What do old people (60+) do to pass their time and avoid boredom? All the old people I see just sit and stare out their window or pick weeds out of the driveway. – asked on Quora
Deborah Fisher, PhD Civil Engineering & Engineering Management, The University of Texas at Austin (1986) responded:
We “sit and stare out the window” for three reasons:
- We can – We’ve spent decades getting up at pre-dawn to get showered and dressed only to fight traffic to a somewhat mindless job where we had to work for 8 hours with some not so pleasant people only to feel like getting out of prison when 5 o’clock came. Then we would get the Sunday night blues because Monday it would start all over again for five more days. After doing this for 40 or 50 years (with very little vacation time), the novelty wears off and if you’ve been fiscally responsible during this time you’ve earned the right to not have to know what day of the week it is. Every day is vacation day.
- We must – Just like a house or a car ages over time, our bodies wear out. It takes us awhile to get up in the mornings and get the joints moving and the vertigo at bay. Sitting feels mighty nice and rocking is even nicer. As my dad used to say “Why stand when you can sit.” It’s quite comfortable for an old, achy body.
- We want to – I love looking out the window in the morning to watch the world go by with my cup of tea. I watch the interaction of children and parents waiting for the bus. This is something I never had time to do when screaming at my own kiddos to get to the bus before it leaves and do you have your lunch and your homework and what time is soccer or band practice and don’t forget your orthodontist appointment this afternoon. Life should be savored not gulped. And it’s not until you’re old and realize you don’t have much time left so you want to sit and savor these moment. It’s very enjoyable.
Not sure what to say about the weeds. I do enjoy gardening and that’s part of the satisfaction of retirement. I’m never bored. In fact, at this stage of life, each day races by way too fast. We “sit and stare out the window” so we can savor what’s left of life all we can.
Summer Hirschberger added a comment: I am now bedridden (injured 1999) and have not been bored for 30 years. I put up a security camera aimed at my flowers and driveway. In the spring the buds look different everyday. Watching everything come back to life after the winter cold and snow is a blessing and very enjoyable. I watch my flowers come up and then bloom. I watch the kids run into my yard to roll around playing with my dogs, my dogs think I pay the kids to play with them. I watch the sky change every season and see the most amazing cloud formations. When I am done gazing at the beauty of this world, I get online and take care of business. Then, I gaze outside again because everything looks different in the afternoon sun! Never bored, always blessed.