Privilege of boredom

The price that we are paying for instant gratification is the relentless nagging of our kids.

While growing up, vacations were something that we looked forward to but they came with a catch. Mother would give us a list of things that we could do the entire holidays.

The frequency, the manner and the intensity with which we pursued these activities was left to us. Because we grew up in small towns, the bane of vacations like the summer camps and the holiday crash courses were largely absent from our lives. Yes, we know how lucky we were.

There was only one rule that we had to follow from our side of the bargain. It was that we would never whine about 'being bored.' This is what that list was supposed to be about - the omnipresent answer to the dreaded question 'What can we do, we are bored?'

Now on the other side of the fence, we realise that the question is scary. We are running out of things to provide, and ideas to keep the minds of our kids engaged.

Somewhere, there has been a constant hammering of hedonism in the young brains and when they are faced with a stretch of time that cannot be filled with any purpose, they don't know how to handle it. I realised it when my daughter, bored out of her wits for five minutes, began 'The Whine' during her Christmas holidays.

Passing afternoons on a hammock, staring at the foliage above or just sitting in the garden and plucking out the grass without any purpose was a luxury, I realize. Now, when I barely have time to get a meal in me, just to have munched on the countless sandwiches that mother provided to us in our makeshift boats, homes or tents, made out of garden chairs and covered with bedsheets, was a luxury.

To have sipped the lemonade or the milk shake, to have swirled the drink around our mouths till it's cold was shooed away by the warmth of our tongues, to have just sat on the garden steps watching the dusk chase the day away, exhausted from the adventures of tree climbing, butterfly-chasing or spinning fantastic, unbelievably impossible stories was a luxury.

Many of us fell in love with reading, sketching, staring in space, music and making things, because we had the opportunity to get bored.
There is a privilege in boredom.

In it, there is proof of having time at hand, but more. Boredom shifts the focus of a person to look inwards - to draw from self the rigors of entertainment.

If nothing else, boredom does expand our imagination.

 

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