In our culture of FOMO and YOLO (Fear Of Missing Out and You Only Live Once), of celebrating being busy, and of always looking for the newest and best, sometimes I feel pressured to keep moving and never slow down.
As a bucket lister I’m often looking for the next new adventure but I also like taking some time to let myself do nothing, without goals or agendas, and to see what happens. It’s an exercise in flexibility and patience (which I need to practice) as well as a way to let my brain relax and to experience creativity with fewer boundaries.
I get some of my best ideas when I’m bored or not trying to think of good ideas. I also pay closer attention to what’s going on around me when I’m bored (trying to find something interesting – and there’s always something if you look), which makes me think in a different way and usually generates additional ideas. I also learn things I wouldn’t normally learn because I feel like I have the time and nothing more interesting to do. I’ve read detailed posters and pamphlets, watched documentaries and other videos, and skimmed books I probably wouldn’t have otherwise read, all because I was bored.
Appreciation for the small things
Because I’m taking time to look around and not be so busy, I notice some of the smaller, easier-to-overlook things in my life. The sound of the crunchy leaves on my walk, the slightly silly happiness of being able to perfectly color a picture (yes, I love coloring books!), the way that perfect stranger just smiled when we made eye contact. Those kinds of things are so hard to notice if I never take the time to stop and pay attention.
Leads to bigger things
My “crunchy leaf walk” tradition really got established after being bored at university one day. I went out for a walk just to do something random that I remember doing with my mom and brother during childhood and now it’s a yearly personal event. I’ve also had moments when I realized I haven’t connected with someone in a while and decide to send them a nice note, which then leads to bigger opportunities. It doesn’t always happen that a single moment of boredom leads to a life-changing habit or opportunity, but it happens often enough to list it.
Provides a restful space
Sometimes everything just gets to be too much and I really appreciate taking some time to be bored. I’ll do nothing but daydream or sit with a blank look on my face and to have no expectations of myself. It took me a while to be okay with this, but now I really enjoy it because it helps me acknowledge that I don’t have to be doing something in every moment.
On the other hand…
I think it’s good to let boredom refresh you and give you opportunity for creativity and appreciation. However, I know that sometimes I go the opposite way with this and begin to feel like I have nothing new or exciting in my life. I’ll be bored because I’m doing the same thing every day: wake up, work, go to bed, repeat. It’s not fun or interesting and it slowly drains all the energy and motivation from my life.
That’s when I like to do something small to change things up, to shake myself out of the rut and notice the things in life that are enjoyable, instead of focusing on the negative. My bucket list comes in handy for this a lot, and so does going on random adventures or talking to new people.
This feeling of being stuck in a rut is something I know we all experience from time to time. That’s why I thought it would be fun if we did something to get out of that, to challenge the boundaries we’re putting on our own lives, and to notice something or someone new.
I’m hosting the 31 Days of Everyday Adventure challenge starting November 1 and I’m inviting you all to join me. I’ll provide suggested daily activities to help you bring a little adventure into each day. You can decide if you want to do them all or only some, and can share your experiences in the blog comments and on social media (especially Instagram or Facebook).
If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for the Insiders list to stay updated or leave a comment here (The Insiders list is different than just signing up for blog updates). Also please let me know: what’s your favorite part of being bored?