Content apocalypse

This is the tipping point. I’m fifty in two weeks. I’ve watched fifty percent of the 800 films I own, and even less of the books. The amount of time I have left is constricting, but the number of books and films I own keeps expanding. Something has to give.

I need a new philosophy. What I consume (bleurgh) must feed (this is family trauma speaking) whatever I am creating. I envy those who have perhaps always done this. Collecting and list-making is the hoarder’s comfort. Part of me wants to watch and read everything, to learn every language, to play every instrument, but the excess of wanting all this, never mind getting it, is enormously destructive. It’s like over-eating. It’s a form of nihilism. It’s choosing not to choose because I’m afraid of getting it wrong. Instead, I could consciously make a path and accept the consequence—choose an author, a book, that feels related to the novel I’m writing, or pick a film that speaks to something bubbling under the surface that I can’t yet grasp. Maybe it’ll be useful and maybe it won’t, but I’ll have severed my chain to the immovable boulder of infinite possibilities.

Elizabeth Filips, my current YouTube guru-crush, preaches ‘soft discipline’. She means, trust your intuition as to when you do things, and don’t get bogged down in systems and rigid structures. That same knowing-what’s-right works for picking books, tweaking a sentence, choosing clothes in the morning and improvising a meal. It requires being sensitive to how I feel and what I think, and to wonder why I feel and think that now. As a straight man who loves intelligence and empathy in others, Elizabeth Filips is ripe for anima projection. Libido flows through the anima—life force, creative energy, motivation, call it what you will. Intuition is my inner feminine.

Films are a safe way to experience the extremes of life, and books too, probably all art, but in excess they can also be a defence against actually living. It’s time to make some choices. All of my watchlists and TBR shelves make me feel like I have a plan and a project, but this leads to my father’s version of my predicament, which is thirty-eight more years of reading and TV. It’s a decent life, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want it. I can imagine other options.