Today, a fellow ‘Cuser I follow on Twitter tweeted, “I sometimes feel very anxious about the vast ocean of awesome things I don’t have time to read.” I could not agree more, yet here I am, not reading, but contributing to the things (perhaps not awesome) that people could choose to read.
I’ve been feeling extra-anxious as of late, because I recently went onto Amazon.com and subscribed to five different magazines. “I should contribute to keeping my industry afloat,” I thought. “I can’t just keep reading things for free on the web.” Now, I have a huge stack of magazines in my apartment that need reading. When I have the time and mental capacity to sit down and do so, I enjoy it, but when I don’t, I just feel immensely guilty that I’m choosing to rot my brain by streaming yet another episode of Ally McBeal. (It’s more entertaining than you’d think. Really.)
The guilt goes beyond magazines. I’ve had my friend’s copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions since March, and since there’s been no immediacy to my reading it, it sits on my nightstand, 75% complete. (But by now, I’m so confused as to which character has done what in this book that I ought to start over or give it back.) I returned a library book last week after only reading a few chapters. It seemed interesting, but I had already renewed it once, and my magazines need reading first.
And the guilt goes even beyond reading. I love music, but why does there have to be so much of it? I’m always reading about albums I’d like to hear, but I can’t listen to music properly when I have to do other things that demand my attention. Now that my job requires concentration, and because I’m in a cubicle, I don’t listen at work. I mostly listen while walking to and from the office and while cleaning my apartment, which is not enough time to hear the huge amount of good stuff that’s out there.
Add in working, sleeping, running, and interacting with other human beings, and there’s just not enough time in the day for it all. I don’t understand the people who have read everything on Longreads or who have heard all the great new albums even before they’ve been released. They must not subscribe to Netflix.