Backlog Blues

Do you know that slight mix of dread and panic you feel as you work on something under a tight deadline? And how it increases as time moves forward? For some reason, I start to feel this way when I game. Rather than fully enjoying the game I’m playing, I start to wonder if I should be playing something else on my backlog instead. Or watching a movie or TV show. Or doing something more productive.

I didn’t used to be like this. I’ve never had any issues that I would describe as having a short attention span, or anything nearing attention-deficit. But for the last several years I find it anxiety inducing to do one thing for longer than a span of about an hour or so.

When I watch a movie, I often take a break in the middle and try to pick it back up at a later time. For episodic TV I sometimes watch one episode a month and struggle to get back to it. I’m not 100% sure what has caused this, but I have a couple of suspicions.

At work I’m the boss and second in command overall which means I’m on-call 24/7/365. I’ve had countless days at home interrupted where I had to drop all of my personal plans in order to report in. Certain periods are worse than others, but I have an almost PTSD reaction when my phone rings. It can get to the point of feeling like fate punishing me for trying to have my own time.

Secondly, I’m getting older. I don’t have as much free time and don’t view that time the same way I used to. This may get a little dark, but the older I get, the closer I get to death. I don’t mean to sound so blunt about it, but I’ve been at peace with and fascinated with life’s impermanence since I was a child. But unlike when I was younger, and life felt long and death felt improbable, I’ve turned some kind of corner where the years pass me by in what feels like moments. Doing any one thing for too long starts to make me feel guilty for using my time that way.

And lastly, I start to feel guilty when I’m not spending enough time working on my YouTube projects. YouTube is meant to be a hobby for me, and I try to keep that mindset. But my output is very slow. Maybe unforgivably slow. I have a number of people who truly like what I produce and I feel a bit of responsibility to not let them down. But I only devote a small portion of my free time to it. I could do more.

This anxious feeling when I’m doing one thing for too long isn’t necessarily new, but I feel like it’s been getting worse for a few years. My gaming backlog is so huge, there are so many TV shows and movies, I just feel disinclined to commit. There’s a joke about browsing Netflix for a half-hour and never actually picking something. This sums me up to a tee. Every couple of months I’ll spend an hour just watching movie trailers. I watch commercial compilations on YouTube. I secretly like when a show I like gets cancelled because it means there’s a finite number of episodes to watch.

I’m certain many of you can relate to some of what I’ve described. Please share your experiences or coping mechanism. And, yeah, this has taken too long to write. I need to go do something else. Take care!

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2 thoughts on “Backlog Blues

  1. I can relate to your problem as I too have way less time and need to work and study all day.
    Try to understand this simple fact: every game, show and movie is equal. Unless you don’t enjoy it because it’s bad or boring, just relax and spend your time with whatever floats your boat. If you enjoy playing Bubsy 3D, stick to it. Of course you could play the latest masterpiece on PS5, but who cares? You can do that next time or in a few years. And if you decide to watch a movie, just do it. Who out there can really judge how you spend your free time?
    This goes for the slot of time you carved out of your day, of course. It shouldn’t get in the way of work, studies, family, pets, duties at home, but if you have free time, use it and don’t rate it, don’t put any kind of score on it. The thing is: you can’t ever read everything, play everything or watch everything, not even the greatest hits according to the masses. So why don’t you pick something to read/play/watch and just do it?
    As for the progress of picking, you most certainly have a list of your games, right? Just put the number of games you have in a random number generator and play the one that it spits out. If you don’t remotely want to, roll the dice again. If you kinda want to, do it. Being picky won’t make you happy.

    (I was very late to the PS4 party and have 50+ PS4 games on my shelves. I played through 5 of them in 1,5 years. At first, that gave me anxiety because there were so many gems (not the hidden type) and I “wasted” my time on some Switch game or replayed an old SNES title. I needed to force myself to not care so I can enjoy my free time again. I have a few decades left hopefully and can enjoy many of the games I own. If I don’t, I don’t. Nobody will slap me in the face on my death bed because I didn’t play Red Dead Redemption 2 or skipped Uncharted.)

    Liked by 1 person

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