By Arthur H. Gunther III
Being bored is good, kids. Skip the video game, the phone, the computer and all the scheduled activity. Take a walk, sit under a tree, in a library corner. Climb a branch (safely), go down to the river, lie on on a pier, scale a snowbank. And do any of these things alone, with no friends. No mom, no dad, no friend, no teacher.
Give yourself an hour to do nothing. Get bored. Very bored, and just when you think you are going to burst from inactivity — from not checking your phone, from not hitting the video game console button, from not jabbering away with friends, from not jumping, once again, into the family car for a trip to dance, yoga, karate, Scouts, whatever is structured, just when you are about to throw in the towel, I bet a light will come on. In your brain. In your muscles. In your heart. In your being.
Eureka! Boredom may seem as if you are running in place forever, but what it actually does is to eventually propel you like a wound-up rubber band on a toy balsa airplane propeller, soaring into the sky and them gently gliding. Boredom makes you look inside. It scavenges your brain for all those buried bits of creativity that you noticed — colors, forms, shapes, ideas, thoughts that you can build upon in your own creativity, artistry, problem-solving.
You cannot do this, take that journey, an exquisite run, if you are so focused on the selfies, the messages, the functions of your TV remote.
Let the mind wander. With no one else around, you become your own best exploring buddy. and it can be fascinating.
Even boring, repetitive tasks can stimulate creative thinking, as the hand does the routine work and your brain flies off for a moment or two.
Being bored, and finding results, can boost your esteem, add to purpose, bring motivation.
Sit on a street bench and count the cars, take an imaginary trip in one of them.
Life isn’t just about excitement or stimulation. It is about intentional boredom and where it can take you, kids.
Kids? Hey, adults, too.
The writer is a retired newspaperman who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org This essay may be reproduced.