The Importance of the 'Slow-Age'

by Sierra I about a year ago in self help

Why It's Crucial to Take Advantage of the 'Slow-Age,' and How It Could Potentially Change Your Life

The Importance of the 'Slow-Age'
The Dire Importance of the 'Slow-Age'

I know what you're thinking (I really need to work on that). You're thinking, "What the hell is the 'Slow-Age'? And, if it's so important, why haven't I heard about it until now?"

Am I right?

Well, technically speaking, it is both a skincare product and a shortening of the term, "to slow the aging process." However, that's not really what I had in mind when I wrote this article. No, I was thinking something more along the lines of "the age in our lives where time seems to stop, or go abhorrently slow, and we always seem to be bored." Otherwise known as the years in our lives roughly between the ages of 10 and 18.

So, what is the 'Slow-Age'?

Essentially–and in the way I'm using this particular phrase–the 'Slow-Age' is basically a term I made up to describe the time period–or periods–in someone's life when they experience the most boredom, and an abundant feeling that time really is going to go this slow our entire lives.

Think of it this way: Remember sitting in school–or maybe you're currently in school, which is even better–and taking a quick peek at that huge, ugly clock above the door, and feeling like time just couldn't possibly pass any slower? That's essentially what I'm referring to.

This can happen multiple times, and pretty random throughout your entire life (school's just a super easy example, so bear with me). The ages I provided earlier were purely a result of my individual reflections and experiences, and may not reflect your personal circumstances. However, I'm sure you can remember plenty of times in your life between those ages where you felt utterly bored–maybe almost to the point of fainting!

Why is it important?

When we are bored, we may feel like not doing much of anything. Scientific studies have shown that simply feeling bored often, or the presence of recurrent boredom, may lead to a much darker diagnosis–such as mental illness, brain damage, or psychological disorder. Whatever the cause, boredom is almost guaranteed to make you feel less than motivated.

I believe that this article on Psychcentral explains this phenomenon–this feeling–perfectly. Never mind that this article is specifically relating to those who suffer from mental illness, I think we can all agree that with too much time on their hands, anyone is liable to get stir-crazy. So, regardless of if you suffer from a mental illness or not–or a traumatic brain injury–taking on a negative emotion with more negativity can only worsen the situation.

Think of it like this: Let's say you just moved to a new house, but you won't have internet or cable for the next few days until they can come out and activate it. Now, let's also say that your phone was shut off for some unknown reason, or maybe even broke entirely, and you now you won't even have a phone to occupy yourself.

Now, you could utilize this unforeseen boredom in one of two ways: constructively or destructively.

  • Constructive use of this boredom would be getting some things done and unpacked around the house, saving dates with your friends or family for lunch, or going out, utilizing time for self-improvement and physical fitness, experimenting with a new hobby/practicing an old hobby, etc.
  • Destructive use of this boredom would be complaining, sulking, using that time to conduct destructive acts or behavior, allowing yourself to think negative thoughts, and sulk on past misfortunes, etc.

The key to defeating boredom is not to focus on things you could have done before the boredom set in, or allow yourself to think negatively about the situation, but to focus on the present moment, and the positivity of the moment.

When boredom strikes, don't think "Aw, crap!" think, "Bout time!"

How does it work?

Boredom and the 'Slow-Age' period essentially require each other to be, in a sense. The 'Slow-Age' more refers to the feeling that time has seemed to slow down, and references particular points in our individual lives where this has happened rather systematically. Boredom refers to the emotions we feel when we are not preoccupied. However, being bored seems to lead time to feel as if it's going slower, and certain periods in our lives seem to have a high amount of boredom.

I believe that it's all a matter of what we do with this time that matters. That makes us, and shapes who we are–and how ignoring or passing these opportunities could be catastrophic to someone's life. Boredom literally creates the opportunity, and the "perfect weather conditions"–for lack of a better term–for our brains to absorb a vast amount of knowledge in a fairly short amount of time.

If we utilize that time to enjoy the vastness of knowledge–can you think about at least one thing you would love to learn about? We are limitless. It really doesn't matter if this is brain-smarts, street-smarts, physical fitness, etc., as long as it's something new. Something that broadens our minds, and skills, and experiences. Boredom–when you literally have nothing to do–gives us the perfect opportunity to reach those goals within our means to do so.

I'm not saying this is always a great thing, either. Many people dedicate this time just fine; only to the wrong kind of smarts and knowledge. Sometimes, that's all they have to learn, and that brings pain to my heart. Some people take that time to do terrible things, and that also brings me pain. To utilize such a beautiful gift in such heinous ways that some people do has got to be some sort of moral sin.

