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The Most (Intentionally) Boring Flight of My Life


I found myself standing in line for the flight, which was already 40 minutes behind schedule. With any luck I’d make it home early enough on this Friday to still put in an appearance at my friend’s annual holiday party. Being one of the last to board this particular Southwest flight, my options consisted of: any middle seat I wanted. I plopped down and got situated for the three hour sojourn back home.

Now for the next question: what did I want to do for the flight home? I had some music downloaded, I could knock out some of the work I’d been planning on or queue up a podcast. None of the options sounded all that appealing. I couldn’t help but notice out of my periphery that the woman next to me seemed to be in the same boat. She was jumping back and forth between an ebook, a messenger app and SWA’s TV/movie streaming platform. The only thing certain was nothing seemed to be holding her attention.

At that point the question I found myself asking was, “why am I trying so hard to fill my time with unappealing activities?” There is a lot of talk in our popular culture at the moment about “mindfulness”. Might this flight be a chance to practice that? I’ve also read studies that show creativity often arrives when we are bored. Not overly stimulated. I committed to it then and there. I was going to make this the most boring flight possible. No books, computers, phones, snacks or conversation. Just my thoughts and boredom. I mostly just stared ahead, occasionally out the window and shifted back-and-forth in my mildly uncomfortable middle seat position.

There are many things I could reflect on but to cut to the chase, I experienced no grand epiphany or spark of creativity in my three hour deprivation of stimuli. For the most part I was just bored as 140 of us strangers sailed through the air at

But it did leave me with a question about mindfulness. If we as a society are trying to be a part of the moment, “why are we so driven to fill each moment with something?”


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