Boredom is all in your mind

"I'm bored."

"There's nothing to do."

"Can we go somewhere and do something?"

Growing up, I am certain that I uttered those same phrases at least a million times, especially during the summer months. It didn't seem to matter that I had two older brothers close to my age, a huge backyard to play in, neighborhood pool that never seemed to close, and was surrounded by woods and creeks that never ceased to invite me for an adventure.

Yet even then, I often struggled to find things to do. Since this was the era before computers and cell phone technology, sitting in front of the television was about as lazy as I could get away with until my mom made me go back outside. Most days I was out the door after breakfast and had to be called home (via my mom's vocal chords, not a phone!) for dinner. Boredom wasn't much of an option or a privilege for me and most of the friends I knew.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not claiming to have lived some idyllic childhood where we churned our own butter and went on Robinson Caruso type adventures. But I do believe that my generation was better equipped to deal with how we would solve the problem of too much time on our hands.

Look around you today and you will see that people in America are as busy as they have ever been yet seemingly more bored than all the other past generations combined. Everywhere that you look, teens and adults are glued to their phones in hopes of finding something - anything - to entertain them for the next few minutes of their lives. Texting, SnapChat, and other forms of social media have replaced real live conversations. And no, FaceTime does not count.

Do I love my phone? Yes, I do. I admit that I have to fight the urge to waste precious minutes and hours on my phone looking at everyone else's pictures and posts and reading up on the news. But I also grew up learning the value of a book, of spending time outside, and being with friends talking and laughing with each other deep into the late hours of the night. Face-to-face, not phone-to-phone. These are the things that I still so greatly value.

Boredom doesn't really exist. What does exist is the fact that we've often forgotten how best to utilize the time that we've been given. Gizmos and gadgets are artificial ways of stealing what precious time we actually do have. They can't truly teach you anything. Rather, they often rob you of what you already have.

Imagine how much sweeter life would be if, instead of grabbing that rectangular device every time we've got a few moments to kill, we would instead choose a book or an adventure in the woods or a conversation on the porch until late in the night. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound boring at all.


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