The Luxury of Boredom

Hey you, yes you, are you bored right now? No? Well, have you been bored in the past 48h? Chances are, unless you’re extremely busy, you’ve felt some kind of boredom recently. And yet, I’m willing to bet that like me, there are movies you’ve never seen, books you’ve never read, games in your library collecting dust. So, how can we bored in a world where information is constantly available? It feels like the more information we’re given, the easier it gets to feel bored.

Technically I could argue that no one can be truly bored anymore, not in this age at least. You’ve got a week off of school? Well, you could always become an expert in cat behavior on Youtube, perhaps you could learn to build a mini crossbow? Alright, so maybe you can learn to do these things, but you don’t want to, fair enough. I feel the same way too sometimes: I could complete next week’s essay… but come on, I’m not that bored. But then if you refuse to try things that you don’t want to do, some people might argue that your boredom is minimal.

To an extent, I think that the sensory overload that is this new digital era we live in is partially to blame for this type of boredom. We have an infinite amount of options to the point where choosing one single activity to do becomes hard. It’s overwhelming to live with a massive databank of knowledge at your fingertips. Let’s say you’re bored and someone tells you “How about finally checking out Game of Thrones?” But you’ve already seen other fantasy series and movies– you know what to expect, it won’t be fulfilling to you since you’ve already been exposed to similar pieces of media, after all.

When I was a child and I was bored, I remember trying to find ways to entertain myself, creating new stories or new scenes with what I had in my toybox for the time being. Perhaps I was more effective at chasing away boredom as a child because the world was so new, and every day I found out more amazing things about how the world works. Although I’m no longer a child, I have noticed that when I’m bored, jumping onto Netflix or Youtube isn’t always the solution, why? Because not much of it is just that “novel” to us anymore. If I can find the motivation to clean the house or do something productive, I think it definitely does a better job of curing my boredom than watching random aquarium videos at 2am.

I remember once asking my grandmother what she did when she was my age and she was bored. She had a very busy childhood, with her studies and spending all the rest of her free time helping to run the town’s shop. Her response was simple “I didn’t have the time to be bored.” Now that the world is becoming increasingly digitized and more and certain tasks have become easier, it’s possible that the digital age has lead us to the “luxury” of being bored. After all, if we are bored now, it means that we have no tasks that are so pressing that they require our immediate attention.