The lost art of being bored
(Isn't this the best screen shot you've ever seen :P)
When I was a kid we did a lot of road trip camping holidays. We’d pack the 4WD to the rooftop and usually drive west, towards the centre of the country and, supposedly, a lower likelihood of rain (although we seem to have been rained out on more than one occasion).
We saw parts of our own country that most Aussies never see. We learnt so much about our environment, the flora and fauna and the history of the places we visited.
We climbed trees (I usually got stuck), made camp fires, swam in hot springs and crocodile filled gorges (only the fresh water variety).
But one of the great things I remember from those trips was the time I spent staring out the window, watching the landscape roll past, daydreaming.
I would get to our campsite for the night, and after we’d set up the caravan I’d lie on my bed and draw and scribble the poems and short stories that had popped into my head.
All that time just letting my mind wander, create, entertain itself and absorb the world around it flushed little 10 year old me with endless inspiration and creative goodness.
I remember my hand cramping and my pencil not being able to move fast enough to capture what was coming out.
Fast-forward 20 years, and I have a question for you; when was the last time you stared out the window? When was the last time you stared out into space and let your brain write it’s own adventure?
I was in the supermarket the other day standing in the line, and when I looked up from checking Facebook, or my email or whatever, I noticed that every other person I could see waiting in the queue also had their eyes trained on their phone.
We seem to have lost a lot of the small moments throughout the day that used to be our mind’s downtime, the white space between the consumption of information – standing in the queue, sitting on the bus, waiting for a friend, standing in the lift.
And allowing our mind to be bored is actually really important, because the mind wants to be occupied, it wants to be busy, so taking away the external stimulus forces it to make its own fun. And that’s where so much of the magic happens!
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