When I was young, in the 60’s, my mother would tell me to “go out and play.” It was left up to me to find something to do. Living across from the Delaware River, one block from The Log Basin Pond and only a few miles from several parks and ball fields, it was a no-brainer to create an exciting and adventurous life. There were also many kids in our neighborhood out investigating their own options and thrilled to join forces. Everyone rode bikes, climbed trees, had small boats, swim suits, footballs, baseballs, tennis racquets, sleds, ice skates - you get my drift. The only requirement my parents demanded was to be home for dinner at 5. What freedom, what possibilities, what defining memories. Having such a rich and diverse childhood of course had a huge impact when it was time to raise my own children. I was fortunate to be able to stay home and work very partime out of my home as a personal trainer. I loved being a mother and found myself enjoying my childhood all over again through my children. It was relaxed, fun and non-structured. Our home was filled with all manner of art supplies, building materials, bikes, rollerblades, sleds and even a video camera to make movies. I truly enjoyed their imaginations, conversations, creations, friends and the thrill of their own self discovery.
I love this and totally agree, as a parent of three. Though as a designer, I feel this is a deeper issue than a parenting trend. Boredom and waiting are two of the most unacceptable human experiences in product design – even more egregious than confusion – and we’re constantly striving to eradicate them from everyday experiences. Perhaps we’ve systematically lowered our tolerance for boredom by vilifying it through design. Maybe boredom needs some rebranding, so it feels more like a luxury and less like a UX fail.
I think boredom is an adult word that children have to learn. Silence, imagining, pretending, creating, playing and being inspired all happen in a time when there are no distractions. No computers, TVs, video games, books or newspapers might be a fertile field of a new path if we don’t feel anxious... be with it and see what blooms.
You truly have your greatest realizations when sitting in boredom. The problem nowadays is that people are always doing something except for the last few moments before bed. By the time they start getting bored, they’re onto something new within seconds.
And welcome to Readup, asergiou17. Great to have you!
Great advice for all humans, disguised as advice for parents and kids.
One of the most profound experiences of my adult “career” was working for about a year and a half at a Vermont general store-gas station. I was responsible for the dairy department, a task I had dialed-in after just a few days on the job. But since the customers kept coming, it was my job to keep the milk moving - from palettes to crates, crates to walk-in, walk-in to shelf, all day every day. I knew the feel of the razor in my pocket, how to cut boxes with my eyes closed. I sometimes felt like a zombie in motion. I could sense the arrival of certain delivery trucks and customers by subtle sounds in the parking lot. I even embraced the occasionally “excitement” of a milk spill or milk-splosion. Yes, I’m being nostalgic, but this really is how I remember it. That job was exceedingly “boring” but it allowed for a quality and richness of creative and meditative thinking unlike anything I have ever experienced in the fast-paced corporate and startup world.
Three cheers to boredom. I’m bored every day and I love it. I get antsy if I know I’m up against, say, 3 or more days in a row of non-boredom. Then I need to reset with a full day of nothing. Life’s better if it’s not all filled up.
My fave comment ever maybe! Such a great description of the satisfaction of doing a simple job really fucking well. The last few sentences made me LOL with relatability.
I agree totally. Do you want to spend your life on an iPhone playing video games or wasting away your day on Facebook. My best ideas have come to me when sitting or lying down and just thinking. During relaxation and meditation creativity is boundless!