Maybe while you’re in the shower, or listening to your favourite music track, while reading/studying, during a boring lecture, or even while listening to someone else talk, spacing out really helps, saving us from the boredom, and taking us to a complete new world of endless possibilities. Ever noticed how fast time passes while you think about all kinds of random things? Your friend’s accent, your dog’s eye colour, about the hard working ants on the floor who recently found an old chocolate bar lying behind your bed and how they’re probably having the time of their life, about your future, your family, and the list never ends. At times I space out so bad that it’s difficult for me to come back to reality. It’s like an addiction- something that you need to do every once in a while, and every time it just comes back with increased tolerance. Sometimes that need to space out really takes over and I just have to let go; but the scariest part is that this tends to happen while I’m driving (I guess after saying this none of my friends is going to let me drive again). Just like getting lost while reading your favourite book, spacing out takes you to a complete different world altogether.
It’s definitely not something bad- escaping from reality is what everyone wants to do at some point or the other in their life. And then there will be people who complain about this habit of yours- about how it’s important for one to pay attention to what’s happening, and that its very ‘rude’ of you to be spacing out while someone is talking. Well, if one brings in manners and values, then pretty much everything we do will be undesirable in one way or another. My friends always complain about this habit of mine, that I space out at the weirdest of times- even while I’m crossing the road!
I agree it’s not very good for one to be thinking of other things while someone is saying something important or something significant. And in my defence, all I can say is that it just happens! There isn’t really a why or how to this, and I often find myself in a very vulnerable position after I come back (after spacing out for a significant amount of time, that is), only realising that I’ve missed a large chunk of the conversation and I have no clue of what everyone is talking about. Well, that’s when I dust off my green hat and try to become all Sherlock Holmes-y-ish!
I’d like to point out the fact that spacing out, for most, is a very pleasurable activity. When boredom encompasses you from all possible angles and you have nowhere to go, the art of spacing out really helps one cross all barriers of reality that this mortal world brings and you find yourself floating deep in the sea of thoughts, images, and words- all so haphazard and random! And by the time you come back, you realise a lot of time has passed and you can finally watch your favourite TV show!
While waiting for someone, or at the doctor’s, when the person before you is taking an inhumane amount of time chatting with the doctor while you are so impatient and angry, maybe when your stomach is begging for you to eat something but the lecturer won’t just stop talking, or while you are listening to your parents whine about how much time you waste on the internet, chatting away with friends- spacing out basically helps one survive at a very basic, yet important level.
I feel really proud to say this- spacing out actually has an evolutionary advantage! While we don’t focus on mundane things like showering, walking, or waiting for someone at the bus stop, our mind automatically starts to ponder about things on a larger spectrum- why you are doing what you are doing, the meaning of your existence, and even things like the origin of the universe, thus enabling insight, creativity, and a whole new level of imagination. This is why the greatest ideas and solutions reach one while they are spacing out. Another very similar term for this could be the ‘incubation period’, where you completely zone out after tirelessly thinking of solutions to a problem, and while you are randomly gazing at things, thinking of complete rubbish (not really, though)- it hits you, and ta-da! (or aha, if you may) and you have the solution. While this sounds very relaxing, remember that your brain never really rests- its working as hard as it was before, only now its unfocused, welcoming you to the world of genius thoughts!
So the next time someone points at you for spacing out while you should have been listening, you can proudly tell them that you were busy building up some mastermind ideas in your head.