To be honest, this kind of gets at a dilemma that I've been thinking a lot about lately. I have around 200 physical surround releases, plus a bunch that are digital only. I know it's a small collection relative to some of yours, but I've bought them selectively, meaning only getting items I really want to hear, not just for the sake of owning or investing in them. So what I already have is a load of riches that I don't have enough time to fully enjoy. There's things I haven't listened to in years, even though I really like them. I keep thinking that I should stop focusing on what I don't have, stop checking my Discogs want list and Amazon wish list, etc., and start looking through my collection more, and then... listening to them! Does this resonate with any of you, do you struggle to control the urge to keep buying more, and just enjoy what you have instead? For me it applies to a lot of things in my life really... the challenge to appreciate what's in hand, not yearn so much for what isn't. And it's not so much about the money involved (although that can really add up), it's more about stuff, and the procurement/management/maintenance/storage of said stuff, becoming as much a burden as a pleasure.
FWIW, I relate to this strongly... I used to say "nothing gives me a bigger existential crisis than the number at the bottom of my digital music collection showing me how long it'd take to listen to it all... even one time, let alone going back to things that move me..." And it can take a serious mind-shift to finally admit that you simply never will. Same as walking into a library and seeing all of those books... couldn't consume them all in multiple lifetimes even if you read constantly... and while that's initially a bummer, it's also kind of freeing, to then go "right, then where will
I focus?" To be intentional about those decisions.
I recently read a book that I thought would seriously bum me out but really helped me deal with balancing out my collector/completist nature with reality and better usage of time/money/headspace—it's called "4,000 Weeks" (Amazon.com: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals: 9780374159122: Burkeman, Oliver: Books
), which is, insultingly, how many weeks you're on this planet if you live to be 80. My dad, who had such a monumental impact on me and those close to him, had 2,600. I'm at 2,429. How do you spend them?
The whole book is about embracing the fact that especially today, with the limitless amount of content you could be consuming, or unique experiences you could be having, at any given moment—you will actually miss out on pretty much everything
. And that's actually freeing, because there's no point then in trying to consume or experience it all, it's impossible. There's a ton of stuff out there that we would LOVE that we'll never experience. That's being human, and it simply is what it is. So, when you make a choice to then listen to this or watch that or spend time with these people, it can be really powerful, affirming and poignant.
In high school I was the kid who "knew all the songs and bands". That was far from true of course, but I prided myself on that reputation and tried to listen to everything I could. I still have that hunger and always get a kick out of checking out something new... but as others have said, 1) If I'm a few songs in to something and I'm like "yeah, I get what they're doing here and I'm glad I experienced this but this isn't for me", I don't tough it out to the end like I used to, I feel fine with pulling the plug—at the end of the day there's no trophy and nobody cares. I also feel fine being glad I experienced something new but deciding I won't go back to it again. And therefore, making a conscious decision to not need it on my shelf. 2) Conversely, even though I've spent probably 100 or more precious hours listening to an album that is core to my DNA, I don't feel guilt for reaching for it once again when I could be listening to something else, because it makes me feel good
and is simply what I'm feeling like in this moment. So hey, sure I know Aqualung like the back of my hand and it's the Tull album I've spent more time with than any other. I know how blasting Cross-Eyed Mary is gonna make me feel, and right now it's what the doctor ordered... put it on!