Anyway, using boredom as a catalyst for productivity and learning can only bring you success. How others choose to use that time is their choice.

Steps for Success

Here are the necessary steps to utilizing boredom to your advantage:

  1. Recognize the signs. When you begin to feel the boredom set in, don't jump to it right away, and make yourself busy. Instead, allow the boredom to set in and tell yourself that you are going to use this break from the mundane to do something new. Maybe off the cuff. Definitely interesting. You probably won't know what it will be right away.
  2. When you begin to feel that you are bored to the point where you can't think of anything, do the last, possible, thing that popped into your head, as you were thinking of interesting ways to use that time.
  3. Understand that it doesn't matter if you hate it afterward–and it doesn't matter if you love it. Don't overdo it. If something comes up that is a part of your everyday life, handle it. What matters is that you've explored something new, even if it was just simply reading about a new topic, and are now more knowledgeable than you were 10 minutes ago.
  4. If you hate it, put it on your mental "Black List." If you liked it, or found it interesting, consider adding it to a rotating list of activities and experiments to do when boredom hits, and you can't think of anything productive to do.

Can you imagine how many skills we would have, and the knowledge we would have if we had practiced these simple steps in our younger years? Me too. Fortunately, it seems that we get another chance! There are other ages that seem to be more prone to boredom than others.

But what can that do for me?

When implementing this mindset, you are actively searching for ways to create an activity or action out of a stagnant situation. Maybe you find some things around the house that need to get done, and can spend a few hours cleaning up or getting to those things you don't usually have the time to do every day. Maybe you find that it's a good time to get some stretching or yoga in (since you mainly spend all day busting your ass), and you finally have the fifteen minutes.

Whatever you think of, just go for it! It doesn't really matter if you like it or not. What matters in this situation is that you're taking the time to be productive instead of destructive. Because, believe it or not, boredom can be a destructive emotion if you allow it.

Before you go... a short excerpt on boredom:

This may seem superfluous, and unimportant, but understanding what boredom is, is actually an important part of understanding and taking advantage of the 'Slow-Age' period in your life.

Eloquently speaking, bored is an adjective that means 'feeling weary because one is unoccupied, or lacks interest in one's current activity.' In conjunction, boredom is a noun that describes 'the state or act of feeling bored' [New Oxford American Dictionary].

In technical or scientific terms, boredom means a little something different. Boredom is a combination of a lack of dopamine secreted by the brain, and the ability to keep time in the prefrontal cortex.

Additional studies have found that–in this time frame, where puberty and teenage years begin–the majority of dramatic changes and maturation in the brain are happening in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that controls decision-making abilities, and is attributed to feelings such as guilt, remorse, and sympathy.

Scientists have also stated that excessive boredom could potentially be caused by injury to the frontal lobes, as this is also our 'internal clock' of sorts–where our brain dictates our perception of time. Excessive or chronic boredom has also been found to be prominent among people with bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

Some of My Favorites

If you're having a hard time defeating your boredom, try some of the following, light activities to get started:

  • Read: It doesn't really matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, blog, forum, or anything else. If it's new, or if it's something you enjoy, then do it.
  • Physical Activity: There's nothing more invigorating than working on yourself, so why not take the opportunity to do it whenever you can? I use the term 'physical fitness' loosely here, referring to anything from yoga to powerlifting to meditation to burst workouts.
  • Socialize: If you're a social type of person, why not get out of the house, and go do something when boredom strikes? It's a surefire way to kill off your boredom, and possibly even meet new people! I once knew someone who would get bored, walk around their neighborhood, and just listen to other people's stories.
  • Do Something New: Try learning something new. Read a blog or watch a video documentary on newly discovered ocean-life, or cute puppies. Use Google Translate to learn a new language. Go ice skating just because you've always wanted to, or join a dance group for the hell of it. You can always quit if you don't like it. It can be anything you can think of,
Boredom is, in a way, what keeps us happy. It forces us to put other things aside and provides us with time to focus on things we enjoy. Things we love. I guess this article was really more about boredom, but it's also about recognizing that we don't have to simply accept it and be bored until it passes. When time starts slowing down, that's our time to become better. It's our time of rest and our time of power. Use it to your advantage.
self help
Sierra I
Sierra I
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Sierra I

FT mom, writer, and 'doer'. Coffee obsessed and science-based, I thoroughly enjoy broadening people's horizons and mental processes through the written word.

See all posts by Sierra I