The Fear of Boredom
Yawn. I used to dread that reaction in my peers. Did that mean that I did something wrong? Did that mean that I was not interesting? Did that mean that I was boring?
Oh the horror. Imagine that. This fear of boredom was a bit crippling in me back then. Not of being bored. But of being boring.
I’m not sure how this fear got instilled upon me back then. It probably had something to do with my lack of confidence in the latter years of college, when the trials and tribulations of the Engineering School humbled me to such an extent.
Everyone was so smart over there. So talented, and I felt near the lower half of the pack. The take-home assignments were mind boggling and many times I found myself copying the work of my smarter peers.
It was humbling to say the least, and a bit embarrassing that I would resort to such measures.
Anyways, I guess this fear of the yawn just gradually grew without notice inside me. And before I knew it, I found myself trying too hard in social situations.
Trying to be “funny”. Trying to be “interesting”. Injecting myself into social situations where it would’ve probably been better if I just stayed silent and listened.
And staying silent in moments where it probably would’ve served me better to speak up. I was quite awkward to say the least.
In fact, I’d say that I was more awkward then I was boring. It was kind of a mish-mash of the two.
And this insecurity in social situations followed me around for multiple years before I was able to get a hold of it.
In my first job right out of college, I found it hard to talk to others for the fear of being boring. For the fear of eliciting a yawn from whomever I was conversing with.
I was too engrossed in the need to impress. The need to seem charismatic. And it affected the efficiency of my work. I was posing too much.
This fear has admittedly gotten better over the years. I don’t find myself trying too hard to be interesting anymore. To be funny. To be Conan O’ Brien or anything like that.
I’m just myself. And that is most of the times enough. If someone finds me uninteresting, that’s okay. If someone finds me boring, that’s fine too.
No big deal. The world is not going to end. The Earth isn’t going to crash into the Moon. The universe will keep on going and the planets will keep on spinning.
I guess back then, it was my ego taking a hit and trying to grasp onto certain character traits that I saw in the media - like on TV. The hero or the heroine just seemed so smooth in all their actions. One scene flowed seamlessly into the next scene. Every conversation had a purpose.
I was almost conditioned to believe that life is supposed to happen that way. A drama-filled show from beginning to end. One with no awkwardness, no boredom, and with excitement at every twist and turn.
I’m not trying to blame it on the media or anything like that. After all, they’re in the business of entertainment. And being boring is not a death knell by any means.
If anything, all this hardship we’ve been going through as a world over these past few months has put a little more perspective on boredom.
In times like these, a little bit of boredom can be a good thing. I’d take being bored over being sent to the hospital for coronavirus any day of the week.
I’d take being bored over worrying whether a family or friend has the virus. I’d take being bored over more news about death and pain rippling across New York City.
And sometimes, these times reinforce more appreciation of the mundane. Staying at home. With family. Zooming with friends. Watching Youtube shows. Binge-watching Netflix.
Yawn-inducing activities that make you want to fall asleep. Reading a book. Watching video-game playthroughs. Taking an online class on accounting. Yawn!
I’d take doing these over anything that is related to the coronavirus. At this point in time, I’d welcome a return to the mundane over the “excitement” elicited by news related to COVID-19.
Mundane. Boring. Being able to fall asleep. I’d take that any day of the week. A return to normalcy is more than welcome, and I hope (like everyone else) that that day can come sooner rather than later.