Learning to be bored

A friend said to me once that there were lots of things that I didn’t enjoy (that he did) simply because I hadn’t yet “learned how to be bored properly”. I think he said as a joke at the time (we were discussing jazz which he loves and I don’t really get) but since then I have often thought about that remark and the more I think about it the more truth it seems to hold.

I think quite a lot of ‘grown up’ or ‘long form’ cultural experiences require a certain amount of tolerance on the part of the audience. A lot of these things were created to be experienced before broadcast media even existed, before attention spans began to tumble in (reported) length and before there was an expectation for immediacy in almost every part of everyday life.

Maybe what I’m trying to describe is some combination of patience and wisdom, the patience to endure the boring bits because you know there will be something brilliant just round the corner. Or perhaps it could be better understood as having a bit more of an idea of the bigger picture, i.e. “I am perfectly happy to experience this quiet/uneventful/non-descript/verbose/unengaging element because I understand how it fits into the wider experience”. Something to do with only properly appreciating the highs if you have some idea of what they’re high in relation to.

Clearly there are lots of other factors to consider such as education and previous experiences so this is a poorly-formed and unfinished thought, but one I wanted to try and articulate. I’m interested if it strikes a chord with anyone else?

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