“WHY?” appears in big bold letters inside a silent balloon above my head whenever I hear these two words. I may do a Chloe as a display of disgust, for the word 'bored' is offensive to me, and when lumped with the phrase 'I am' it becomes criminal.
In this age, I find it amusing how people still get bored. At the end of our fingertips is an abundance of things to occupy our time: apps, hobbies, entertainment, places, and people. I have over a hundred apps on my smartphone and tablet to accompany me at my behest. Twitter and Medium alone take majority of my smartphone usage. I'm still plowing through Writer's Digest's Grammar Desk Reference which I bought a few weeks ago. And last month's issue of Reader's Digest is still waiting to spend some time with me. 50 Cent's Animal Ambition and Die Antwoord's Donker Mag both still have zero play count in my iTunes. And I already have Above and Beyond's latest EP Sticky Fingers on repeat. I'm yearning to visit New York City but I am already planning on returning to Singapore this year. I'm looking forward to knowing writers around the world while keeping up with my friends. There is a lot to be done on this earth; I have no time to get bored!
I have a few observations about people who gets inflicted with boredom often.
Bored people are lazy. Call me judgmental or an asshole but that is the truth. My father, when he's in the house, always finds something to do. He cleans the house better than my mother (sorry Mom!) Sometimes he rearranges the furniture, redesigning our living room or my bedroom. When he has no labor to do, he buys DVDs of movies he hasn't seen yet and watches them with the speakers turned so loud I'm surprised the neighbors do not complain. I've never seen him lounging around except when he takes naps, after doing a hell lot of work. If there's nothing left in the house to entertain him, he visits his friends in the neighborhood. He is a busy man, never gets bored, always on the move. At some point, I was the opposite of him. I wasted more time doing nothing or averting work (and household chores). I watched the same TV shows and movies over and over. It became stale. I would look at the clock and felt lost, not knowing what to do next. I paced back and forth around the house unable to fill that void. I could've done something productive but I didn't want to. I became lazy.
Bored people lack passion and ambition. Why (again)? Before I seriously pursued writing, my life consisted of working (I'm a software developer), hanging out with friends, and wasting my time on the Internet and some games (there's nothing wrong with them but sometimes it can be too much). It's a routine that became boring over time. There's no enjoyment in waking up each day because it was going to be the same set of activities. That changed when I stepped out of my comfort zone. I enrolled in the gym and started to get in shape.It became the catalyst for a chain of events. Seeing my progress in the gym gave me confidence. It carried over to another aspect of my life that needed confidence too - writing. I gained courage and started a blog. I wrote one story, then another, and now I'm on a roll. I got to know other writers around the world as well, and discovered inspirational people. I rediscovered my core values and am now in command of my life, no longer a slave to others and my own delimiting fears. Waking up is a blessing for each day I am given an opportunity to pursue my dreams. And it's a wonderful adventure that I'm not halfway through yet. There's a self-replenishing fuel inside me that drives my actions, choices, and desires. Most of my time is consumed by activities that take me one step closer to my dream. When I rediscovered my passion and ambition, every minute of my life became meaningful.
Bored people are self-entitled. They're oblivious to this fact. Their subconscious is telling them that something must happen to them so they can get rid of boredom. And it's absurd! It should be the other way around. They should be doing not waiting. In a way, self-entitlement is linked to laziness and a lack of passion or ambition. Action-oriented people do not have time to complain about hardships and difficulties. Their mindset is to overcome them. They do not think that the world owes them something. I used to be like this, getting mad at the world for the injustices and failures it served to me. After some growing up, I gained a different perspective and understood reality. Mark Twain said it best. “Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
There are three things I learned about time.
Time is a deity. It is omnipresent. It is powerful. It is beyond our control. It doesn't care whether you are alive or dead. It will not stop to catch your falling tears and wipe your cheeks dry. It will not stop to save you from a vengeful force of nature. Time will always move on.
Time is fair. It gives each and every one of us 24 hours a day. No more, no less. It doesn't favor the rich or the poor. It doesn't pick a side between a man and a woman. It doesn't give special treatment to a child or an elder. Time treats us all equally.
Time acknowledges the greats. It recognizes hard work, determination, and success. It is proud of achievements. When the greats die, Time immortalizes them. Think of Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, or Bruce Lee. They're gone but never forgotten. Time preserves the legacies of the greats through generations. The world knows their name and their contributions to the world.
Boredom is a criminal act against Time. Why get stagnant when Time invites you to the race of life? Why sit on your ass all day when someone else is making his hours productive? Why be a sapling when you can be a tall tree towering over the world with your greatness? Why? Why? Why? Time keeps on giving to us with only one expectation - use his gift wisely.
Don't ask me what it feels like to get bored? If I can eliminate sleep in my life, I will. It will give me more productive hours. But of course, it's not possible. My body and mind are always in constant motion. Solving a computer programming problem is challenging and fun. When I walk from the office to the gym, the beautiful sight of the city and the people amuses me. When I'm looking out the window of a moving vehicle, my imagination runs amok. Put me some place remote and quiet and I will soak in the environment, celebrating the peace. Lock me in the house for the weekend and I will power-read my books and power-write new essays. I have no room for boredom in my life.
If, by the blessing of the supernatural, I meet Time, I will bow down to his knees and in a desperate voice I will beg, “Please Time, please. Give me more. You see, I am never bored.”
Cover image: Boredom by Petr Dosek