There are so many stories I want to write, books I want to read, movies, TV shows, and documentaries I want to watch, video games I want to play, music and podcasts I want to listen to, and places I want to go. I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want to. But when I look around, everybody else seems to be having no problem finding the time to do it all. Which drives me crazy. Why does everybody have so much more free time than me?
First of all, I can’t really compare my time to non-writers because writing takes so much time itself—not just physically writing, but thinking and researching, as well. But what really gets me is when I see fellow writers seemingly have endless amounts of free time. For instance, there are some authors I follow on Twitter who I have to mute because they tweet so often. Which further boggles my mind. Where do they find the time to not only write books but read and review books, and tweet a hundred times a day—plus have a family, and who knows what else they do?
Then I see another person I follow who watches every new movie on its opening weekend while also watching every NFL game. And another who’s read every comic book and is a baseball sabermetrics expert. And another who’s rewatching every great movie from the 1970s while also going to concerts of all the best indie bands. And another goes surfing every morning and knows all the latest trends in the tech world. And another who’s a health nut in amazing shape while also re-reading the entire Game of Thrones series for the third time. And another who watches every single NBA game plus every great TV show while also traveling the world. And so on…
The people I follow on social media are hand-selected by me, according to my interests, so they are doing all the things I personally want to do. They are all doing more than me in each particular area of interest. So it drives me crazy that I can’t do as much as them. But what I often forget to realize is, individually, each person is not doing it all.
Basically, our social media feed blurs together so that it seems like everyone is doing everything. That each person is watching every new TV show, reading every great book, watching the latest movie releases while also rewatching the classics, listening to the best music albums multiple times each, watching every sports game and playing every video game, plus traveling, having social lives and families, and doing whatever work they do on top of it all.
Because these people are doing all the things I’m interested in, I think all of them are doing all the things I’m interested in. But they’re not. One person may watch NBA and movies, a lot more so than me, but they don’t read anywhere near as many novels as me or know about as much astrophysics. Or another person may watch every TED talk but not any sports. What we fail to realize is every person has their media consumption blind spots. But we never see their blind spots. We don’t notice the lack of something being mentioned by them. We only notice the things they mention they are doing.
Also, we fail to realize just how much we do ourselves. When I really pause to reflect, I realize that I read, watch, and listen to A LOT. I get a fair amount of writing done, as well. Though I always wish I could do more.
As humans, we tend to concentrate on what we still need to do, rather than stopping to appreciate what we’ve done. I’ll try to do that more in the future—if I can ever find the time.