“So Perhaps boredom is merely the mourning of everyday life?”

I really enjoy that statement from the Adam Phillips’ “On Being Bored” reading. Even if it was meant to just bridge into a reflection on Freud it struck me all the same. The notion of boredom not necessarily being a direct result of a lack of current activity but rather a lack of current want or desire reflected upon the loss of time during the day as an all to familiar thing is a notion I find so wonderful and wasteful. What could be a bigger waste of time than wishing you were not wasting time? We’ve all experienced boredom. Its very much like anxiety in that very little has ever resulted from it in a productive sense. The focus of your time is time itself and the frustration you feel and yet somehow time seems to slip away or drag on. “I’m so bored and I feel like I’ve been doing nothing for hours and its only been 10 minutes!” “I’m so nervous and anxious I’ve been sitting here with a blank word document and an hour blinked by!” Just how focused were you on your focus of the clock? Its very interesting.

The flip side would be teenagers or young adults who spend a night sitting around an apartment seemingly doing nothing and would describe what they did the next day as “nothing really” yet they are not ensnared in the clutches of boredom or anxiety. Their couch is not the left highway lane, they don’t need to be anywhere. They’re not seeking salvation from a lack of desire they just want to sit around/’veg out’ for the night. If the individual does not view their activity as one that causes concern for their wasted minutes that the clock will never give them back did they really waste time?

I think time is a great commodity. Like most commodities that the average person wants we all spend a great deal thinking about what we’d like to do with it.

Save up for a vacation?

Go to the gym more this year?

Really sit down and get to know these aliens I live with that claim to be my immediate family.

The truth is with its intangible packaging and seemingly great price of free we never really consider if its real waste is how long we contemplate what we’ll do with it and the reflecting on missed opportunities that occur when the ideal window closes. Its cliché but shouldn’t the real worth of time be feeling fulfilled with the day to day as opposed to the days yet to come?

This past Thursday my waste of time was going to the rink my team plays at instead of going with a few friends to move boxes out of a rental space. It was an opportunity to make an additional 25 bucks (which I would have no doubt spent on food and beer with my friends right after). Instead I went and practiced with a few guys on my team. I spent the day at work in an office and couldn’t help but feel I lost out on a beautiful day. I was mourning the warm weather I knew might disappear in a day or so. Enjoying what I could of it that night reduced my ‘regret’ of the lost hours of sunshine it felt great to be skating more so because I knew next week there might be snow on the ground again. I also got to see something I would never have thought I would see. I locked up around 9:30 and got to my car to watch an old lady’s shopping bag break. A teenager from the apartment complex across the street looked around to see if anyone was watching and went over to help her. Once she had the items in her other bag she went off to her house and the boy stood to watch that she got there. As he turned he saw me and knew his good deed was discovered and promptly flicked me off to try and regain his street cred and ran off into the apartment complex. I missed every light as a result of watching instead of leaving right away. You could say it really was a waste of time in a traffic sense but I don’t think I would have traded what I saw for an extra 4 minutes at home. I was happy to be in the moment instead of in my head wanting what I can’t have, more time.

 

By Ray

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4 Comments»

  waking2dream wrote @

“Teenagers..are not ensnared in the clutches of boredom or anxiety”.
I think that the simple act of unconscious boredom, time not wasted in an eye of a teenager, is what our society deems as a threat. A threat to the existing social order.
The spaces of transition the teenagers find themselves in, in the eye of an adult, are often looked upon as symbols of declining demoracy, the kids are not active citizens. Time wasted sitting on a couch or hanging out at a mall is looked upon as a potential threat to the entire system.

  cindypound wrote @

again, i’m not sure that teenagers are not experiencing boredom or anxiety, i think they are. however i do often recall those days in the past where i would sit around for hours with friends, drinking, smoking, listening to music, shooting the shit, and not have any qualms at all about this being “wasted” time. or spending the whole weekend watching TV felt like relaxation, something somewhere between deserved and OK.

but to me this is a mindset informed by youth. that time in your life when you have “all the time in the world.” boredom and anxiety come from trying to figure out how to fill all that time. i look back on these times now and can’t figure out how i had so much time to do what now seems like nothing at all!

these days i can’t figure out how to make enough time to do the things i want to do. i can’t imagine being bored, there is far to much to do, see, accomplish, try, live. anxiety now is about having too little time. the anxiety of youth is about having too much time.

that has been my experience, anyway. :)

  galalutteroth wrote @

I agree with you when you said that in practical, traffic wise speaking, you lost those 4 minutes of your life watching the scene that was taking place in front of you. But actually you gained something from those 4 minutes you saw a teenager lost his pose. When probably at home you might have done something just as unnecessary, but a lot fulfilling in 4 minutes. I do believe time is what we make of it, you do not need to be productive to be taking full advantage of your time. The actual waste of time is relative of your interests.

  jessica wrote @

Very nice thread. So if something is gained in those 4 ‘lost’ minutes then we might reconsider the alignment of waste with unproductivity, right? In other words, this lost time becomes productive in a different way, toward different ends.


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