Way back in April, I wrote a post about how awful boredom is. At the time, there was no aspect of my life that I didn’t find boring. It’s October, and things have changed, but I’m still terribly bored at the day job. A few things have happened recently due in large part to my apathy and lack of focus that have ensured I am much more mentally present at work. Not that I’m still not hunting for a job that challenges my creative abilities.
Anyway, I’m revisiting boredom today because I came upon a topic from Linked-in that caught my attention. It wasn’t one of their standard articles (which I find hit and miss), but a forum. The topic was about the lack of boredom people face and how that translates into a lack of creativity.
Previously, I made my thoughts on boredom fairly clear: it’s malignant as far as I’m concerned. While my opinion hasn’t changed thanks to the forum, I did come to a realization. I don’t think that person was talking about boredom; I think that person was talking about downtime.
Since my courses began, and admittedly long before that, I have had next to zero downtime. Comparatively, I have been lacking on the creative front for a while. I can’t remember the last time I sat back, relaxed, and let my brain wander. I am so often in a state of angst where feel I need to be doing something or getting somewhere that I can never just be. No wonder I’m exhausted.
Years ago, one of my history professors brought this up in terms of generational thinking and practices. When he was in university, students had the opportunity to go out together after class and discuss what they’d learned–to absorb and explore it that way. Nowadays, most students have to rush to their part time job or their next class, or work on their next assignment. There’s no time to sit and think. Even as a society we’ve turned into this impatient mass that has to get somewhere as quickly as possible to get something done. It’s very mentally unhealthy.
I can’t see any time for downtime in my near future, which is a shame, but it’s something I want to stay aware of. I’m terrible at setting aside time for myself, but I’m starting to see the toll it’s taking on every facet of my life. I don’t like it.
What are your thoughts on downtime and boredom?