I have spent some time recently learning to be bored. I guess what I really mean is trying to learn to give up social media and put my phone down.
[I’d like to propose that mobile phones are no longer called phones, or telephones. They are now Portable Digital Devices and I rarely use mine as a phone. These devices need re-branding. The name needs to change to reflect their usage. I suggest PDA. This is controversial because PDAs were used in the early 90s and they died. They didn’t succeed because mobile phones came and took over. That is capitalism or progress I guess. So, Portable Digital Assistants need a revival. It more accurately describes the function of the rectangle of black in your palm.]
There are four main reasons that I have opted to try and get bored more often. One is Brexit, then there is Trump along with all the “stupid” and finally there is All The HATE.
I have a couple of twitter accounts. In one of them I follow a few people and use it to communicate with friends. The other account is full of random people and politicians who I follow for the news and pictures of aeroplanes. Over the last couple of years I have noticed that my overall personal mood has reflected the level of crap I see on twitter. I would look at my twitter feed every hour or so and catch up with what’s happening. But quite often the anger, rage and shock supplied by people on twitter was reactionary. It wasn’t considered or sensible.
I would react emotionally. I would re-tweet people I follow. I would become annoyed and enraged at the injustices I saw. It felt like everything I held to be good about the world was deteriorating.
When you read tweets about what racist shit the foreign secretary has said, try to understand trump, see the hatred towards minorities, see the hatred of the religious, see the twisted responses by people with internet-balls, see the hatred and such low level of discourse, then you start to feel worried about the state of the world.
If you can’t manage a walk to the corner shop without staring at your phone, then maybe you need to stop and put it down.
I removed the other account on from my phone about a month ago. I also have stopped the side-bar on my PC from popping up with that twitter account. I try to get my news from a couple of websites and the radio.
I constantly worry that I am missing out on a gorgeous photograph of an airplane. I worry that something might be happening in the world that needs my attention. This is FOMO I guess. I understand the troubles of generations younger than me who have never known anything else. That constant connectivity to a world of opinion and thought. Here’s the news for you people: humans aren’t “built” to cope with all that. Also, and this might be news to you, getting bored is a good thing.
I will add some provisos to that last statement. Make sure your mental and emotional health is good before trying to get bored. You don’t want to end up in a cycle of bad thoughts while out and about doing nothing.
Our best ideas and processing comes when we are bored. We have the chance to think and ponder and imagine. We should learn to put PDAs down. For an hour at a time to start. Then we can increase that. I’ve tried to leave my phone in the other room. I’m almost at that stage when I sometimes can’t remember where my phone is in my house. I hope to get better at this over the next while. Keep a book nearby, you know a printed book.
It’s important to switch off. To chill out. To wander the streets/countryside while pondering.