You Are Not Allowed to Be Bored

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I’ve always hated it when people say, “I’m bored.”

Think about it. You have the gift of imagination with the most powerful machine the universe has ever created, the brain. It’s the only thing in the universe that has named itself, so there’s no doubt that it’s not your average lump of meat. And yet, you have the magnificent wonder of a thing that lets you observe and reminisce and ponder; any direction in single-axis time and just about limitless possibilities in space. You have the ability to think about anything, and yet you choose to be bored. That’s not acceptable, it’s a shallow way to look at things.

I’d never go hiking on a hill and say, “Oh, I’m so bored of this gorgeous view, I want to go to Subway to have a sandwich!” It’s counter-productive. We have the whole world at our disposal through our minds. You don’t have to switch on three switches, press a few buttons and wait for seven minutes to boot up your thought process. Any time you want to imagine something, you can. You don’t have the right to be bored with such a wonderful thing at your disposal. At the very least, you can see. You can look at a blank wall and think about its coat of paint, what it’s made of, where it came from, who built the wall, anything. The possibilities are endless, and yet, you choose to portray your lack of willingness to accept the miracles of free-will and imagination through the words, “I’m bored.”

No, you are not bored. You’re merely dormant. You’re stagnant. You’ve reached a point where you expect things to happen just for the sake of your enjoyment, or even just to give you something to think about. But get this, life isn’t a football game. No one has any obligation whatsoever to entertain anyone else. If you’ve gotten tired of slinging birds on your touchscreen or having half-hearted conversations with acquaintances, there are a billion and one things to do before you can even arrive at the conclusion that life is not providing you with the stimulation you need to continue enjoying it.

The worst thing is when people explain that they’re bored in a group of people. There are people around you. Not just a bag of skin carrying around chemical reactions, these are real, actual people with actual lives that they have lived. Anything you say will likely incite a reaction from them, because they live. And yet, amidst this group, you find the need to claim that you’re not receiving the entertainment you expected from them. You’re pushing on the liability to them, as though it’s others’ fault that you can’t think about something to move the conversation ahead or do something else. There is always things to do with people.

I think being bored is a right that we shouldn’t have. You have been blessed with the miracle of human consciousness, and you choose to not live it to the fullest, you choose not to experiment and see where it will go. But you were born as you. You could just as well have been a caterpillar on a speck of dust on Saturn, or a rock somewhere in Hawking Eta, or someone’s sandwich. But you have been gifted with life, and with that, you don’t get to be bored, it’s simply unacceptable. To quote Louis C.K., “Being the fact that you’re alive is amazing. You don’t get to be bored.”

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Upamanyu Acharya is a writer who doesn't write. Sometimes he's an artist, musician, photographer, physicist or lazy student. His hobbies include being vague, bending rules, time-travel, and embellishment of words. This is his personal blog where he writes on topics ranging from leadership skills to the consistency of jam.

2 Responses

  1. Sumer

    Quite frankly, brilliantly put. I've always had the same opinion, its so damned true.
    Sorry for the late entry anyway.

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