OPINION: Only boring people are bored

I truly don’t know how people are bored. It actually irks me to hear people complain of boredom. My brain is constantly coming up with things and I can make any one of them running around in there stop at any given second and explore it. It’s like my superpower, and I didn’t even realize I had this superpower until the world stopped and had the time to realize it. 

I’ll read, watch, write, then talk to someone about the thing. If I don’t have someone to talk about the thing with, I’ll turn to Reddit. There are tons of people to talk to over there about lots of things. 

And then I start all over with a new thing. 

I’ll literally run the things into the ground and spend hours doing so. I usually don’t though. I usually bounce around from thing to thing to thing and then circle back to any given thing later on. I always have several things in the air to choose from and therefore never get bored.

Just like on my computer browser, my brain has about 10 different tabs open at all times. It’s just a matter of which one I want to open and scroll through. 

Ever since the beginning of quarantine, people have flocked to social media to scroll. Among posting Tik Tok dances, plates of food with the hashtag #quarantinecooking and carousels of memories with the caption “missing this” that I can’t help but read in a whiny voice, people are posting about how bored they are. 

These people, in my opinion, are boring.  

Take social media. In 2019, people spent on average 144 minutes scrolling a social networking site per day, according to Statista. Anyone with a smartphone can figure out what their personal record is. My social media consumption, in one day, was three hours and 37 minutes. 

You might be sitting there, reading this, thinking, “Wait a second, she’s scrolling on her phone all day and claiming to not be bored?” Yes, that’s correct.

While I do spend a lot of time doing things other than scroll — like taking aimless walks — I also admittedly spend a lot of time scrolling. I, however, feel as though I have a unique relationship with social media that I wish others had too. That is, I’m an active consumer of social media content. 

What this means is anytime I open an app, I am consciously consuming whatever it is I am consuming, be it an exercise video or a meme making fun of an exercise video. 

Because of this, I often react in one way or another to said video. My reaction can be as small as a like or as big as a comment. The point is, I’m engaged and therefore, I’m engaging. 

I wasn’t always this way. I used to mindlessly scroll through social media for hours and wonder why I felt depressed when I reached the notification stating, “you’re all caught up.” Oh the mockery of those four words. 

I realized that the more time I spent on social media, specifically Instagram, the unhappier I was. So, I quit. In August 2018, I took a year-long hiatus from Instagram.

Alicia Goluszka | The DePaulia

The breakup was tough at first. Like an ex, I couldn’t quite let go. I kept that rainbow icon offloaded for a while, so it was merely a dim rainbow icon, begging me to tap it and re-download it again. 

One day, I finally deleted it from my phone but kept it on my iPad. It was like unfollowing an ex but still lurking on their social media every once in a while. You tell yourself you’re unaffected by it, that you’re just curious. But until you change the consciousness that put you in that state of being in the first place — whether that state depression or anxiousness or whatever — then can you solve your problems. Einstein said that, or a version of that, first, not me.

After a month of teasing myself, logging on and off and on and off, I finally deactivated my account and didn’t turn back for a whole year. 

During that time, I was still pretty depressed. It wasn’t until I went back onto Instagram, a year later, and realized how much my attitude had changed. 

I didn’t care how many likes I received; I didn’t care who watched my stories. I did whatever the hell I wanted. As a result, I was much happier. 

One of the things that I did by choice when I returned was connect with people. Like actually connect with people. I continue to do so now more than ever, which is why quarantine has been anything less than boring for me. 

By week two in quarantine, I had started a group chat with old camp friends. We bonded over Bon Appetit test kitchen videos, as one does. 

During week three, an old high school friend accidentally FaceTimed me and we ended up chatting for two hours. During our second FaceTime session, we conferenced in our friend we had English class with junior year. It was a delight. 

Every day, I’m connecting with strangers on Twitter, and over time, they’ve become less like strangers and more like family. I often joke that if you’re my Twitter friend, my IRL friends know about you too. 

I even connected with my neighbor via social media.

On one of my aimless walks, I happened upon a patch of wet cement. Being me, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to draw in the wet cement, so I grabbed a nearby stick and scrawled my Instagram handle. I also wrote “wash ur hands” as a friendly PSA. 

The next day, a girl messaged me, replying to my Instagram story, saying that she saw my username on the sidewalk and was glad because my content was making her laugh. Her message made my day. We continued messaging back and forth and made plans to connect in the future. 

The reason I’ve been able to forge these relationships via social media, besides tagging my handle in cement, is because I am actively consuming it and enjoying it. 

This isn’t to say that I sometimes click on to Twitter and Instagram and become annoyed. Trust me, I do. But when those feelings creep back in, I click off and find something else to do because there are countless other things to do. 

Review every place you’ve ever been on Yelp, and review every item you’ve ever bought on Amazon. Make origami; learn how to make your towels into the shape of swans and then hold a wedding ceremony for your swan towels. Read a book, read an article, read Reddit. But also write. Write lists, write songs, write letters to your future self to open in five, 10 and 15 years. 

You’re not bored, you’re just not being mindful. If you take a second and dig a little deeper into the confines of your mind — without making yourself crazy of course — you just might be able to rid yourself of your boredom.