I Need Downtime but FOMO Keeps Getting in the Way
Tell me, seriously, how in the world are we supposed to keep up?
There is just too much media to consume. Too much. I don’t have enough time to listen to the podcasts I love, and read the blogs I enjoy, and watch the television shows I would probably get into, and so on and so on.
Most of the time I am doing two or three of these things at once. Scrolling on my phone while queuing up YouTubes on the t.v. That’s while also having dinner. Ugh.
I know this will make me sound old, but it shows how fast things are changing. When I was under the age of ten, we had access to three television channels. Our small town provided a drive-in movie with two movie choices. One landline phone line for a family of four to share. That was it.
Then the 1980’s came along. I remember when I talked my mom into getting HBO and when MTV debuted for the very first time. We got an entertainment center so we could put a VCR in it. Cable channels started popping up everywhere.
During the 1990s my entertainment center in my first apartment consisted of a 27" television, a Super Nintendo, a stereo receiver, and a 5 disc changer CD player.
DVRs came along and caused us to throw our VCRs in the dumpster. They were great until they started getting full, which happened quickly. In a short time, I had so much recorded on my DVR I didn’t have time to watch ‘normal” tv anymore. My queue had six episodes of The Sopranos to catch up on, and half a season of Friends to rewatch.
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That is when I first started noticing I couldn’t keep up. I had more on that DVR than I could’ve watched if I sat there for a year and did nothing else. Yet, I couldn’t delete the shows — the agony over deciding what to keep and what to get rid of just so I could fit more on there.
Fast forward to now (pun intended), you can cut the cord if you like but you still have Netflix originals, Amazon originals, and Hulu and On Demand. I need a financial planner for all my streaming subscriptions.
I have two Rokus and there are so many apps on them I get lost searching for the YouTube app. At least on my Fire Stick, I can just say it out loud and the Amazon robots will find it for me.
When I open my Bluetooth settings on my phone I don’t know what half of them are. Which Echo Dot is it, the one in the bathroom or the one upstairs? I just make a stab at it, I inevitably connect to the wrong one every, single time.
My Pocket app has 390 unread articles. I opened it in the attempt to clean it out and ended up adding 10 more posts from the Recommended tab. Sigh.
I spent over a half hour yesterday creating my new memogi on my iPhone. It looks kinda’ like me. But that’s a half hour of my life I can’t get back.
My millennial friends spend hours talking about all the binge-a-thons they have going every night. They spend their entire lunch hour discussing them among themselves. It’s a competition to see who can rack up the most series and finish them the fastest.
How did things get this crazy? I crave just a few minutes of downtime but never get it. I’m always filling it up with something. We have the world at our fingertips but is that a good thing?
What do you do when there are so many things out there you want to enjoy but just don’t have the time for all of them? I can’t keep up with myself anymore much less Keep Up With The Kardashians.
I don’t want to sound old but seriously, this is getting way too excessive. The options are just too many.
I n e e d d o w n t i m e .
I started thinking about downtime and how it has also changed with each generation. Contrary to what most of us think, downtime doesn’t come from our Headspace app. While there are benefits to meditation, true relaxation comes from disconnecting.
Downtime doesn’t come from a playlist we’ve procured. Can it even exist within an environment we have total control over? How about listening to crickets (the real ones outside, remember them?) or watching a real sunset.
Not only do I have FOMO from all of the consumable options out there, but I also have sadness from the things I used to enjoy but don’t have time for anymore.
I miss channel surfing on the TV. I miss spending hours playing video games. I have two PlayStation games I never opened. They just sit there reminding me of how little time I have.
Listening to music? Forget it. My ears can only listen to one thing at a time. Every free listening moment I have in the bathroom or the car involves a podcast.
Reading a book I hold in my hands and turn the pages on…I keep telling myself I am going to take a vacation and do nothing but read books the entire time. Each time I tell myself that it sounds more and more like a joke.
The term downtime originated as a word with negative connotations. It refers to a system failure, mechanical shutdown, electrical blackout, etc.
Now we call downtime a vacation or an hour reading with our Kindle. It’s considered a positive situation.
In a world where we are so connected, so powered, true downtime is going to get harder and harder to find. There’s so much to choose from we’re never content, we’re never caught up, we’re never bored. It leaves us in a constant state of unrest.
This is the new age of cigarette smoking. Nicotine has been replaced with pixels and gigabytes. How did the word binge become more associated with sitcoms than food?
I am unsure how this is all going to play out, and I’m unsure if we’re close to a meltdown. I doubt the streaming companies and smartphone manufacturers are going to feel sorry for us. Did Phillip-Morris when people started dying of lung cancer?
Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme. All I know is that they will do all they can to get us addicted because greed rules.
All we can do is just try to stay smarter than our phones. Know when to draw the line. Kill FOMO and find the crickets.