I'd like to introduce a new concept into the lexicon: Media Anxiety.
It's a modern condition that I suffer from and I know that many of my friends do as well.
Symptoms include stress, a feeling of ever increasing age and a desire to keep up with current trends in music, literature, film and popular culture, just like you used to do when you were younger.
There is just too much media available to us today and it's only getting worse. This makes it practically impossible to keep up like we used to. You have many more things to do with your time now; It was a lot easier to absorb everything about the latest band's album when you didn't have to go out to work or look after a 7 year old.
So instead of coping with the avalanche of media available we stockpile:
We build up piles of books, comics, magazines, cds, videos and other stuff to get through.
And to make it all worse those magazines are full of page after page of reviews of more books, comics, cds, tv shows, films and stuff that we might just want as well.
So as well of building up towers of media to get through we also we build up lists of stuff to look at, stuff to get. Stuff to add to the pile of stuff that we haven't got the time to get to already.
It's a treadmill and we end up desperately trying and failing to keep up, all the time wondering if we're not missing out on the latest thing, the next big thing.
In the fast life we live with very little down time there simply isn't enough time available to read all the books, magazines and comics you want to. There certainly isn't enough time to catch up with all the must see tv, go to the latest cinema releases and watch dvds. There isn't enough time to actively follow modern music.
So instead of accepting this and getting on with it, we end up getting increasingly concerned about what we could be missing and increasingly anxious and stressed about it all.
If I've got a pile of things to do, loads of books and comics to read, a rack full of magazines I haven't read, music I haven't listened to, tapes of tv shows I've yet to watch and the latest amazon dvd sitting in it's case unwatched I find myself feeling under pressure to get it all done.
So my leisure is no longer relaxing, it's actually causing me more stres.
And it's not just me, I know some of you reading this feel exactly the same.
The only solution to media anxiety is to ignore it. Don't let it get to you and refuse to get sucked in.
To this end I've placed myself under a book buying ban. Currently there are 20 books on my bookshelf that I haven't read yet.
This is completely insane.
So from last year I decided that I really don't care how good a book is meant to be, there's no point me buying it now and just have it adding to the pile and adding to my media anxiety.
Similarly with TV. I'm practically giving up on everything. There's no point in getting stressy over missing shows anymore, just accept it and move on.
Every so often I'll look at magazines and newspapers and contemplate getting some. This feeling soon passes however.
Maybe it's time we just realised we can no longer live in thrall to our media obsessions. Cast them aside and live free.
But if anyone's got the latest Regina Spektor cd, can they do me a copy please?
And remember to let me know what you're reading or watching.
I can add it to the list of things that I may need to look at eventually.
Because sadly, even though I'm not actually accumulating physical stuff anymore, my Amazon wish list is growing larger and larger and larger.
See, I talk a good game, but really I'm just as crap at avoiding this media anxiety stuff as you are.