Growing Old with Boredom


Boredom is a universal problem.  Ask anyone.  They will tell you stories about their experiences with it.  Everyone faces each day with the possibility of this problem, whether it is at work, home, or anywhere.  There might be multiple occurrences of boredom that day or none at all.  People learn how to deal with these situations throughout their life.  They first discover this feeling during childhood.  Children have a need for constant entertainment.  They spend their days outside with friends, running around and releasing built up energy.  When they play inside, they have toys, movies, and games to occupy the time.  After a while, these activities get repetitive and uninteresting.  Unfortunately, children do not know how to deal with finding ways to stop boredom.  They have to learn this on their own as certain ways work better for some than for others.  These situations happen more and more as they grow older.

I recall a moment in my childhood when I felt bored out of my mind.  Other children probably faced the same problem.  When you think Christmas, you feel happiness and cheer, not impatient and bored.  That is exactly how I felt one Christmas Eve.  That night, my parents decided we should all go to bed early.  The clock only shows 9 p.m.  I feel wide awake, but we all climb up the steps, enter our rooms, and climb into bed.  After my parents say goodnight and close the door tight, I close my eyes and hope Christmas comes quickly.  Unfortunately, I lay there, unable to go to sleep.  After keeping my eyes close for a while, I check the clock.  It is only 9:30 p.m.  I begin to think I might never fall asleep.  I feel too excited and riled up to be able to sleep, and closing my eyes just makes the time pass slower.  I decided to keep my eyes open and find other ways to entertain myself.  I get out of bed, grab a book off my shelf, and turn on the lamp.  I always get entranced in my books.  However, not even 10 pages into the story, I close the book with a sigh and place it back on the shelf.  I cannot focus on anything other than opening presents tomorrow, but it will be hours before I can wake my parents up.  I decide to play on my DS and hope it keeps my attention for a few hours.  Unfortunately, my DS shuts off shortly after I start playing and I forgot the charger downstairs.

With nothing else to occupy the time, I fall back down onto my bed and stare at the ceiling.  Around this point, my impatience starts to overtake all my thoughts.  I try to imagine what presents I will receive, but that makes me long for the morning even more.  I find myself unable to come up with anything else but Christmas.  I turn towards the clock and it is only 11:50 p.m.   I cringe at the time as I have to wait 9 more hours until I go downstairs.  I still feel wide-awake.  At this point, I start to lose hope.  With everyone else asleep, I cannot find other ways to pass the time.  All I can do is lay under the covers and look around my dark room.  After a while, I feel more impatient and bored.  I can no longer lay still, so I sit up and move around on my bed quietly.  I stretch and sit in different positions.  Eventually, I get tired and stop.  I look at the clock once again, hitting myself as I do.  The clock shows it is only 2:00 a.m.  With six more hours to go, I feel even more anxious.  I get under my covers and close my eyes.  I will myself to keep them shut until I fall asleep.  I even try counting sheep for the first time.  As the minutes seem to tick by at an agonizing pace, I strain to keep my eyes closed.  Boredom begins to overwhelm me.  I think about giving up.  I decided to relax my eyes and let things be.  Finally, I fall asleep after hours of restlessness.  I wake up to the sound of my brother opening my door.  Upon seeing him, I flip onto my side and peer at the clock.  7:30 a.m.  All the anxiety and impatient I let build up that night drain out of me.  I only have to wait a half hour to wake up my parents, and I do not have to wait alone.  My battle with boredom seems to be just a long nightmare.

After that experience, I look for new ways to occupy myself at night.  I come up with different ideas to try out.  I learn which activities keep my attention the longest and those where my eyes stray away.  I start applying what I learn to situations of boredom, and eventually, I begin feel this emotion less and less.  As I grow up, I gain more responsibilities.  With more work, I have less time for inactivity and the chance of boredom.  It never fully goes away as it is an unavoidable part of life.

After childhood, people still face the problem of being bored.  They might have bigger responsibilities and less time for relaxation, but boredom strikes anywhere.  People face this problem at their jobs. An article from Psychology Today focuses on how to deal with boredom at work.  It states that people concentrate on the hours of their work day.  If they concern themselves with the time, it makes the work day pass by slower.  A way to remedy this is pay more attention to the tasks for the day.  If a worker focuses more on getting the tasks done, time passes by faster.  People should also motivate themselves to keep busy and feel proud about doing things right.  This allows you to enjoy your job more and keep boredom away from the office.

Here is the article:

After work, people can still become bored.  There are only a few things to do to pass the time: read the newspaper, watch T.V., eat, etc.  Eventually, these activities become repetitive.  So, how do they fight off boredom at home?  An American philosopher thought of one such way.  Harry Frankfurt wrote about how to beat boredom.  He believed that in order to not be bored, you must care about something.  If you have something important to you, such as loved ones, pets, activities, etc., you will never find yourself uninterested.  You care about certain aspects of your life because you find them fascinating and entertaining.  They captivate you for long periods of time over and over.  I find this to be true.  I have things I care about.  Whenever I find myself uninterested and bored, I fill in the time with what I love.  For example, I pick up a book.  I find them so interesting.  Whenever I start to read, it sucks me in and all my attention focuses on the story and the characters.  I never feel bored when I read.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a new book or one that I read before.  I discover something new each time I open it.

As time passes, people find themselves interested in other things.  They discover something new to care about.  This process happens over the years as people continue to change.  Once you lose interest in something once important to you, another one appears soon after.  As long as you have something to care about, you will have something fun to do and never become bored.  So, always look for new interests.  Try different activities and figure out the most exciting ones.  Keep your mind open to new things and ideas.  Allow yourself to develop interest in many things.

Once people reach the age where their children started their own families and they retire from a job they held for many years, they gain much more free time.  With no children in the house, they can relax and focus on taking care of themselves.  They stay inside the house more and rest.  They have time with their grandchildren and children to look forward to, but they will not always be available.  There will be plenty of quiet and uneventful days throughout the year.  Eventually, this period of inactivity becomes repetitive and boring.  Nothing exciting happens in their lives anymore.  They spend most of their day inside, either cleaning or sitting down and watching T.V.  They find themselves with more time on their hands than they are used to.  They do not know how to pass the time.  So, how can they bring excitement back into their lives after retirement?

In an article from The Wall Street Journal, The Experts talk about ways to avoid boredom in retirement.  One of the main points they emphasize is action.  Get out there and do something constructive, enjoyable or that you always wanted to do.  Do not just sit around in your house.  Use your newly found free time and have fun.  There are many things people in retirement can do.  They just have to get out there and explore.  Once they find things they enjoy, they will find themselves less bored.  They should also exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  A healthy body makes a healthy mind.  This will positively impact their outlook on life.  This allows them to push themselves to change their life and start discovering new places and activities.  If people follow these ideas every day, then boredom will slowly dissipate from their mind.

Here is the full article:

Boredom affects people of all ages.  During any part of your life, you will have moments of inactivity.  Because of that, people have learned different ways of dealing with it.  Children have toys, games, movies, and other creative activities.  Adults keep busy and motivate themselves at work.  They also find things they care about.  The elderly explore new activities, keep active, and get involved in things they enjoy.  There are many more solutions to be found as people have different interests.  They also keep discovering new ways of entertainment.  As long as they find something interesting that keeps them occupied during their leisure time, they will be able to alleviate their boredom.


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