Why are we afraid to be bored? Because somehow, we believe this Betty Draper saying:
Even though we shouldn’t! Being boring will be the death of the typical millennial—you want to seem quirky, interesting, cool. This is a fast-paced world we live in, and if you’re not doing anything, you’re judged as dull, tedious, boring. And who’d want to be with someone like that?
So everyone’s demanding company (“Someone please go watch Gone Girl with me!”) or posting pictures of being with a group, or anyone really, sometimes just to prove that they’re not uneventful. They’re fun and cool.
But…isn’t that tiring? When we’re bored, we’re actually given an opportunity to spend some healthy time with ourselves, and I guess this is why we’re so afraid of being bored—because we still don’t know who “ourselves” really are, and we don’t want to confront icky feelings like disappointment, sadness or loneliness. Our Instagram feeds should be happy! And cool! And energizing and young and free and YOLO and infinity! Sprak nayshun guys!
Ugh. Give yourself space and time, girl. The next time you feel bored, take it as the Universe’s way of telling you “Hey, it’s time to get reflexive and hang out with yourself.” Personally, I’ve learned a lot from alienating myself from the bandwagon. Without the pressure of trends, I realized on my own what I actually and truly like and don’t like, what I find funny and corny, what I like reading, etc. And it’s just super empowering to realize that all along, I held the reigns on my own taste. I still get bored, sure, but at least I know that I can depend on myself to fix that, or simply not care what others think. So trust me, being alone doesn’t always mean having to be lonely.
Here are some quick tips on how to make the most out of your boredom and alone time:
1. Develop a hobby into a skill
If you haven’t got one yet, you could think about the things you enjoy the most (Shopping? Taste-testing? Writing?) and try to do some more research about those activities, and perhaps create something in the process. Taking a hobby seriously might make you discover a hidden talent you never knew you had in you. Who knows? A lot of popular bakeries started out as passing the time making oatmeal fudge brownies. And maybe those long-ass tweets that entertain plenty could be made into a career of entertainment writing? Plus, I know a lot of people who used to doodle on everything for fun, and who now doodle on everything for fun and money. They are now successful graphic designers and illustrators. (italicized because those titles sound so fancy).
Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford may be bat-shit crazy about a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them. My typical Treat Yo’ Self day would be: watching a movie, getting a mani-pedi, and buying myself tons of stuff from the book/DVD/clothes store, which I usually top off by eating a very delicious and unhealthy cupcake. Splurging on yourself during alone time is not only a fun way to pass the time, but also a way to learn how to be more comfortable being with yourself. I find that a lot of people, especially those glued-on to social media, are anxious of being seen alone because of the mentioned (false) link between Alone and Loneliness. This dependency on what others think is impeding you from growing into a self-sufficient person with her own taste, so the faster you grow out of that, the better. And you can start by treating yo’ self. (Also, I recommend reading this excellent essay by the IDGAF Queen herself, Tavi Gevinson about how not to care what other people think of you).
“The world is your oyster!”, they say. “Everything true is a cliché!”, they also say. This third tip is so common and overused that I’m using common and overused sayings to explain it. “It’s been said, many times, many ways…” but you just have to try things you’ve never imagined yourself doing, or even enjoying. If something, say, a movie review, has sparked the tiniest interest in your heart, then by all means, read some more movie reviews and watch some more movies out of the ordinary platter and critique them yourself! Trying sucks sometimes, because failure can come out of it and ruin self-esteem like a bitch, but, in all honesty I truly believe that everyone has their own calling, and everyone has got something to show for the world, and if you don’t experiment, you might never find that calling, so go forth and crush that calling and prove that trying can be worth it!
*If you only have to remember one thing about this list it’s this: the key is passion. Once you determine what you really care about and enjoy doing, being bored won’t be as daunting or embarrassing as you think it to be.
So there you have it. I admit, I may be the most ill equipped person to be giving advice about life. And sometimes, I think my alone time is at an unhealthy proportion to time spent with people. (And I may not stick to my own list 100% of the time). But I do know myself, and it’s such a comfort to just return to what I know, and fulfill my own standards (which aren’t at all low I must say!), and just my own definition of terms like “happiness” and “fun” and “boredom.” So yeah, I may be alone, but don’t you dare say that I’m lonely because hanging out with myself, with my music and books and hobbies, is definitely more exciting than getting into a club, taking a selfie and tweeting “having so much fun” when you know deep down you are anything but.