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Cultivating Boredom

Something that was so, so easy to come by when I was younger but increasingly hard to find as an adult with seemingly endless responsibilities and stressors. In a culture where there is something to do almost every minute of every day boredom has become all but invisible. I’ve touched on this previously, in part, in my post about being alone (Are YOU OK Being Alone?). Which was also a similar product of a culture where you can just pick up your phone and zone out scrolling a social media feed.

The more I root deeply back into myself the more I’ve found a need to cultivate boredom. Boredom for me sparks not just creativity but a renewed sense of excitement for the things that I like to do. Anything from art and writing to exercise.

I’m the sort of person that needs to, often, build time in to transition from one thing to the next. It’s been super annoying to me that I need this reset time and for a while I was severely short changing myself because I didn’t want to be bored, I didn’t want to be with myself, I didn’t want to not have something to do. The ideal of productivity over all else made me abandon things that were essential to my wellbeing.

And now I’m back to trying to cultivate boredom. I say trying because I’m still really, and I mean really, bad at it. But the more I try the more I find the push and drive to find that boredom and give myself that time to transition from one thing to another.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully give up multitasking or being busy sometimes but I’m trying to keep a handle on when and how I do so...times like listening to an audiobook while working or puzzling. I do think there are OK times to multitask or be busy but that also needs to mean there are OK times to be bored.

Something that I’ve been trying since I’ve been staying (mostly) off of social media is to open my journal and write when I feel the urge to pull up Facebook or Instagram and scroll endlessly. It’s a habit that I’ve yet to break completely and it was something that kept me from really, truly being bored. I get that journaling is still doing something but I find that much more meaningful and fulfilling...and it also feeds my creativity and works, often, as a transitioning activity.

What are some habits that you’d like to break? Can you find a more meaningful thing to replace it with? Maybe it can start with sitting still for five minutes, or writing something you are thankful for each day. Maybe getting out on a walk/hike in nature?

I know that these are all things that I have and continue to use. I do love getting outdoors in the beautiful greenery of Oregon, we finally got out hiking again recently. But don’t mistake me for outdoorsy; I draw the line at camping...or any long term forays outdoors without proper plumbing.

with <3

—A Recovering Design Imposter


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