On backlogs, indecision and anxiety

I have a number of backlogs: piles of things I have bought with the intention of reading, watching, playing, listening to and not got round to yet.

My video games backlog, most of which is stored digitally on my PC and XBox One (although it also spans several of the consoles I’ve acquired over the years) must be around about the 100 mark – although that’s not that big compared to some people’s.

My film/TV show backlog encompasses many DVDs, box sets and a few things on Amazon Prime.

And books! I have shelves and piles of books, all waiting to be read.

So why don’t I play/watch/read them? And why buy more of these things when I haven’t finished the ones I’ve got?

Those are really interesting questions – really, really interesting questions…

Wish I knew the answers.

Part of it is (confession time) impulse buying. Part of it is the fear that if you don’t buy it someone else will, or if it’s on sale that the price reduction will end. These are not good reasons.

But I think there’s something else. I am horribly indecisive, terribly so (probably – sorry, couldn’t resist). So when I have some time to watch something or play a game, I spend so much time just trying to decide what to watch or play. Endless scrolling up and down game lists or combing DVD shelves for that one right choice, the one that will bring me the satisfaction that I seek.

The truth is, there is no “one right choice”. And when the truth of that hits home, I will tend to go into my comfort zone – either playing a game I always play or wasting time watching YouTube videos, both of which leave me feeling frustrated and empty, like ending up eating plain toast for breakfast because you couldn’t choose between all the nice things.

I put anxiety in the title of this post because part of me wonders if my anxiety has something to do with this or not. It can make me feel anxious, certainly, having what is essentially too much choice. And I think what makes it worse is the worry of what I’m missing out on by making a choice: if I play this game, I’ll miss out on that game. But then I end up missing out on both!

And that’s one of the many troubles with this anxiety: you end up putting yourself in a no-win situation. You expend so much energy in looking for the perfect solution when there isn’t one. And when you finally realise that there isn’t one and you’ve wasted so much time just to end up in your comfort zone, missing out on the pleasure you could’ve had – the frustration grows deeper.

So then you buy more stuff because this time it will be the one that will be that one right choice – and of course it isn’t, and it just ends up on the backlog.

Fun, eh?

So what’s the answer? Still not sure I know. Probably, hopefully, to try and shut down that anxious part of my brain that says “but what about this” every time I want to enjoy myself. To try and focus on what I’ve chosen to do, rather than worry about the thing I’m not doing.

For some, no doubt, that’s easy. For me – not so much. But I will keep at it, keep trying to enjoy and find fulfilment in what I’m doing in the here and now. And maybe, maybe, the backlogs will start coming down.

What to preach on?

Before I go on with this, please note that I’m not meaning to be churlish – honest!

It’s just that a week on Sunday (June 29) is my last “official” Sunday at Cemetery Road Baptist Church, where (for those who don’t know), I’ve spent the last year as part of my training for becoming a minister.  And Nigel, the minister, has given me a free choice of what I preach on, rather than have me fit in with the current series that’s being looked at.

Which is great, except I haven’t a clue what to preach on!  It’s a bit like when you were at school and were given a blank piece of paper and told to “draw something”.  But what?  You had the whole of the world to choose from – how could you decide?

Similarly here: I’ve got the whole of the Bible (pretty much) to choose from.  Do I just go with the lectionary readings for that week?  Do I revisit one of my old sermons?  Do I choose something that’s vaguely related to moving on?  I’m really, really, stuck!!

What can you get for 3 quid?

3 pounds sterling is all I have left of the £50 birthday I was given. Most of it has gone on useful things (“Gathering for worship”, the BU worship patterns and prayers book and a book on preaching), as well as one less useful thing (SimCity on Nintendo DS).

So what can I do with the rest (was going to say “spend the rest on” there, but it may not necessarily involve spending it). Any ideas (aside from “give it to me” or similar) then please let me know…