I used to wonder how people could be bored with so many options for entertainment and recreation. Then I turned 76 and we had a ginormous heat wave, with poor air quality – and I was confined to the house or some other location with air conditioning. It suddenly hit me. I was becoming a victim of boredom.
It became easier to stay at home rather than venturing out into the steamy air. It became an excuse of sorts for being lazy or uninvolved. When we isolate ourselves, we miss out on so much that could really be making our lives anything but boring.
When we see not only kids, but old fogies like me, glued to their phones or I-pads, it becomes apparent that they’ve become creatures of habit and are trying to fill their lives with something that’s missing. How can we become such slaves to an electronic device?
I am as guilty as my grandchildren on this one. In a way, our social media becomes a safety net. We can enjoy conversations with others, without making eye contact. We can get a glimpse of someone else’s vacation time or amazing lifestyle without having to board a plane or spend a buck. We can play games – see what we’d look like with a certain style of glasses, make-up or clothing. We can get medical advice without going to a doctor- enjoy fine art, delicious recipes, order anything we want and have it delivered at no charge. Basically we are becoming cocooned in our own environment. No wonder we’re bored!
So what’s the solution to boredom? Involve yourself in something that takes you outside of yourself. By focusing on someone else and their needs, we can fill our own lives with purpose and value.
Help someone weed their garden and actually have a face to face conversation. Take a meal to a homebound person and offer help with something else while you’re there. Babysit for a neighbor who’s feeling trapped and do it for nothing. Get a job! Take up a hobby that gets you outside – golf, swimming, walking, plein air painting. Get together with your friends, rather than communicating online.
There are hundreds of ways to volunteer your time to help someone else, but if you are physically incapable, think of ways you can use your talents – to encourage, to sit with someone, to get them out of their box and back into the world.
If we eventually become dependent on electronics to live our lives for us, imagine what the world would be like. Think Orwellian. I don’t believe it will ever come to that – at least not in my lifetime – but I fear it could get close.
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.”
Henry David Thoreau