May 12, 2021

The Beauty of Boredom

This is the twenty-fourth in a series of short essays I wrote as part of the Ship 30 for 30 program. You can read all thirty essays here.

I grew up in the nineties, a time I remember both vividly and fondly. When I think back to it, it seems like a different world to now. The internet wasn’t really a thing. Most people didn’t have mobile phones, let alone smartphones.

That probably sounds unimaginable by today’s standards, but it had its charm. Nobody seemed rushed. There was time for everything. There was even time to be bored.

Boredom may not seem desirable, but it allows your mind to wander. That wandering is valuable because it gives you space to think, explore ideas and see where they take you. Back then, there was no Google to instantly answer every question. It was common to ponder a topic for weeks or months, wondering “what if?” and seeing what came to mind.

Nowadays, we are always on, always connected. Still, while we have gained much from technology, we have lost something too. We may never be bored anymore, but we are always distracted. If we have even a few seconds to kill, we don’t let our minds wander. We pick up our phone and start scrolling. We have lost the luxury of having space to think.

This isn’t an anti-tech rant. I was all-in on the internet as soon as I heard about it, let alone used it. I love the power of global connectivity that is literally at my fingertips. But in a world of information abundance, we are always playing catch up, trying to keep FOMO at bay.

To give ourselves space to think, we need to regularly unplug from the tech bubble. Nobody has Eureka moments while doomscrolling. If we want to have new, original thoughts, we need to step off the treadmill and let our minds wander. We need to allow ourselves to be bored.