This year I reached the lofty age of 31. An age close to the point in which I cease to celebrate getting older and begin the process of commiseration that marks the fact that another year has passed me by. The wheels of time cannot be stopped, no matter how much we would like them to be and so as we get older, we begin to focus more.
This for me means focusing on finally working out what I want to do in life. In my head, everyone has this defined by now and is well on the way to achieving this oh-so-human of goals. I, however, had not reached this decision until this year, which has resulted in many days lost in an existential crisis.
I know that most people are in a position similar to myself and still searching for answers. By this token I have decided that I want to pursue my writing, pushing forward with this dream with all of my runtime. Well, all of my run time minus my fiancée, work, family, friends, hobbies, and schedule of entertainment. Entertainment that includes blu rays, Netflix, videogames, WWE Network and books, of which I have many hundreds in the bank and will I ever get a chance to watch, play or read them all? This is with Covid-19 in mind and the additional time that we are all spending at home.
What brought this to life?
The largest catalyst was most likely the realisation that I am getting older and have less time each year. I’m not sure how this works and can only conclude that as you get older, you realise that the amount of sleep you actually need is more than you give your body. So then you give in by going to bed earlier and earlier until you reach a line that you will not cross. For me, this is heading to bed before 10pm and waking up before 6am.
In addition to this, you have more and more responsibilities to save for. This looks like a wedding, honeymoon and family home for me. Three of the most expensive considerations in life and require a certain level of saving, which then means you cannot go out as much. This is naturally not as big of a consideration as it once was. We are all now spending more and more time at home, slowly burning through the masses of entertainment that we own, realising that that initial panic was ridiculous. We are not running out of content and never will!
This then moves you onto crunching the numbers. I remember looking at the four bulging shelves and counting. Noting how many blu rays I had yet to watch, how many videogames sat un-played and how many books had been there for more than ten years. The books changed from pearly white to mouldy brown from the years of neglect and I wondered if I would practically have time to ever read, watch or play them all?
From blu rays to videogames and books
On my four shelves currently sits:
- More than 100 hours of content for the blu rays (not including bonus features)
- Fifty books at an average of 500 pages each
- At present, I read an average of 200 pages per week
- Thirty video games at an average completion time of 20 hours each
- At present, I play an average of five hours per week.
Now, totalling all of this together we can see that it will take me the following times to complete everything:
- 100 hours of content (minus the bonus features)
- 125 weeks or two years and 21 weeks to read all my books
- 600 hours or 120 weeks or two years and 16 weeks to finish all of my video games
- This makes a grand total of:
- Four years and 39 weeks to read all of the books on my shelf and to complete all of the videogames
- Adding in the blu rays and I would say that I watch an average of five hours a week of these and so the total changes to:
- Five years and seven weeks to watch, read, play and consume all of the content that currently litters my shelf.
All of this is also based on the current position that I am at in my life. In five years’ time, I hope that my fiancée and I will have a house with a child, which will equal even less time to complete these items. On top of all of these considerations is the fact that I have not included any of the electronic equivalents.
Not forgetting their online equivalents
Even if I do not include the litany of free games that you wouldn’t look twice at in a nightclub, I still have another 50 to add to the list. That is thirty videogames across my PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and Laptop. It adds another 200 weeks to the equation or three years and 44 weeks, moving the total to eight years and 51 weeks to finish everything in my back library.
This is also forgetting the hours of Netflix originals and wrestling programming that occurs every week. For wrestling, this is two hours per week on average and sort of fits in around everything else but for the litany of programming on Netflix that there is, it’s difficult to quantify. I feel safe in saying that I would never be able to watch everything on there as it is continually evolving like some demon straight out of hell. No matter how much you watch, more will spring up in its place.
Suffice to say I have at least ten years of content already sitting on my shelves or in the Cloud that is yearning to be used. Some of this has been sitting there for more than a decade and yet I keep buying, which writing all this down sounds rather silly. I have already reached a stage of no completion and yet I still look at upcoming products on Amazon like a lion stalking its prey.
What am I going to do about this?
I’m going to take a year of use everything on my shelf. If only this was possible but in the real world I need to work. We all do and so I have put a ban on purchasing anything until next year that is not essential as I have more than enough entertainment. With adding other strings such as writing, learning guitar and French and will never yearn for anything to occupy my time.
Really I need to slim down. Some of the games that I have purchased on a whim alongside the blu rays that were brought with the same mentality will be reduced. I will no longer consider purchasing the fifth shelf and keep to a limit of four. This help prioritise and instil a mentality of one in one out. Is this new purchase really that important and is it better than what I currently have? If the answer is no to either of these questions then I will not purchase.
I will also ban myself from additional purchases until next year. This promise I keep under the proviso that if Resident Evil 8 arrives then I will purchase. Therefore, only five-star purchases will be permitted, of which I have already pre-ordered for the year ahead. This will create savings that can be used for the wedding and start me on the journey to a more sustainable purchasing mindset.
As a last measure against additional items on the shelf, I will spread the message far and wide that I need no more books, blu rays, and games for the time being.
In life, we feel as though we need to have the latest of this and that but just like Christmas, there is a danger that they will simply sit on the shelf. I have spent the last fifteen years on a journey to discover the greatest entertainment out there, only to see it sitting on my shelf, staring back at me. Like a Lion devouring an elephant, I have gone above what I can feasibly digest in one sitting.
The life I hope for will be long and happy full of family trips and romantic getaways rather than twenty hours straight in front of the television. By this token I need to admit that I will never complete the entertainment collection that sits there every day, staring back at me. I have overindulged and need to take a step back. Anything non-essential will be sold or given away otherwise madness may take me.
I have a life full of joy and wonder that takes me beyond the need to sit in front of the television and so I need to concede defeat. I will never complete everything and I am okay with this. It is a lesson in self-control and if I ever want to buy anything new in the future, then I need to address my spending habits.