Boredom : the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.

I’ve been thinking about boredom as a general concept recently and the interesting thing about it is just how subjective it is. I’ve never been the kind of person to ever really get bored and sometimes it seems like Sylvia is seemingly able to get bored at the drop of a hat which is endlessly fascinating to me. I can only speculate on the vast number of factors as to why there’s the disparity in how we view & experience boredom, but when you get right down to it, boredom is anything but boring.

It is one thing to be weary or restless considering how easy it is to have a poor night’s sleep or to have a number of long work days without respite or any number of other reasons to be generally worn down. To be weary is to need rest or respite and to be restless would indicate to me that you’re anxious to move on to something else. I feel like there are all kinds of reasons why you could feel either weary or restless and it’s just a symptom of being an adult sometimes. You do what you can to move past it and get on with things, which tends to generally improve your quality of life.

Lack of interest on the other hand though is where it gets interesting. As much as I’m sure that the marketing gurus of the world out there would tell you otherwise, there isn’t really any easy way to quantify what is interesting or not. Interest is something determined by each person individually and if something is generally considered interesting by enough people, then it’s just considered “interesting” as though that means it’s universal or universal enough on its own. To some extent, I get it because otherwise we wouldn’t have memes or pop stars or the like. The whole concept of general group interest thinking is kind of weird and tends to make my brain hurt. The thing that’s hard to remember sometimes is that when you stop and think about what it is that’s interesting to you, it’s hard to remember you had a lack of interest in anything in the first place.

For example, say I’m at work and I’m not terribly interested in what I’m working on at the moment. Hell, I might even be weary and/or restless to get on with everything so that I can move on with my outside life. I could possibly be considered bored, but then I think about how Sylvia and I had been talking about going to a show or perhaps the movies and then I start thinking about that instead of what I’m working on. Soon enough I’m thinking more about what I’d rather be doing and will be doing later so that the general tarnish of what I’m actually confronted with at the moment tends to wear thin. How can I be bothered to be disinterested in what I’m doing when I have so much to look forward to?

Even in cases where there I don’t have something specific to look forward to, I can easily consider what I’d rather be doing and think about how to plan for that. In cases where even that isn’t likely due to time constraints, it’s not like there’s some part of the universe that says I can’t think about things I like anyway so maybe I’ll just think about a book I’ve been reading or an idea of something I’d like to write about or maybe a video game I’ve been playing or a conversation that Sylvia and I have had or…well you get the idea. I have so many things that I could be thinking about that when something uninteresting is going on, it’s easy for me to mentally take the uninteresting thing, put it down, and then pick up on something else that’s far more interesting instead. In a sense, I’ve somehow managed to figure out the mechanism to largely avoid boredom entirely.

Now that I’m writing about it, I’ve realized that I think part of the reason why I like taking care of tasks such as cleaning and organizing is that they’re perfect opportunities for me to unpack all the interesting things in my brain and work through them. I’m not focusing on how shiny a dish is as I wash it or how much dirt I’m picking up with the vacuum cleaner as these are things you can easily see once the work is over. While I’m working on chores, I’m thinking about whatever else it is that I want to be thinking about. Boredom averted!

That’s not to say that I don’t get bored though. It’s just particularly difficult for me because I have to simultaneously be disinterested in what I’m doing as well as have nothing else I’d rather be doing or thinking about. I think when that happens, that’s when the weariness and restlessness happens and some serious boredom can kick in. The funny thing is that when it happens, I’m generally aware almost right away that I’m bored and that tends to kick me into a cycle of, “damn, I’m bored. Why?” Then my brain spins up and I get distracted by some thought or another and I’m suddenly not bored again.

As thankful as I am for my ability to largely sidestep boredom, I’m always asking why and how I’m like this to begin with. I’m sure some of it has to do with genetics, but I usually tend to center on my childhood as the biggest likely factor. Growing up, there wasn’t a lack of toys, but there certainly wasn’t much to actually do and there were inconsistent numbers of people around to generally converse with. I might be at a big shindig with all my mom’s family one day and then at my aunt’s with nobody around the next. I’d hang out with my dad on the occasional Friday night only to be left to my own devices on Saturday while he was at work. I’ve never resented or blamed my family for the way I grew up as I think they unintentionally gave me the tools and scenarios I needed to really question whether or not I was going to be bored by a lack of stimulation and to develop the mental tools that allowed me to effectively choose whether I was going to be bored or not.

While I almost always come to this conclusion, it’s never the only one. I think another big part of it is that I’m generally curious about basically everything and man oh man is curiosity a good shield against boredom. Granted, curiosity is a big part of the reason I’ve mentally compiled a huge list of totally worthless facts over the years, but that’s a completely different can of worms.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: