There are three phrases that let us know summer is officially here: “There’s nothing to do,” “I’m bored” and “It’s too hot to do anything.” Yes, the children are home from school.
After days crammed with structure, activities, schedules and a vast array of projects, the kids are trying to figure out ways to fill the void before their summer vacation ends. My grandkids like to get into as much mischief as possible. I think they aren’t alone.
On the topic of boredom, a group of Johns Hopkins researchers claim boredom is a major problem for people of all ages. It is the guiding force behind any number of “problem” behaviors in children, the cause of midlife crises in adults and depression in the elderly.
Many people don’t realize their routines lack challenge, and they end up being “terminally” unfulfilled.
Boredom sets in gradually, like a slow-moving storm. Evidently, this leads to all manner of “unhealthy behaviors,” from overeating to doing “crazy things” just for the heck of it.
One of my colleagues dyed her brown hair bright red (looks fabulous) and my neighbor purchased a Corvette (he regrets it), both claiming “boredom” was the reason.
A bored housewife in China spent years falsifying Russian history on Wikipedia in one of the largest hoaxes on the open-source platform. She created an entire fictitious world millions believed till the scam was exposed last month. I guess we could say boredom could end up costing big bucks, substantially changing our looks or altering historical facts.
Boredom can lead to creativity. Many fantastic musicians were lonely as children, with nothing more than an instrument to keep them company. The great B.B. King was left home alone during summer months, so he picked up his uncle’s guitar at age 7 and started “strumming to fight off boredom.” The rest is history.
Artists, inventors, writers and musicians often mastered their talents when faced with the prospect of having “nothing much to do.” Perhaps our kids need a few musical instruments lying around instead of video games.
I have a friend whose husband of 35 years left her because he said he felt his life was getting “dull, routine and boring.” OK, so what’s that got to do with your wife? Isn’t boredom a personal problem? Psychologists claim adult boredom is a “mental state of mind” usually stemming from lack of purpose, not lack of excitement.
We can find plenty of boredom-busting things to do this summer. There are books to read, movies to watch, guitars to strum, volunteer jobs available, fences to paint, pets to pamper, fish to catch and new things to learn. It just takes a little effort to fight the “blahs.”
With a little creativity, a challenge and something new to learn, kids and adults can conquer boredom and the summer doldrums. The good news for kids is school starts soon. We adults better deal with any “blahs” or face serious consequences. But if you ever see me driving around town in a Corvette with red hair, you will know I need help.