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.

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My poorly laptop…

…in fact, I think it’s more than poorly.

It was a freebie that I got with a mobile broadband deal, before they started giving away netbooks.  It’s installed with Windows Vista Basic (whoopee…) and I’ve been dual-booting with Ubuntu (with a brief dalliance with PCLinuxOS, which refused to recognise my network card).

Anyways, I’ve been buying Linux Format magazine recently and t’other month, they gave away Linux Mint on their cover DVD, which seems pretty good.  So, I decided to give it a go and install it, at the same time overwriting both my Ubuntu and Vista partitions (I don’t hate Vista as others do, but I’m not sure it’s suited to a 2ghz Celeron laptop).

It all seemed to go well at the start, but something went wrong.  I don’t know if the DVD was dicky or if my crashing into the laptop (I’d left on the floor) didn’t help, but either way it didn’t install properly.  After a while, it just sat there with the hard disk light on and the DVD clicking in the drive.  I tried rebooting (which I had to do by taking the battery out and putting it back in) and nothing.  Nada.

So, I have killed my laptop!  I hope that I’ll still be able to boot from a live CD/DVD of a distro (whether Mint or another one – haven’t decided yet) and resurrect it from there.  If not, then it’s either new hard drive for the laptop, or since my mobile broadband contract’s nearly up, see if I can get a better one on a new contract (shouldn’t be hard…).

Isn’t that a pip!

This feels a bit geeky…

… and, in truth, it probably is. But I’m writing this post, from an Acer laptop, via a wireless connection to my modem/router upstairs.

I know, I know, the world and its gerbil has done it. And it’s not even a very good laptop. But, hey! It’s a first for me. Plus I can’t help thinking that I’m somehow embracing my inner geek by doing so. Especially as I’ve got it to dual-boot with Ubuntu (though that doesn’t seem to like the wireless adaptor on the laptop).

All I need now is a Blackberry or smartphone of some description and I’m there!!

Sad, sad, sad…