I often feel overwhelmed by what the world offers us. To experience all that I want to experience in life I figure that I’ll require at least another two or three lifetimes. How can we cram everything in to just one life? While thinking on this issue I was reminded of a scene from the film, ‘American Beauty’, where the character of Ricky Fitts (played by Wes Bentley) is sharing his footage of a plastic bag dancing in the breeze.
‘It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and… this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… and I need to remember… Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.’
This excerpt sums up exactly how I feel. There is so much beauty, so much goodness, and so much ‘life’ out there to explore that I sometimes feel like it’s all too much.
For instance, I have a lot of books on my shelves, some which I have read, but a lot that I am yet to read. However in any given day I only have a small window of time which I can actually dedicate to reading. So the books I already own don’t get read as quickly as I would like. Adding to that all the books which I don’t own, that have been in circulation from the time when books began through to today, that means there are likely to be a lot more books out there which I’m sure I’d enjoy. Then I have to take into account all the books which are currently in production or yet to be written.
Where does this leave me? Well I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle and will never have enough time to read all the great books out in the world. For instance say I read one book a week and I enjoy approximately 75 book reading years that means that in my lifetime I only have the capacity to read roughly 3,900 books.
Then there’s music. I have a pre-existing base of music which I like, but there are so many more artists out there who I am yet to discover or who are yet to start producing music. Then as my musical tastes change and grow, I open myself up to even more artists and once again I fall behind. I would say it would be possible for me (taking into account budgetary considerations) to listen to about 10 CDs a week. Once again if I estimate an average CD listening lifetime of 75 years, I would be able to listen to about 39,000 which seems fairly high, but given the number of CDs out there in the world, I’ll barely be able to make a dent.
Travel is also a bit of a concern. I often get the travelling itch but still haven’t had the opportunity to travel overseas or even in my own country all that much. When I examine my future travel prospects it is all a little worrying. Say I get to travel to 2 destinations every year and that I have approximately 45 travel possible years in my life (which I’m a bit behind on already), that means that I’ll be able to only travel to about 90 places. Sure that seems like a few, but what if I want to go back to a few places? What if I have a long stay somewhere? This calculation does not bode well…I’ve really got to get on the road and get cracking.
Then there is the time needed to ponder all manner of other beautiful things in the world. Things like national parks, sunsets, patting dogs, walking along the beach, smelling flowers, loving, sleeping in, eating, drinking, laughing with friends and family, art exhibitions, architecture, wildlife, cold weather, jeans, boots and storms.
I won’t even begin to think about the number of films, live theatre, music gigs, festivals and television shows which I would be able to fit into one measly little life. Especially considering time lost when you factor in sleep and work hours. It makes me think that I need to carefully consider how to best use every minute of my time and try to waste as little time as possible on inferior offerings.
Where oh where will we fit everything in?