My favourite thought of the week comes from an interview by the educator and author Erika Christakis to the National Public Radio: I think boredom can be a friend to the imagination. Later in this same interview Christakis says: I think that’s very unrealistic and probably not a good idea to aspire to being comfortable all the time.
A couple of years ago I moved to a small, quiet town in the South of France. I had no friends there, no family, except for my husband, no occupations, except for an unfulfilling survival job. I felt very lonely and utterly bored. All my life I tried to escape loneliness and boredom, then they became my constant companions. Wherever I went, they went with me, whatever I did, they were right there by my side – my boredom and my loneliness. At first I feared them, then I loathed them, but slowly I got used to them.
Because I had nothing to do and no one to do it with, it didn’t really matter now I killed my time. I walked to the beach, I biked around, I smelled, I laid on the grass and watched the clouds form and dissolve in the blue sky of Provence. I started noticing things: tiny, unimportant details that people never see on the run. Then I started telling stories. At first they were short, clumsy fragments without a proper plot or ending, slowly they grew more sophisticated. I inhabited my long lonely hours with fantastic creatures. At first I told my stories to myself – nobody else was there to listen. Then I started sharing them online. I wrote my first book, then the second one. I was still bored and lonely and sometimes extremely miserable, but I was happy.
Everyone has a story of how they became their true self. Mine, surprisingly, is about being bored and lonely. It’s about befriending my worst enemies and accepting my defeats. What is yours about?