Who Are All These Bored People?

Honestly, how do people have this much free time, and how can I be like them?

Because I can tell you, I haven’t been “bored” since about 2006.

Feeling bored all too often lately? It seems that many folks might need to get out a bit more and inject some fun into their lives. A survey of 2,000 Americans finds that for the average adult, more than a third of their year is spent mired in boredom.

For the survey, the researchers defined a boring day as one that involved simply no fun at all. After averaging out responses of all participants, they calculated that Americans experience 131 boring days annually. They reached that number by converting the average “percentage of a typical week that is not fun/boring/dreaded” — which was 36% — into hours per week, or 60.48 hours. They multiplied that by 52 weeks in a year, then converted it into days: 131.04 boring or unfun days in a year.

I understand that this takes work into account, as the article points out later, but work is something you have to do, and doesn’t count as “downtime.” So I’m skeptical about this study’s ultimate conclusion, but still: 131 boring days annually?

Full-time, “adult” responsibilities, particularly work and parenting, appear to be sucking the fun out of American adults’ lives. The results showed that 60% of participants believe their life is just too “grown-up.” In fact, 73% miss aspects of what they remember from childhood, such as spending time with friends (50%), fewer responsibilities (52%), and attending birthday parties (25%).

The survey, sponsored by bowling alley chain Bowlero, asked adults what they’d rather be doing other than work and day-to-day responsibilities. As it turns out, many people would rather break out their inner-child. About two in five (39%) respondents agreed they’d prefer a night out bowling instead of going to an exercise class. A quarter would rather spend the afternoon at the arcade than at brunch. And one in five would choose to have a sleepover with friends than going to the movies.

Life is hard and stressful and not always fun. But that’s how it is. You have to work for what you want, and it makes you value the good times all the more.

Having a family will teach you this.

In perhaps related news, the average video gamer is 33 years old.

Back to boredom:

“Fun is really about the escape – breaking away from daily stressors and focusing on enjoying the moment,” says Colie Edison, Bowlero Corp’s Chief Customer Officer, in a statement.

When asked about their fun levels over the last three years, over 20% said 2018 was less fun overall than the previous three years. Many surveyed cited stress as a major role in their fun drought. About half of those surveyed (49%) found 2018 more stressful than 2017. Three in ten feel their average day is generally stressful.

Life is stressful, has always been stressful, and will always be stressful. We live in unprecedented soft times where our big health concern is that we sit too much, and where endless entertainment is viewed as our God-given right, and anything disrupting that is Bad and Wrong.

But there is a hidden opportunity here: there is nothing wrong with escapism. There is nothing wrong with recapturing the eyes and sense of wonder you had as a child, if only for a moment.

Look, I’m no better. I’m a grown man who writes action/adventure/fantasy/sci-fi fiction. Why?

Because I enjoy it, and even more, I like to try and provide some entertainment, food for thought, and thrills for anyone who still reads books. As when I played music, I want to positively impact someone’s life, if only for a moment, and give them a little extra bounce in their step and their soul as the continue with their day.

It seems like a tall order, but I’m a dreamer. I wouldn’t be a writer otherwise.

And since the human lifespan is projected to hit triple-digits on average, and we’re all going to have to live underground according to the Fear and Nonsense Merchants, there’s going to be a high demand for reading material when you’re spending your 131 bored days per year times 100 years sitting in your underground bunker without enough power to play video games.

In other possibly related news, see my review of the classic short story The Machine Stops.

“A Very Interesting and Thought Provoking Debut Novel”


  1. In medieval times, children assumed adult responsibilities before they became teenagers. Take my advice that we should only allow our children to play their video games if they can budget the time to play them among their chores and other duties.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Same here. Though the country I current live in, the teachers abuse the homework and my wife likes to give extra work.
        In the end, one of the best virtues we can teach the kids is persistence. No matter how much work sucks get it down and enjoy the spare time.


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting quotes from the article:

    “Full-time, “adult” responsibilities, particularly work and parenting”

    “As it turns out, many people would rather break out their inner-child…”

    With parenting everyday you get to breakout the inner-child! Seems like adults who actually mean they want to shun their responsibilities to mess about doing what they want.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this boredom thing stems mostly from stupidity. Morons are easily bored. Intelligent people and those with active imagination tend to have the opposite problem: too many interesting things to do, learn, and think about, not enough time.

    By the way, are you SURE there will be enough light to read by in these climate change bunkers? I’d rather die up top in the prescribed 12-year time frame than live in a socialist utopia with nothing to read. (If there’s nothing fun to read, by definition it can’t be any kind of utopia.)

    Liked by 1 person

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