I 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.
There 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.
The 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.
I’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.
In 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.
My 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.
Unfamiliar 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.
I’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.