Bored. This is a word that I really really dislike. A symptom of too much 'stuff'. Too much surplus entertainment that we don't need; too much TV, too many gadgets, too many distractions from real life. Too much existing and not enough living. Not enough getting out there and seeking what the world has to offer; simply waiting (often in front of a TV, despite there being 'nothing on') for something to come along.
There is something really special about just being. Being somewhere, alone, with no headphones, no distraction from surroundings or thoughts. Simply content to walk and think, take in the world and let time pass by with complete serentiy. Of course this doesn't have to be outside; in the kitchen looking out of the window, in a coffee shop watching others pass by, on a train observing other passengers; I see this time alone with my thoughts as some of the most precious time I spend. Sometimes (in fact, often) it comes to me when I'm running - I find myself somewhere, running, without knowing exactly how I got there. One of the (many) reasons why I don't listen to music when I run. I don't listen to music when I cook or knit, either.
After long weekends as a child moaning about being bored to my parents (I lived quite far from the other school kids and day trips to the countryside certainly weren't my idea of fun, back then!), I long since learned the value of time to myself, without distraction. In fact, I am often more uninterested when presented with a distraction now - a film I'm not 100% interested in, a board game that isn't Trivial Pursuit, a TV programme that isn't University Challenge - than I am when given a large space in which I can 'just be'. The activities I really like are those which allow plenty of time for thinking - stirring cake batter, running down dirt tracks, chopping onions, knitting, cycling - and I'm convinced that the reason I'm so passionate about these activities is partly due to the space that they provide, away from the rest of the world.
So, boredom. I'm still here, in bed, peering out through the window into the grey morning. I've admired the terrace mansion accross the way, imagined the excitement of Christmas holidays for the children living there (it looks like a wonderful house to grow up in, it really does). I've admired the gardens and daydreamed about having a garden of my own, as well as considering what to do with our lovely yard once the winter has passed. I've watched the seagulls soaring around outside and seen the beauty of the afternoon sun setting over the houses. I've thought about January, about how beautiful it is and how there is a sense of optimism hanging in the cold air. I've thought over and over about the hills and long roads on which I will run and cycle in the coming months, and the new things I want to cook in the coming weeks. But now I am starting to falter. I see the piles of clothes mounting, the bed that needs changing, the ironing pile that is growing underneath my Bagpuss hot water bottle cover (not a very cunning disguise, I must say). My thoughts are fading and I feel a serious need to act, rather than simply sitting and waiting. I don't know whether it's boredom, or frustration, or most likely a combination of the two. All I know is that 2011 is here and I haven't seen it yet - I'm longing for my fresh start, my head-on jump into a new year packed with hopes and intentions and changes. Hopefully this delay will leave me with more vigour when it comes to finally acting on my hopes for the year; I've had enough apathy for one year already, and we're only one week in!