Growing up, I used to have plenty of time. Time that I’d either spend doing something constructive things or doing nothing. These days, the definition of doing nothing has changed. It means time that’s utilized to stare at the phone or a gadget aimlessly while waiting for things to happen, or while things are happening, or none of that. I have been trying to insert some activity into my life during all my waking hours and keep myself occupied in some manner that seems to convince my inner self that I’m utilizing the time well while in reality, it’s the exact opposite that’s happening.
The endless scrolling on a device and switching between multiple apps and browser tabs in search of a shiny new thing to look at has become a habit whenever there’s a spare minute. What this has done is that there’s no empty room in the mind and I’m always thinking about something or the other. This also means that I’m not giving my mind enough time to wander and process a lot of the information that I consume during this time. The constant dopamine flow also results in feeling disinterested in the normal and what was once exciting, especially when it comes to life’s simple joys like enjoying a cup of coffee with its aroma, flavours and all the nuts and bolts of it, or learning a new thing. It has become all about being always switched on and worrying that I’d miss out on something shiny as soon as it arrives.
Growing up, I used to be bored. I’d have times during the day or week when I’d have zero company, no assignments to do, no lessons to revise etc. In such times, all I could do was pick up a user manual of an obsolete device I may have read multiple times and see if I could find something new in it. Those times made me come back more motivated and energized when I had things to do because that acted as a means to recharge. I was in the moment while doing homework, or listening to music, or playing sports with the neighbour kids.
These days, I have forgotten what it is to be bored. The constantly connected digital world has given me (and all of us) ways to be connected forever. While this looks great on paper or a computer screen, I’m missing out on more by trying to not miss out. I yearn for the pockets of doing nothing. My goal for 2021 is to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing nothing.