer and have more to get done in a 24 hour period, time appears to go by much quicker than it does for a child or teenager. I remember when my mom used to make me practice the piano for just 30 minutes a day. It felt like forever! Now, if I were to write in a journal, those 30 minutes would not be enough time for me, because it would feel like five minutes had passed.

Because I am too interested in far too many things, I'm learning that I simply don't have enough time to devote to all my interests. Something is going to have to give if I seriously want to be in a relationship by year's end. I need more time for the purging of my things...the challenge of my summer. Because of the long list of things to do and the limited free time I have, it does annoy me when I read on Facebook that people are bored. I wish I had the time to be bored. But when I read such status updates, I want to ask, why are you bored? Are you incapable of using your time properly? Do you need to be entertained all the time? (Even entertainment can be boring, though). Or as that teenage girl said, do you really need someone to tell you what to do? What a sheep! Baaaaaaaaaa! How about take the initiative? Find out what you're interested in. Learn something new. Let your imagination run wild!

In some personal ads, I've noticed quite a few ladies who indicate that they are bored. To me, that's such a huge red flag. If they are bored, it really means that they are boring people and I would not want to be in a relationship with someone who got bored too easily. It likely means she would expect the guy to "entertain" her all the time and if he needs to devote attention to his other interests, she'll get bored and lonely. I seriously do not understand people with this affliction. If one gets bored easily, then the cure truly is to pick up a book or log online. The more you learn, the more you want to learn. Self-education in whatever topics interest you actually has the benefit of making you a more interesting person. Gaining knowledge is cheap and easy in our Information Age. Its so amazing to me that there are people out there who would rather whine about being bored than taking the initiative to cure that mental disease once and for all. I can attest that since the age of 21, when I started a regular reading schedule, I have become insatiable regarding the attainment of knowledge. I'm like the robot Number 5 from Short Circuit who speeds through books and says, "Need more input!"

As the picture above shows: STOP BEING BORING! Expand your mind. You'll never be bored again if you follow your passions.


T said...

Good one, Sansego. I agree complettely. I can't recall the last time I was bored. Hmm, maybe when I was a kid in catechism class. Ok, I confess. That was boring.

pat m said...

As long as there are books to be read...I will never by bored. The problem is I read 350 page book I can read in 3-4 days. I just finished ken Follets book...Pillers of the earth ...over 900 pages in two days.

Sansego said...

Why would reading fast be a problem? I wish I knew how to read fast! I'd love to be able to read a 1,000 page book a week or less.

Matt said...

I've often wondered about boredom. I'm from quite a small town (population 6000) and one of the most frequent complaints I heard amongst my peers was 'I'm bored', often followed quickly by a condemnation of my hometown because it offered nothing to do. Well, I was lying awake just now and for some reason started thinking about boredom once more, I've always been at a loss to define it, I think perhaps because I'm not particuarly familiar with it. Well, the phrase 'boredom is simply a lack of imagination' popped into my head and for a few moments of sleepiness induced idiocy I thought I might have been the first to think such a thing! I checked the internet and found this page and realised that I am a fool sometimes.

That aside, 'tis a great post Sansego. For someone who only started reading at 21 you write very well. I am completely on the same page as you regarding your bemusement in the face of bored persons. My question, though, is are we overlooking something important about boredom? Although it seems so obvious that it could be alleviated just by doing something, even though my hometown has a 'lack of things to do' I ended up learning how to juggle 5 balls. There is always something to do. I have this sneeking suspicion, however, that boredom may well have some important social function, what though I still am at a loss to discover.

Oh, by the way Pat M, I'm really sorry to say this but your comment is just plain absurd. You imply that you might run out of reading materials? There are far more words out there than nanoseconds in a lifetime. Also, a fixation on reading fast I tend to find to be rather a limitation on the enjoyment one derives from books. I too once counted down the pages to the next chapter, but I have found that trying to absorb and enjoy each sentence improves the reading experience infinitely. It also helps the book to stick better in memory. Of course it could be that you can indeed absorb an entire 900 page book in 2 days, in which case I apologise for my criticism, and even find myself slightly jealous!

Sansego said...

Thank you Matt, for your post.

I don't think even I "coined the term" of boredom being for people who lack imagination. I'm not sure if you heard the Pet Shop Boys song "Being Boring", but I thought they did an excellent job expressing what boredom is.

I guess I should mention that I learned to read in elementary school, but I did not really love reading until 21. I would often start books but never finish them. I'd lose interest 1/3 of the way through and just forget about it.

Not sure what age you might be, but I think its mostly young people who get bored. Time plays tricks on us. As an adult, I've noticed that time seems to fly by much quicker than it did when I was a child, teenager, and young adult. I wish I had the time to "get bored", but I'm always trying to cram as much into a day as possible.

Adam said...


Just to make sure - it is ok that you choose to use my image "Stop Being Boring". But it is published as Creative Commons, which means that you can only use it if you credit me with the image. So I would appreciate if you credited me - and linked back to me. If you have any questions to this you are free to contact me at or find me on G+

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