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Boredom vs Laziness: The Battle of Nothingness

boredom

A few nights ago my partner and I were sitting in our living room after dinner. We were finishing up a glass of wine with a bit of dessert when he offered up that he was currently bored of his wardrobe and was contemplating making a change. 

First, let me state that I feel for men in the clothing options department. It does seem that choices are quite limited for our male counterparts. For the most part, men are saddled with pretty basic wardrobe choices. It seems that once they pick a pair of pants and shirt there’s not much else left. Sure, they can add a belt, a sweater, a jacket (if it’s cold enough), and even a tie if they really want to step out of any comfort zone (I mean that literally). Ties to me seem as ridiculous and obsolete as panty hose. Remember the days of nylons? What were we thinking? Oh, wait, we couldn’t think, the blood to our brains was being cut off by the elastic waistband. Good riddance to those monstrosities. 

Okay, I just went off the rails for a brief moment. Let me take us back to the couch and my boyfriend’s wistful remarks about his ennui towards the items in his closet.

The Struggle Is Real:

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have struggled, off and on, with bouts of melancholy. I don’t perceive our fluctuations in mood as depression but rather an appropriate reaction to an unprecedented, longer-than-expected situation.

I’ve mentioned this before. When all your top joy providers — travel, dining out, and live entertainment — are summarily removed from your life, it can be challenging. 

In a role-reversal moment, I went directly to problem solving.”

My partner was lamenting the fact he was not excited about wearing anything in his closet. Yes, apparently men can feel that way too, ladies.  

In a role-reversal moment, I went directly to problem solving. I suggested a trip to the mall to peruse potentially new clothing choices. Instead of gleefully acknowledging my brilliance at fixing the issue, he expressed his disinterest with a shrug. The lack of enthusiasm was palpable. I tried another route — we could browse online shopping outlets. I am a huge fan of Rue La La — mostly because I enjoy high-end designer wear at huge discounts. Again his response was less than stellar.

Too Lazy To Solve Boredom:

What do we do when nothing sparks interest, when everything seems dull and not worthy of our time?”

Then, with a heavy, crestfallen sigh, he said: “I’m too lazy to resolve my boredom.”

My first reaction? I laughed. The absurdity and truth of the matter really hit me. What happens when you can’t get motivated enough to … well, to get motivated. What happens when we can’t seem to “fix” ourselves?

Boredom is a real quandary. It feels somewhat like a prison. What do we do when nothing sparks interest, when everything seems dull and not worthy of our time?

In spite of  proclaiming his laziness the victor of his wardrobe boredom battle, my partner is usually anything but lazy. I circle back around to the unusual circumstances so many of us have been in for almost two years. I bet most of us are bored AF of the pandemic and all of its trappings. It bleeds into our lives, imperceptibly at times.

Curiosity Piqued:

I got curious (my new modus-operandi since completing Bethany Clemenson’s crazy, life-changing course “SHIFT, Intensive”). Shall we take a moment and be grateful that most of us have, at our fingertips, more information than fills all the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica? I poked around to learn more.

Turns out feeling bored is linked to lacking activities that are both meaningful and optimally challenging. Even individuals that perform activities construed as objectively meaningful (anesthesiologist, air traffic controller, supreme court judge) complain of boredom. Once an activity becomes too easy — or too difficult, for that matter — we may struggle to remain focused.

To beat boredom, we have to let boredom have its way with us. Allowing ourselves to “sit” in those feelings, to say YES to them is the key to moving through it. Sitting in our boredom allows us the space to examine our lives. Clearly, something is off. The signs are present.

Ignoring these signs, by binge watching tv, or scrolling to the point of invoking the TikTok warning, “Hey, you, stop scrolling. Yes, I’m talking to you…when’s the last time you’ve been outside? Go on a run with your friends! Read a book. Play with your pets. Or go shoot some TikToks outside!” is NOT recommended. 

What Do We Do?

One way to begin the climb out is to remind ourselves about our WHY.”

Boredom, like all other emotions, is fed on what we are thinking at the moment. One way to begin the climb out is to remind ourselves about our WHY. For example, if we are still practicing social distancing, it’s good to remind ourselves of the greater good that comes from conquering this global virus. Doesn’t that sound way sexier than I’m sitting home alone… again?

Yes, indulging in guilty pleasures (in moderation of course) and trying something novel also are conduits out of boredom. Sounds like a little retail therapy and a never-before-worn pink shirt are in order. Now, if I can just get him showered, dressed and out the door. 

P.S. I do understand that for some people, boredom can be a sign of depression. I am not being cavalier about that cold, hard reality. If this is what you struggle with, please, please reach out to a qualified professional for help. There are “things” to do, to be said, to learn that might help.

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