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What Shall I Do Now

Sweden-boredom-dusk-BTI have come to this place to be bored. It is a little corner in the southwest of Sweden where boats gently rock against the shingled shore. It is a landscape of barren beauty, where the summer sun lingers reluctant to bid farewell. 

Sweden-boredom-harbor-BTThere aren’t any monuments to dissect, no grand natural features to explore. I’m not on the hunt for any interesting stories. My days will be simple rounds of perambulating the wharf, stopping into the grocery, and watching from my window as a motley of meteorological cloaks garb the maritime topography. I’m looking to be mired in a repetitive cycle of quotidian tasks. I’m anticipating the moment when the excitement of observing the island’s single ferry docking will wear off. 

Sweden-boredom-houses-BTThe locals, descendants of Viking fisherfolk, guard their privacy here. Aside from pleasant nods during my morning walks, they leave me to myself. There are a few books in the house to occupy me, there is a television. However, I don’t plan on using either. Even my journal lies unopened. 

Sweden-boredom-roofs-BTI’m doing nothing on purpose. I’m endeavoring to overcome my inner voice berating me for being unproductive. I’m applying myself to monotony, giving my faculties a chance to lay fallow. Like the seagulls whirring round the pier, I’m attempting satisfaction with existence. This is a time-out — a concept of punishment I never understood because it seemed to me a reward, a chance to be alone with my thoughts, to steep in my mental disarray. 

Sweden-boredom-sailing-BTIn the precious hollow of this boredom I’m hoping new dreams will hatch. Perhaps the tide’s tedious swishing will unfurl hidden communities. Perhaps the repetitive clanging of rope against mast can enliven lost senses. On the other hand, no fruit may bear from my dormancy. I will make peace with that too. 

Sweden-boredom-rain-BTMy period of inactivity, of sitting in pause mode, isn’t a process. It is a short-term goal. A different way to be for me. I’m carving out a linear portion in time’s infinite loop, devoting that slice to cognitive wandering, an uncomfortable session with the space inside my brain. This will be another form of traveling, a journey into my interior landscapes.

Sweden-boredom-window-BTUnfamiliar places can be wonderful. Novel experiences can be invigorating. But, I also long for those childhood summer months when my family and friends simply let me vegetate. There were no reading lists to accomplish, no supplementary lessons, no extracurricular pursuits, no planned escapades. I would hide out, unseen from adults and playmates, to daydream. From these reveries would spew forth rocket designs, fantasy tales, fortress blueprints, mystery plots. 

Sweden-boredom-yachts-BTI’m embracing that release which boredom grants me. I’m appreciating the disengagement, the not wanting. Who knows if I’ll devise grand schemes to fashion an empire or people the pages of my next book? The serpentine circuitry to that destination will be marvelous. 



Daydreaming is enjoyable in a cozy Swedish interior. Swedish style today is synonymous with the national brand IKEA, but originated from the creative designs of Karin Bergöö. Educated as a painter, Bergöö transformed her home — Lilla Hyttnäs — into a functional, airy habitation. An innovative artist, Karin eschewed the typical dark, stuffy Victorian decor of the period by introducing the use of unfinished birch furniture, handmade fabrics, and white-and-blue as predominant color palettes.


Is boredom useful to you? What bores you and why? If you wish, tell me in the comments below.

158 replies »

  1. I adored the freedom of unregulated holidays as a child. I love boredom/silence/stillness as an adult but it is so easy to feel guilty when one indulges in this sort of ‘non-activity’. I applaud your Swedish stay.

  2. What a gorgeously written post complimented by equally rich photos. Yes to boredom! As you might already know, especially in lieu of my latest social media and phone post, that many these days fight boredom with their phones. In fact, I think what they experience instead is frustration if anything. But there are too many distractions for them to feel “without something to do” and embrace it.

    I spent a lot of time alone growing up despite having a sibling. And I fell in love with reading at the right age, so spending time alone is necessary, required, and cherished.

    But what bores me? Waiting. Since I live overseas, there are times when I have to wait a looongg time, and after a certain point, like an hour and a half later, I hate it.

    • Thank you! Waiting in lines is usually no fun, but I try to spend the time people-watching as a way to combat the frustration. I do agree with you that our current culture puts a premium on always having something to do, and vilifies the idea of the stasis mode. Thanks so much for your insights.

  3. I am never bored, but I do love the opportunity to just be quiet and have nothing to do. I would love more of it in my life (preferably near water.) Thank you for these lovely photos; they were, indeed, very peaceful, and I, too, would have enjoyed the simple repetitions of the sea, the life in this town. Actually, it sounds like heaven.

    • Ah, doing nothing by the water is always so wonderful isn’t it. Thank you for stopping by with your lovely comment! Wishing you more opportunities ahead to sit quietly beside the waters.

  4. Some people have a very hard time doing nothing when they travel. It seems as though they are afraid that if they stop, they will miss something grand. I do hope that some new dreams were hatched in Sweden.

    • I used to have that fear too! It’s been life-changing being able to ignore that voice and allow myself to immerse in a place, to get to know it, and therefore truly enjoy myself there.

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