Tuesday, February 23, 2021

From Boredom to Beginner

 Maybe it's not that you're bored. It could just be that you're boring.

The pandemic has certainly found us all spending a lot more time with ourselves, and as a result many adults are uttering or feeling something they haven't since they were kids with their mobility and options limited -- "I'm bored."

Plenty of time to do nothing, and plenty of nothing to do. That's how we're feeling. And it has led to some interesting changes and choices for people, everything from sourdough starters to knitting to walking their own neighborhoods that they've never really experienced from the sidewalk. And it's also affected the economy and our finances as "tedium shapes what people buy and how productive we are." In a piece for the New York Times, Sydney Ember reports on "The Boredom Economy" and people like Mark Hawkins who spend a lot of time intentionally doing nothing.

When you have nothing to do, you actually have anything and everything to do, and that can be a pretty neat place to be. Reading about the boredom economy got me thinking about Tom Vanderbilt's book Beginners: The Joy & Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning, which I recently finished and truly enjoyed. Vanderbilt chronicles his novice attempts to acquire new skills and talents including chess, singing, and surfing, but he also provides a vast amount of material and resources about how we learn and why learning new skills is worth our time ... especially if we're bored.

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