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I'm prepping for an out of town trip and making a list of things to bring. The trip involves a ten-hour bus ride (back and forth) and five days staying at a place where I am uncertain how good the internet will be and for most of the days of the trip we don't have any planned agenda. As such, my checklist always includes a decent amount of entertainment, including offline ones where possible. For this trip, I'm planning to bring:

  • a Nintendo Switch, with at least two offline single-player games
  • a tablet with ebooks/comics I can read
  • an actual physical book
  • at least 5 films downloaded on my phone's Netflix app for offline viewing
  • a notebook for sketching
  • my laptop, where I can still work on stuff offline even if there's no internet

This seems a bit overkill, especially since more likely than not there will be decent internet available. It's very likely I don't end up consuming most of this entertainment. It happens every time I travel - loading movies and tv episodes on the phone, etc, but by the end of the trip I haven't watched most or any of them. There's always something to do - people to see, places to visit - that all this is probably unnecessary.

This reminds me how in the modern world we have an abundance of options for how we can spend our time. Granted, many of these options are available to me because I enjoy a certain amount of privilege. But even without the expensive gadgets one still has a lot of options for passing the time - books are cheap and easily available for example. And most people have cellphones that let you play a game or two even without internet.

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. -- Susan Ertz

Back when I was still working a regular 9-to-5 (more like 9-to-9 a lot of days actually), people would be surprised when I would save up my vacation days and take weeks or even a month off at a time. People will commonly ask "Won't you get bored with all that free time?"

How? I want to respond to those people. Life offers us so much. Stories to enjoy, books to read, movies to watch, TV shows to binge. And that's just on the consumption side of it. If that's not your thing, the world also offers places to explore, people to meet, skills to learn and so on. You can even indulge in creation yourself; you can write, you can draw, you can paint, you can code, you can express yourself through boundless imagination, adding even more to the world for other people to experience. The world offers us endless experiences, how can we be bored?

I think a lot of the time, when people complain about boredom, it's more along the line of "I don't know what to do with myself." There are a lot of people who feel like if they didn't have school or work or society telling them what to do next, they'd have no idea what they should be doing. If you find yourself in that position, with that freedom to choose what to do with yourself, consider it a privilege not many people get to enjoy, to do with as you will. The world offers you so much, just choose something and go. (As long as you're not hurting other people of course.)

I suppose it helps to be comfortable with yourself, to be confident enough to pick up something new without thinking you might be judged for wasting your time. Not everything has to be a side hustle or whatever. Why should you care? Life is short and is ours to enjoy. The time is yours to waste, and if you enjoy whatever it is you choose to do, it is not wasted. And if you did not enjoy it, you still learned something with time you didn't know how to use, so it is still not wasted.

Previously: Time > Money (2007), Free Time (2010), How Can I Become Less Bored With Life (2016), I Feel Bored All The Time, What Should I Do? (2016)

Mon, July 4, 2022, 2:36 p.m. / / blog / / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 👍 1 / 707 words

Last modified at: July 4, 2022, 3:47 p.m. Source file

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