Thoughts on…Boredom (My Response)

Ever feel like you need to get something off your chest? Sometimes I’ve just gotta talk it out. That’s why I’ve decided to do a monthly feature called “Thoughts On…” At the beginning of the month, I’ll provide a prompt to stimulate discussion. The point is to get us to put our thoughts out there – writing it all down can be quite cathartic. If you want to keep your writing private, that’s your thing and I won’t question it. If you’re ready to put it all out there, I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments. At the end of the month I’ll provide my own thoughts on the topic of the month. Think of it as a book club for writing.


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When you’re dealing with New York winters, it’s easy to get bored.  You can’t bear to deal with the cold so you just stay indoors and after so many hours of Netflix, it hits you: you’re BORED.  There are so many better options than scrolling through Instagram or watching episode after episode of Real Housewives.  We just need to motivate ourselves to get out there and do stuff.

I liked that article about the “I’m Bored Jar” because nobody likes whiners.  However, instead of using it as a repository for ideas, I would use it like a swear jar – one for annoying kids instead of vulgar ones.  Anytime they complain they’re bored, they have to give up some cold hard cash.  That’ll get em using their imagination.

I don’t have kids so I don’t actually have one of these jars, but I have very little patience with myself when it comes to boredom so I still employ the same tactic.  Instead of a jar, I keep a running list of ideas in the Notes app on my phone.  Anytime I feel an attack of boredom coming  on, I look at my list and cross off one of the items.  Some of the things that have appeared on my list are:

  • Try a new recipe.  Even if you need to pick up a few ingredients, you can always find a recipe that requires no more than the bodega staples found within a 1 block radius.  This was how I learned to bake muffins and discovered a favorite pasta dish.
  • Try a new restaurant.  This was exactly how I discovered The Brindle Room, one of my favorite restaurants, about six years ago.
  • Read a book (preferably in a local coffee shop or while laying out on the roof)
  • Write a book (also preferably in a local coffee shop)
  • Pick up coffee and a Sunday Times and spread it all out on the bed.  It takes forever to read.
  • Check out a museum exhibit
  • Research and create a neighborhood tour with the goal of taking photos of cool spots.  Think: graffiti tour of the Lower East Side, tour of West Village brownstones and their unique front doors, etc.
  • Doodle.  Adult coloring books are big right now.
  • Listen to podcasts.  Combine with doodling [above].  Can be done at home or in the park.
  • Go to an indie film.  Sneak in a fun snack like Pinkberry or bubble tea.

This list is helpful because it keeps me from falling back on the standby of just going to a bar.  After a while, even that gets boring.  You either want to do some sort of activity or you need to dry out.  That’s where my list comes in handy.

This is not to say that I don’t sit around with no agenda beyond a good tv binge.  Sometimes I’m just mentally exhausted.  If I’ve had a long week are a busy weekend, a good veg session is warranted.  That’s when I crave boredom…only it’s not boring because I don’t do it all the time.