When I first moved to Perth in 2011, I thought the boredom would end my life. I know it’s crass to use hyperbole, but I feel prone to in this instance because there’s something about boredom that lulls me into a supine, stupid state that I imagine is much like death. I felt this particularly so five years ago, partly because I was to resume living with my parents in a suburban nightmare where not even a post office was present, and partly because I’d just moved from Sydney’s eclectic nightlife district of Newtown. I’d grown used to having everything at my doorstep – public transport, the best eateries in town, cocktail bars, and if I’d ever felt the need, a special massage parlour beneath my apartment and smack dealers on my doorstep. Everything within spitting distance. What ever was I to do in Kwinana, a surburb in Perth where not even the taxis would frequent?
I, however, didn’t allow myself to get bored: I took up photography, I started a blog, I worked part-time in retail selling designer sunglasses, and I made it my mission to be everyone’s friend. I designed myself a life where boredom was not an option. I’d self-imposed a life of busyness.
I’ve written before about the tedium of busyness, and my torturous relationship with the affliction of being rushed off one’s feet. I’m prone, like everyone else, to overloading my plate with many a delicious task, if only so that I have a litany of examples to demonstrate my effectiveness as a person.
And this year, as I do most years at Christmas, I visited Perth with busyness top-of-mind. I had a library of things to read, e-courses to complete, blog posts to write and newsletters to broadcast to my subscribers. How many things have you planned to do this Christmas? Am I the only one who uses ‘off’ time to catch up on work-related matters?
I haven’t been very successful in ticking anything off my to-do list. You see, when you’re a self-employed copywriter, you find that holidays end up involving work. If you’re like me, you know how common it is to use the poolside as your desk for the day.
But instead of gluing my laptop to my pelvis, I’ve spent most of my time in WA with my Macbook under my bed, totally out of sight.
Instead, I found reprieve in taking post-breakfast naps, post-nap naps, lazing about in hammocks, hiring a stand-up paddle board only to find myself lying on my back in the ocean, half-heartedly paddling with my hands. The only time I made an effort to do anything was to chase down an ice cream van.
It’s been thoroughly enjoyable, this boredom that I’ve allowed to come into my life. Usually, when I do give myself the time to luxuriate in mental and physical space, I end up with a vast amount of epiphanies that spur some sort of life change.
This occasion has been lacking in the light bulb moments, but that sits comfortably with me.
Sometimes, it’s just nice to be bored.