As you start this week, may you get bored. There’s something magical that happens when we intentionally shut off our brain for a short time, close out the calendar, and just… sit. Take in the moment around us. And not do absolutely everything in our power to be distracted by nothingness.
Now, I realize that many of us are parents, so you might be thinking, “Um, bored? How could I possibly be bored? I don’t have two seconds to myself.” I get that. I do. But if you’re anything like me, you probably still find ways to fill in the perfunctory gaps in your day—waiting in the carpool line, standing at the grocery checkout line, or those few quiet moments before you turn off the bedside lamp.
As a culture, we have such a hard time with doing nothing that many of us aren’t two feet away from a pocket-sized computer we call a smartphone, handy just in case we have to wait for anything. I’m right there with you. It’s a habit I’m trying to break.
I have a chapter in my book dedicated to boredom. In it, I mention that boredom is a relatively new concept. In the eighteenth century, no one was bored. If you were bored, you were probably on your way to certain death, because if you wanted to eat, you had to work. There was no time or energy to be bored.
But now, we are so used to being amused that we can hardly stand the thought of having nothing to do. Entertainment, in all its forms, is so easily accessible in our technology-soaked culture; we can hardly imagine a life where it’s not an arm’s reach away. My immediate reaction is to check Instagram or my Facebook feed, or to pin stuff on Pinterest. It’s to clog my fingers and brain cells with busyness, or at least the illusion of busyness. Like, like, like, pin, pin, pin. Keep busy.
This week, may you begin it by slowing down and embracing a little good old-fashioned boredom in your life. You never know what you might notice for the first time.
Notes From a Blue Bike releases tomorrow, and to celebrate, Thomas Nelson (the publisher) is extending the free gifts for all purchases made this week. Head here to read what they are! So gracious of them.
And check this out—no, really; check this out: they are giving away a trip to… well, you’ll just have to see. Seriously, though. It’s cool. I wish I could enter. Here’s a clue:
An invitation for you
Here’s how I’m going to celebrate this week: I’m inviting you to join me on a little bike ride. Each day, I’m going to write a short post about one of the five topics I explore in the book—food, work, education, travel, and entertainment. And in tomorrow’s post, I’ll have a linky for you to add your post as well.
If you want to join in, feel free to write about anything related to how you’re learning to live slower and with more intention. To get your gears greased, a few post ideas might be:
• Why is it so hard to slow down in our fast-paced culture?
• How you choose to swim upstream and make choices different from the surrounding culture
• How you (or your family) have benefitted from slowing down
• How you (or your family) have struggled because you’re living too frenetically
• When it comes to your work, what is your definition of “enough”?
• Why local/seasonal/slow food matters to you
• How any overseas or cross-cultural experience has shaped your current worldview
• Why you’ve chosen a particular path for your children’s education
• Your personal (or your family’s) definition of entertainment
• 1, 2, 3, or whatever-numbered things you plan to do to make your life better/simpler/more intentional
• Your crazy, unconventional dream, and why you’re pursuing it (even though the culture says it can’t happen)
Feel free to add this button to your post (though it’s not required):
I’ll leave the linky up from Tuesday, February 4 through Friday, February 7, and then I’ll link to that post one final time on Saturday so we can read all the posts over the weekend. Should be a lot of great reading.
Oh, and one final thought—reader meet-ups and book signings will now be here, included just as soon as details are finalized. I’ll do my best to mention when more dates and places are added!
What are your thoughts on boredom?
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