This one’s just too good to miss…(cracks knuckles; hunches over keyboard; ticks tags for ‘rants’ and ‘grumpy old man’).
“(YAWN): What bores you?”
Firstly, let’s be clear about what we actually mean by ‘boredom’. My first stab at finding a dictionary definition came up with the rather uninsightful ‘tedium’. I think you’ll find that’s a synonym rather than a definition.
Wikiquote’s effort is rather more satisfactory: “Boredom is a reactive state of emotion that interprets the condition of one’s environment as wearingly dull due to repetitive, non-existent or tedious stimuli.”
‘Wearingly dull’: yes, I like that. (Well I don’t, but you know what I mean.)
Maybe it’s just a symptom of aging, but the older I get, the lower my boredom threshold seems to drop. In Wikiquote terms, I find more things more wearingly dull more quickly than I used to.
What I might once have found, if not compelling, at least bearable, now has me rolling up my sleeve and reaching for the metaphorical razor-blade. Something that used to generate no more than mild ennui now has me thinking seriously about taking up vigilantism, going on a rampage and stamping it out once and for all.
Perhaps it’s because with age comes experience, and a jaded feeling of ‘been there, done that.’ There’s no doubt that some things – business travel is a good example – lose their appeal after the first few, or even few hundred, times.
Although thankfully not everything does.
Here are some of the long list of triggers for existential despair: that sensation of the will to live draining slowly away through the soles of my feet:
- Reality TV: I think I might have watched the first instalment of the first series of ‘Big Brother’. Never again.
- Miley Cyrus.
- Political correctness. It makes me differently interested.
- Political ‘discussions’: Just answer the bloody question.
- Politicians in general, come to think of it.
But it’s important to distinguish between the stuff that bores you and the actual state of being bored. The difference is well illustrated by the author Mary Renault, who introduces one of her characters thus:
“Miss Searle had always considered boredom an intellectual defeat.”
In other words, unless you find yourself in a tedious situation not of your own choosing – a business meeting, the dentist’s waiting-room, a traffic jam – you will only be bored if you fail to do anything about it. In Wikiquote terms, rather than just reactively sitting there and allowing yourself to be bored, be proactive when faced with the threat of boredom:
- Clicked on yet another blog inviting the reader to share the author’s spiritual journey to ‘find themselves’ through the medium of talentless poetry? Don’t go and hug the nearest tree, write something yourself instead.
- Cat videos? Slap some emulsion on the nearest wall and sit and watch that.
- Nothing on the telly except another repeat of ‘Escape to The Grand Location, Location In The Sun Under The Hammer Celebrity Makeover Rescue Force’? Oh, to Hell with it, just shoot me now.