We used to have a saying in radio that “Boredom is the best friend of creativity.” That is to say, that when you have nothing to do and are bored that is often the time when you come up with the absolute best ideas.
Think about it. When you were a kid and had nothing to do, that was when you’d be the closest to coming up with a fun idea.
Personally, I can remember all kinds of time back in the ‘70s and ‘80s when the TV was taken by my stepdad, and my friends and I were forced to come up with our own means of having fun.
And boy did we have ideas.
I can remember building forts in the woods for days on end with my friends until they had multiple rooms, and building them out of nothing but tree branches and twine, building zip-lines, making actual bows and arrows out of branches too.
I had a double cassette player, the kind most people used to dub mix-tapes. I used it to make radio shows with my own voice and songs recorded straight off actual radio. I’d listen to them too and try and make them better.
My friends and I had games, both inside and outside that would not only entertain us, but would last so long we’d have to put them on hold for dinner, or for the night. Some games could go on for weeks. We had one that went on for years.
With no transportation, except our own feet or bikes, we still managed to get all over town, or even well out in the country. A 30-minute bike ride was an adventure, not a deterrent.
It was common that we’d bike to the north end of town with inner-tubes, jump in the creek until we got to the south side of town, then walk the entire way back to our bikes. We gave little thought of how long it would take. It was something fun to do.
Now, I’m sure at this point someone has said “Those darn kids today.” while they read this, but that is not my point.
It seems to me, we all have grown too dependent on constant entertainment. I know I personally can’t sit down in a waiting room without immediately going for my phone, instead of greeting the folks around me.
There are TVs all over my house, instead of just the living room, and not only do they get hundreds of channels, they also have on-demand content. For that matter, I have a device in my kitchen that will play music, read me the news, or tell me the weather at my beckon call.
So, I’m not trying to say that we used to be better. We weren’t.
What we used to be is bored. Very very bored. Fortunately for us, we were masters at solving that problem. We had an understanding that time with nothing to do was our time. This was the true “free time.”
Take a little time this week to be bored, and see if you can turn it into something fun without using a remote, a phone, or electricity at all.
I think you’ll find it will be the best time you’ve had in awhile.
CHAD HANNON is a lifelong resident of the Illinois Valley, raised in Princeton, and now raising his family in Spring Valley. Many will know him as the former “Dog” from the WALS 102 Morning Doghouse, or as “Qdog” from Q Hit Music. He can be reached by emailing email@example.com.