“I’m bored.” 

P’s discovered boredom—and she doesn’t hesitate to let us know it. We tell her we’re going grocery shopping. “Ugh. It’s so BORING.” We tell her it’s time to brush her teeth. “That’s BORING.”

It makes us a little crazy—because we’re bored too.

I don’t need to tell you about all the mundane, day-to-day, bullshit that fills our waking hours. You know exactly what I mean. And what do we, as adults, do about all the boring crap in our lives?

Not much. Most of the time, we’re staring at our phones like zombies.

Nobody told us growing up would be so monotonous. Nobody told us that eight hours “for us” between work and sleep would be consumed by commuting and chores. Nobody prepared us for an entire universe of interesting—if not sensationally banal—information in the palm of our hands.

I don’t want my kid to grow up thinking tiny screens cure boredom.

The opposite is true. Tiny screens entrench boredom.

Time is all we’ve got. Let’s use it.

Next time my kid says, “I’m bored”, I want her to pick up a book or make something—and that means next time I’m bored, I need to pick up a book or make something.

Habits aren’t really boring; just bad habits.

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5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Boredom is a flavor of dissatisfaction and I think a strong argument could be built that dissatisfaction is the most powerful motivator we have. Dissatisfied with small morsels of food we fashioned tools to take down large prey and the rest is history.

    The problem of dissatisfaction becomes one of learning how to use it as a tool instead of trying to make it go away by clicking something. Learning to just accept the first available distraction on offer is how you wind up addicted to shit and that’s no way to live.

    I think the answer lies in learning what you’re capable of. That won’t stop you from being human and feeling dissatisfaction but I think a life of hacking the planet is a lot more interesting than a life of serving vices.

    • Brian

      @Eric this is a HUGE observation. Thank you for pointing it out.

      And your comments on learning to use dissatisfaction as a tool instead of trying to avoid it through simple escapism are tremendously powerful. It’s like fire, ya know? Fire can be used to destroy as much as it can be used to power engines—and we all know it’s a lot easier to burn a bridge than build an engine.

      I agree we need to learn what we’re capable of; we need to recognize our strengths and play to them—but we also need to recognize our shortcomings and learn to mitigate them.

  2. Avatar

    The irony of kids being bored is that we have to keep them from getting bored, and that soon gets boring! 😉

    It is a challenge, though. We can leave them to their own devices, but then how many want to jump in front of a screen? And if it’s not flashy enough, then we’re the boring parents that get them boring stuff.

    And on it goes…

    • Brian

      Right? The never-ending challenge of encouraging them to explore new ideas and pursue their interests (never too early to start that 10,000-hour journey)—without their pursuing more lowest common denominator, product placement pandering from YouTube “influencers”.


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