Fighting the Stay-At-Home Boredom: Time to Create Rather Than Consume
A common theme among my friend groups is the utter boredom of being under stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of me wants to tell folks that there has never been a greater time in human history to find something to do at home. There is a plethora of content available at the touch of a finger or even voice command. We have built a system, the web, that provides education, entertainment, and art at near-instantaneous speeds. Our WordPress community is a large part of that human endeavor. Perhaps the problem lies with our consumerist culture. With large social media networks effectively taking over the web, the trend seems to suggest that people spend their free time glued to their mobile devices, consuming content created by others. Now that many are home full time, it is easy to grow tired of consuming content that would normally be reserved for free time at all hours of the day. When asking what the elders in my family did in their free time decades ago, before modern technological advances, I noticed a different trend. They created music. On my grandmother’s side of the family, that musicality in our genes produced Hank Williams. On my grandfather’s side, we had The Tadlock Quartet, a little-known gospel group. If our family had a motto, it would be: if you don’t sing or play an instrument, you are not a Tadlock. I have an uncle who is a painter and magician. Some of my cousins are in a band. My sister creates vases, tabletops, and other pieces out of broken glass when she’s not chasing her two-year-old. My father is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrument musician. I could go on listing the art that my family creates. Maybe I was fortunate to grow up in an artistic environment. That artistry has never been about fame and fortune. Most of my family will never reach stardom. However, we continue creating because it is simply a part of who we are. I also reminisce over my childhood years. I grew up in a lower-middle-class household. We did not have the luxury of the internet. We could not afford cable or satellite television. The only channels on the tube were 8, 12, 20, and sometimes 32. It was the era of the Saturday morning cartoon block, which I gladly awoke to every weekend with my off-brand cereal. Like many kids of my generation, I had a video game console and a handful of games. But, there are only so many times you can play through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time before finding something else to do. Most of my childhood was spent creating things. I ran several issues of a homemade video game magazine, painstakingly drawing all the artwork by hand. Fortunately, my uncle had a printer and scanner so that I could make copies. I wrote short stories, crafted screenplays, and filmed movies on a borrowed camcorder. I built tree forts that probably would not have passed any level of building safety codes, but my friends and I survived. I had about a three-year stint in the mid-’90s in which I fashioned myself a songwriter, following in my father’s footsteps (he has never sold a song but continues writing music to this day). I do not think I wrote anything other than love songs. What else would a 12-year-old boy write about? My only experience with love was a peck on the cheek from a previous girlfriend. » Read More
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