I happily practice an art which I find highly necessary, that of doing nothing. It is, in my opinion the natural continuation in one’s adult life of an art I practiced as a child, that of boredom.
I was an only daughter for many years, as my siblings only came along when I was in my late teens, so I had all the time in the world to be bored out of my mind. This activity, which at first seems so very unexciting gave birth to an intense feeling of curiosity (children like boredom but not for more than two minutes, so they look. And so they find).
This probably explains why my personal education is a little strange.
At seven, I jumped out the window of the second floor with two umbrellas to know what it felt like to fly (very interesting experiment but the fall from two floors is much too quick).
For my eleventh Christmas, I asked for François Bluche’s 1056 page historical biography of the French king Louis XIV. Total dismay in the eyes of my father and step-mother.
At twelve, I had read all of my grandmother’s library (from Victor Hugo to the Kamasutra) and I was starting to develop a talent for piecing together all the information about subjects I was passionate about (digital life was clearly not there yet).
At 14, my cinematographic culture was quasi-complete (from the The Leopard to the erotic series Emanuelle) and by the age of 16, I worked every summer. It was less about the money and more about discovering new horizons.
This primary boredom pushed me towards greater discoveries, inside and out.
I now push my children towards boredom, hoping they make beautiful discoveries and engage in creative activities. I abhor our time, which turns our children into little ministers with overbooked agendas.
Boredom and laziness are intimately linked in my adult mind. Just like it is vital to be bored, it is crucial to be a little lazy sometimes, to let go, to reject hyperactivity and pseudo-perfection at all times, which are our objectives in modern times.
(Are you actually instantly available for a business lunch this week? Shame on you.
Your daughter only has one extra-curricular activity a week? Shame on you.
You leave the office before 8 pm? Shame on you.
You haven’t done anything special this weekend? Shame on you.)
I am not a tiger mum. My children don’t have thousands of social activities. I accept that they are sometimes tired, less focused, that they need to lounge a bit, because I do too.
I do not wish for them to achieve an incredible career but rather incredible human accomplishment. This calls for time, distance and reflexion.
As an adult, that’s all I do when I laze about on my couch not doing anything specific: I take the time to be bored. My mind wanders about and it is a marvelous experience.
Weill top – JCrew jeans – Kenzo flat shoes