Being Bored

I am writing this as a parent of a six year old, only child who can’t read yet and whose screen time I have just cut to zero. Add to this that it is summer break and she is not in camp. I am needed a lot. Today Steve is giving me some of the day off. I am planning to write and do yoga and meditate and garden. But I am also going to take moments to stop, look around, and just be.

My daughter has been saying to me a lot this last week since I cut her off from TV and computers, “I’m bored.” I remember being bored as a child, actually whining up the stairs to my mom, “I’m bored.”

“Go run up and down the driveway,” she’d say just about every time. That shut me up. I never ever took that advice. That sounded far worse than being bored. When you’re bored, you want to be entertained. You want someone to read to you, or engage you in some way, or give you cake, or, naturally, put a movie on for you.

But those moments of boredom, I see now, were opportunities for me. I would go outside and sit in the sun, look around at the flowers and insects. I remember magical moments catching moths and butterflies between my cupped palms and opening them enough while pressing against my cheek to feel them flutter against my face.

So here I am with a day that is partially free. I also am not watching TV or playing video games. I am planning things to do, to make my time useful so that I feel I’ve accomplished something. But what if I accomplished nothing? What if I took more time off to just be, to look in the garden and see what’s happening there? Maybe I’d do yoga and meditate. Maybe I’d wander into the kitchen and cook something creative. Maybe I’d take the dog for a walk. What if there was space, even though it may be occasional, to be bored and see what wonderful things grew out of that.

I’ve got two hours. I think I’ll just see what happens next.


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