Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?" asked Friedrich Nietzsche. The obvious answer is: "Yes!" Boredom, even so, is a condition that affects millions of North Americans. Boredom deprives people of the meaning of life and undermines their zest for living. Although it would seem to specifically affect those who are idle and jobless, people with high-status and well-paying careers can be just as affected.
To a certain degree we all get bored some time in our lives. Ironically, many of the things we strive for can end up boring us; a new job, in time, becomes boring. An exciting relationship can become dull. Leisure activities once deemed precious may feel like wasted time. After a few years, living in vibrant New York may end up feeling dull and uninteresting.
The key to conquering boredom is taking full responsibility for having caused it. Particularly if you have wasted the first part of your adult life on boring work, you certainly don't want to be like so many individuals who waste the second part of their adult lives on a boring retirement. "In order to live free and happily," Richard Bach warmed us, "you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice."
People who cherish and can handle freedom undoubtedly are seldom bored. Their capacity to grow and their ability to choose are indispensable for handling the free time that a balanced lifestyle affords. Unfortunately, not all individuals - even well-educated and highly intelligent ones - are able to handle freedom and avoid boredom.
How well-educated and highly intelligent individuals can excel in the workplace and yet fail so miserably at leisure is one of the sadder aspects of human existence. On the other hand, how millions of individuals covering the full spectrum of education, intelligence, and income levels can be just as happy involved in leisure pursuits as they can in the workplace is one of the positive aspects of human existence.
Given that life offers us so much in the way of interesting pursuits, to be bored is to retire from life. You want your leisure life to be more than just something to do when you aren't working or sleeping. Whether you avoid boredom and depression will be determined by the nature of your leisure activities. You must not commit the grave mistake of making the couch, the fridge, and the TV your three best friends. This trio not only contributes to boredom big time; it also contributes to poor mental and physical health.
The word "boredom" should not even be part of your vocabulary. As French novelist Jules Renard commented, "Being bored is an insult to oneself." You as a creative individual have the ability to pursue interesting activities. Creative expression is the natural inclination of life. Keep reminding yourself that life can be a series of adventures and wonderful discoveries because deep down you are a creative person and not a boring one.
The next time you are so bored that you would get excited about an invitation to the opening of a new garbage dump, remind yourself who is responsible for your boredom. To conquer boredom, you must get to the source. Be clear that there is only one source. If you still don't get it, perhaps these wise words of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas may be of some help: "Somebody is boring me ... I think it's me."
Yes, indeed! If something is boring you, it's probably you. Handling boredom is actually quite easy. Get busy doing the things you love, or something that you have always wanted to do. Your taking absolute responsibility for your boredom is the creative force that will make it go away.