Yes, I believe I do! And you? Thaasophobia is the fear of sitting still, of being idle, of being bored. Fear of boredom. Seems strange but I'd venture to guess that many of us experience this to one degree or another. (Okay, maybe fear is a strong word; but certainly uncomfortable enough with it that we keep ourselves so busy we never even come close to being bored!) When I was a kid, I was bored a lot! Remember the feeling of waiting in a line and having nothing to do but get lost in your own thoughts? Or the feeling of sitting in the backseat of a car, looking out the window, just watching the world go by? Or sitting in a class where you spent the whole time daydreaming and didn't hear one word that the teacher said? I didn't necessarily like or appreciate those down times when they were happening, but looking back, I can see how they gave me much needed, built-in time to just be. (Watch Jerry Seinfeld's humorous take on being bored as a kid.)
Of course, the new reality is that most of us now have a whole world of distractions at our fingertips through our mobile devices, which ensures that we never have to be bored, for even a moment! But, there's a cost to this constant distraction. We need time to do nothing, to let our minds wander and wonder. Anna Quindlen writes about this so eloquently in "Doing Nothing is Something". Here's an excerpt --
"Downtime is where we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking at the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop and staring at the tedious blue of the summer sky. I don't believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become an actor without downtime, and plenty of it, a hiatus that passes for boredom but is really the quiet moving of the wheels inside that fuel creativity."
Because those natural lulls don't happen anymore, we might have to create them ourselves. It can be an interesting challenge to experiment with purposefully building in time for yourself (and your kids!) to experience short periods of boredom, just to see what emerges. It may possibly be when your (and their) imagination and creativity come out.
On a related note, there's a book that came out recently, Bored & Brilliant, by Manoush Zomorodi who also produces the excellent podcast Note to Self. I'll be writing more about Note to Self and the Bored & Brilliant challenge in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!