Friday, May 10, 2019

Americans are bored half the year

There's an old saying: "The devil finds work for idle hands." Translation: Those who don't have enough to do often get into trouble by doing things they shouldn't.

This came to mind when I saw a recent Drudge headline: "Americans Mired In Boredom 131 Days A Year, Survey Finds."

For the survey, the researchers defined a boring day as one that involved simply no fun at all. The solution suggested by the article was for people to get out and have more "fun."

"Full-time, 'adult' responsibilities, particularly work and parenting, appear to be sucking the fun out of American adults’ lives," it said. "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%)."

(Hmmmm, methinks the article was written by an extrovert whose concept of "fun" does NOT involve curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. By the way, it was C.S. Lewis who said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Amen.)

The funny thing is, this article appeared at a time when Don and I have been nearly frantic with work. Writing projects, article deadlines, home renovations, property improvements, packing ... in short, all the tasks involved in preparing to sell a home have occupied our time. Our fun has consisted of walking Mr. Darcy to the mailboxes and back (a three-mile round trip) to relax and get some exercise, followed by time spent with a good book and a glass of wine. (Well, the wine's for me. Don's not a wine drinker. But you catch my drift.)

The article continues, "As for what exactly is keeping us from having any fun, 36% agree the cost of a day or night of entertainment alone was enough to keep them home. Many others — 35% of respondents — are just too pooped out to enjoy some extracurriculars. Nearly a third (32%) have too much work to do."

Don and I also have too much work to do -- but we enjoy it. However for many people, work is associated with stress. "Many surveyed cited stress as a major role in their fun drought," noted the article.

We have tons of work, but little to no stress. This is no accident; we simply avoid stressful work as much as we can.

"Despite so much boredom," concluded the article, "the survey showed that Americans still spend an average of $303 each month on fun activities, or about $3,500 annually. For parents, that number balloons to about $5,000 on the year."

Sputter sputter. $303 each month on FUN activities? Who has the money for that? How much more would you have to work to earn that money to blow on "fun" things?

I think my world view differs greatly from that of the article's author.


  1. Working is often no fun. However, doing a job well is very satisfying.

    2 Thessalonians 3:10 While we were with you, we gave you the order: “Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.”

  2. When I worked I enjoyed the press of finding a solution to a problem. The last year I worked I worked 4 day weeks which when added to with vacation time off sometimes turned into 3 day weeks. The biggest joy was the ability to tell someone "no I will not fly out to Washington state to visit a manufacture" I was a short timer and after a short time everyone knew it and they quit asking me to fly somewhere. When I purchased my first tankard from you it was for my early morning tea. Turns out it just held too much product. When I discovered Kindle for computer, where I could blow the page up to a large type that made reading a joy again and the cost is very low if you have Kindle unlimited. I have never understood going somewhere and spending big bucks to watch a sporting event. It just does not compute for me.

  3. My "fun" time is sewing clothes for myself, (I hate shopping), doing puzzles, reading, yard work and some TV. Sewing isn't free but my clothes are better quality and they fit. I even make my jeans! Much easier than you'd think. Puzzles I get from my kids as gifts or I borrow from my dad. Reading is usually blogs, borrowed books or books that are a gift. Yard work is work and I usually enjoy it. Sometimes it costs but usually it is mowing (push mower, no fuel needed) and pulling weeds. Life is good!

  4. If you don't like what you do or if you are unhappy in fulling your responsibilities, only you can make the change to improve your life. No one else or no "thing" or event can make you happy; that must come from within.

  5. To anyone else, my life probably looks boring: childcare, homemaking, gardening, sewing, cooking/food preservation, quiet evenings watching the sunset and chatting with my husband. To me, it's satisfying and enjoyable.

  6. I like working in my garden. I enjoy cooking and canning. I love to go food shopping. It is a game to me. See how little I can spend and how much I can get for my family free. Reading a great book is fun to me. Playing with my family and dog is a great day.

    2 weeks ago Hubby, my youngest and I went to a local garden. It is a huge piece of property with gorgeous flowers everywhere. It was their dog day so we got to see hundreds of dogs. I can't even tell you how many we petted. We brought a picnic with us and water. We had an amazing day out and took some wonderful photos. My daughter asked when can we go back. The best part was it cost us $0. I used our local library pass so we got in free. I already reserved the pass for this summer when all of the roses are in bloom. Fun is what you want it to be.

  7. I define boredom as having nothing interesting to do. That doesn't happen around here. It may not all be fun but is definitely interesting.

  8. In the past I have told people that I did not do drugs or drink, go to bars. I just took care of my house and children. Most commented that I had led a boring life. If I can read or sew, life is not boring. My chickens amused me enough.

  9. Goodness, I wish I had the time to be bored! Somehow my day is completely filled to overfilled, and I never get everything done in one day that I think that I should be able to do! There is so much out there to learn and to do, how in the world can anybody be bored?

  10. Wow! Im amazed that so many people are bored. Ok, Im also amazed Americans spend $303 a month on “fun.” 😳

  11. It's after 4:30p.m. on a Saturday. We've been working all day. We finally got enough dry days that we were able to plant the garden. We worked together and got the job done, finishing in the rain. While we were planting, I had sourdough rising in the house. I've been cleaning, and Husband has been repairing the brakes and lights on a newly purchased flatbed trailer. The only time I've sat down to relax was to eat, I fell asleep for about 20 minutes, and I'm reading your blog while the bread's in the oven. If I go too far away from the kitchen, I'm afraid I'll not hear the timer and burn the bread. I expect to stop working in about three or four more hours. Guess what? I've had so much fun today! As we finished planting the last row of green beans, Husband smiled and said that getting the garden planted would be the best Mothers' Day gift I could get. He's right! Some people call it work. I call it fun.

  12. Speaking of books, this was an awesome short read.
    Excerpt: "When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.” ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death written in 1985.
    Montana Guy

  13. I am NEVER, EVER bored. Ever. I believe people who say they are bored are space aliens who come from a foreign planet stock. I’m retired, married, and successfully moving rapidly into the light and looking back into the deep hole that was Lyme’s disease. Mostly life is amazing, sometimes run anxiety these days as the old world I knew breaks violently apart...but that’s not boredom, sometimes family on the other side of the great divide are nuts and weird, sometimes I nap and let the dishes pile up for a day, pet the cat. Most problems can be helped with a good cup of tea. Love my books and love my tea! No books and no tea would be a big problem…...but not boring!

  14. Patrice, I will say as someone who works in a career field that was not my first calling (and is a stressful one), I can see where this would be the case. I have to make a significant effort to make sure that I do things that I enjoy doing, not just things I have to do.

  15. I don't equate not having fun with being bored. Two entirely different things in my mind.

    Kathy in MS

  16. I suspect that the ppl polled don't understand the joy of growing their own food, preparing a home cooked meal for their family, a quiet night at home reading a good book or watching a favorite movie together...My job can be stressful, but my home time is not. Even doing housework is satisfying to me, altho it can sometimes be stressful too (too much to do, too little time kinda thing, since I do work outside the home). But bored? Never. There is always something one can do to entertain themselves. Or maybe that's just how I was raised...

  17. By that metric, I don't have a whole lot of "fun".

    I do, however, have plenty of work to stave off boredom. Once again, it seems, I also have the energy and strength to do it-- a great blessing I never intend to take for granted again.

    As I grow older and meet more people, I am very thankful to have had a family that taught me to find FUN in throwing a frisbee with a child, tending a garden, teaching my kids...

    ...and my current Holy Grail of personal recreation, the oft-maligned work party with friends.