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!