International House Of Slaw: Boredom results from too much time

It wasn't long ago that I, along with many other college students, was cramming for finals and complaining about the lack of time I had to study.

I was able to prod myself onward, though, by dangling the carrot of semester break in front of me. No matter how bad finals were, I could tell myself that when it was all over, I would have three weeks without tests, projects and classes.

I was right.

Finals ended and break began. My hectic days were replaced with whole days on a couch.

It was wonderful.

I did not have a care in the world. There were no papers to hand in or exams to study for. My life revolved around me and my nothingness.

Then it all went wrong.

About four days into the break, while I should have been enjoying my freedom, an evil presence stirred within me. It made me restless and cantankerous. (I have waited so long to use that word.)

I knew this feeling well. It was boredom.

Soon, I was begging for something to do. I went shopping for no good reason. I cleaned things multiple times. I even started running! All of this because I had too much time on my hands.

Hadn't I (only a week ago) been complaining about not having enough time? Yet I seemed to have far too much. Why did time have to taunt me so?

Why was time being such a jerk?

Then I realized that time is just a jerk all the time.

I can think of very few points in my life where I have felt like I had the exact right number of ticks of the clock. In most instances, I have precious little, like during finals, or an exorbitant amount, like during Christmas break.

Time's jerkiness probably stems from the mass confusion that accompanies being "time." Think about it. What is time really? It isn't something concrete, like a monkey or a shoe. Sure we measure it, but that's only so we have the slightest idea of what is going on during a day.

Even veiled in this cloud of mystery, "time" has an obvious hold on our lives. It controls where we are when, how quickly we move, and often what we will do next. It is nothing, yet everything at the same time.

Because of this harsh enigma, I have come to sympathize with "time." He can't really be blamed for his actions. "Time" marches on, possibly against his will, without being able to stop or change speeds. He is at the mercy of what he is.

Just like we are at the mercy of what we are. We are merely human. At times, we will feel hurried and busy. At others, we will feel like we are bored and have nothing to do. This all seems to go with another human phenomenon: we are never completely satisfied.

Maybe one day we'll figure out how to manage time. Maybe one day we'll figure out how to avoid being busy and bored. Maybe one day we'll figure out what we really want.

Maybe, when the time is right.

Write to Cole at cpmcgrath@bsu.edu


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