Tuesday, 2 April 2013

take that, fear of boredom!

In response to Kanelstrand's "The Cure for Boredom is Simplicity"

If you haven't come across the Kanelstrand Simple Living Chronicles, I encourage you to head over and have a read! One of Sonya's (Kanelstrand author) recent posts was about finding the cure for boredom by leading a simple life

In her post, Sonya stated quite fairly that "bored children grow up to become bored adults". When I look back, I see a self-enforced obligation to be 'busy'. Even as a child, I was either going full steam ahead, or in a fallen heap. I have had a pattern throughout my career of working too many hours, not taking my entitled breaks and literally making myself sick with burnout. It's no-one's fault, it's just the pattern that I naturally lean to, because from a young age, for whatever reason, I decided it was 'good' to be busy and 'bad' to be bored. 

While reading Sonya's post, I found myself asking the following questions: What is Busy giving me that Simplicity can't? What is it about Simplicity and Boredom that I am so afraid of? What am I missing out on by placing Busy as more important than Simplicity? 

And it hit me: 

Busy is my 'out'. In JD's words, it is "my diabetes". By placing Busy as one of my top priorities, I can excuse my lack of focus, inability to make decisions, keeping others at arms length, little time for myself and apathy on issues that I think are important.

Simplicity forces me into a place where I am aware of my actions, and taking conscious responsibility for them. Busy is a socially accepted way to pretend my life is out of my hands but as someone trying to live more in line with my values, Busy is just not sustainable. 

Sonya stated, 'The cure for boredom is simplicity', and she's right, because Simplicity forces me to reflect every day on what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. In this act, everything I do becomes meaningful because I am consciously choosing to do it. 

I'm learning to maintain a steady pace. It's a slower pace than I'm used to. In this slower, simpler pace, I'm finding peace, balance and pure enjoyment. I'm learning to stay home when I need to. I'm learning that my job is just a job. I'm learning to think about what I 'want' instead of what I 'should'.

What's your opinion of Busy, Simplicity and Boredom? How do they play out in your life?


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on such a sensitive topic for you, Kate. I am re-reading your post and thinking of when you mention that as a kid you have decided it was 'good' to be busy and 'bad' to be bored and this is a very important sentence, because really boredom is not the opposite of busy. You can be relaxed and productive, even creative when you're not busy. JD is quite correct. We all have our "diabetes" that we turn to when we want to escape from responsibility. Being busy is good, hurrying is good but only up to a moment. Then we naturally need to relax by switching the activity, if we want to be sane! So, after all, moderation is the key to a happy life. And don't hurry, "everything that sets you back in the slow circles of nature is a help." Warm hugs from Norway, and thanks for the lovely conversation.

    1. Thanks Sonya! I know exactly what you mean about busy being good for different times- and I'm slowly learning that rushing for the sake of rushing isn't sustainable- so many lessons about pace and moderation! xx


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