Wednesday, January 15, 2020

You Don't Need To

I can be a completist. As in, if I read one book, I want to read all the others, too. If I started one show, I want to watch all the spin-offs, too. If I like some of someone YouTube videos, I want to watch everything they put out. But that's just way too much, isn't it?

I don't want to spend so much time with headphones on and voices pouring in. And if there are so many things that I want to watch that I am interested in, I shouldn't spend time on things that I think I should watch that I'm not actually interested in. Take, for instance, Star Trek. A couple months or so ago, I tried watching Enterprise. The first episode was terrible (and I'll say that because this is a generally forgotten-and-considered-terrible series) and yet I still went on and watched another one or two episodes. Just because I wanted to be able to say that I'd watched all the Star Trek. What? I even admit that I'm not a huge Star Trek fan; I only like it somewhat. And yet I was trying to be a completist with something that I was greatly disliking for many reasons? No sense in that.

There was a time when I probably would have watched it just to watch it. I mean, I watched all the Battlestar Galactica spin-offs in college; that time could have been better spent. And then even if there are things I'd like to get to, there's no rush. I still need to watch the Doctor Who episodes for the third through eighth doctors--but I'm okay with waiting years to even get around to watching more because it's just TV, it doesn't matter that much.

All this also makes me think of the time that I spend on content that might not have anything necessarily wrong with it but that doesn't, well, doesn't help my state of mind. Like artist movies. I'm a sucker for artist movies, but sometimes I have to be careful about when I watch them. And I'm talking about the tragic, emotionally stirring things like Bright Star. The ones that start playing into my emotions a little too much sometimes. They can start encouraging thoughts in my head of tragedy--and of tragedy as beautiful, which can almost lead to an admiration of tragedy rather than acceptance of tragedy when it does happen. If I'm making the difference clear.

Point being, all of the things that we fill our heads with make a difference. If I say, I like to listen to YouTube videos in the morning while I'm getting ready and then at the end of the day when I'm in the kitchen and also when I'm cleaning the house, then that can be okay but it can also mean that I'm clogging my head. Sure, if I'm about to start scrubbing the bathroom, there's nothing wrong with turning on YouTube so that I can feel like I'm making use of that time and also being productive while also getting through the videos I want to see without just sitting on the sofa. But if I have them on for majority of the time that I'm home, well, that becomes a problem.

Part of it is that I'm trying to keep up with everything new coming out. I'm trying to watch those videos so that when there are the times that I just want to sit down and watch something, I can go for a movie or show from my long Netflix List instead. But if there are more minutes' worth than I should be spending time on, well, then, it's time to start cutting it back. If I only started watching this person because of a certain type of videos they used to make and they no longer make those, maybe I can unsubscribe. If I used to like these videos, but now I've had my fill, I can let it go now. If I like this type of videos from this person but not that type, I only need to watch the ones that I like.

In the process of unclogging one's head, it is important to consider what one is filling one's head with. What other things would I rather make time for (and more benefit from making time for) than YouTube videos or a TV show I don't even like?

So if you're like me and you feel like you need to watch that show or that list of videos or whatever it may be, you don't need to. You really don't. Watch some when it's time to watch and enjoy it, sure, but leave it at that. There are endless things to consume right now, so it's time (past time) to cap our personal consumption.

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