If you can, think back to the days of terrestrial TV: five channels, a set schedule and a mad rush to plonk yourself in front of the box before you favourite show started.
Now, consider early video games. Rudimentary systems, epic (if repetitive) games and an electric surge of pure excitement when you hit a new high score.
In contrast, cinema-going, back in the day, was our primary source of e x t e n d e d entertainment. Setting aside two hours (or so) of your time for each anticipation-filled visit was something to be cherished for the luxury that it was. As a former film student, it’s really sad to think how little time I have to myself these days. I must go to the cinema no more than three times a year, and only then for films I really have to make time to see.
Lamenting aside, I’ve just been considering what our media consumption is like today, compared to that of our childhoods. This has, naturally, led to a more philosophical set of random thoughts for today.
Take a moment and think about your media use for a second.
Whatever you’re into, there’s a subscription for it, right? Films, reality TV, sports? It’s all there at the press of a button. Games are much the same, too. Digital storefronts tease you with attractive discounts and free-play days; the latest and greatest titles available at the press of a button or two.
The way we consume media has adapted to match our time-pressed, eternally busy lives. Media consumption is efficient, responsive and entirely at our disposal. This extends to more traditional media, too. Is there a magazine out there that doesn’t offer a digital subscription? This marks a change in our everyday habits.
Time-constrained and forever work-oriented, our priorities have shifted. Whether for the better, or not, I couldn’t say, but it’s made me realise that I want to have a life rich full of experiences. I want to immerse myself in other peoples’ creativity, in order to inspire my own. I’d love to watch all the films, play all of the games and experience as many other cultures as possible.
Media use has changed to reflect this common desire. We, as consumers, haven’t got the time to waste anymore. We, typically, know what we like and how we’d like to spend those few precious hours that we have to decompress at the end of a long day.
Consider how much we miss out on experiencing because of our habits, though. I recently discussed this with a friend and realised how set in my ways my game-playing tendencies are. As much as I’m fascinated by multiple genres, styles and platforms, my limited time often leaves me in the comfort-zone of familiarity.
Truthfully, life is too short to experience e v e r y t h i n g, as much as we may wish otherwise.
You’ll be familiar with the notion that if you ate at a different restaurant in New York City every day of your life, you’d not eat at the same place twice? The same goes for a lot of things: meeting new people, travelling to new places or learning new hobbies.
Similarly, consuming films, television shows, games… sure, you could dedicate your life to one or more of these things and truly experience them all as best you can, but you’d be missing out on other things.
I guess what I’m trying to say, in my rambling parlance, is that life is short, and time is precious. Get out there and experience life, my friends.
Eat what you want to eat, watch what you want to watch and travel whenever you can; try a new cuisine, genre or style and enrich your lives.
Time is precious; a gift.
At the end of the day, it’s not going to be the commutes or the meetings that we’ll remember, it’ll be how we spent those precious hours at the end of the day, the holidays and the spontaneous days out with those we love.
Experience life, in whatever way inspires you.
Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think, and experience life. I realise how important it is to use the time I have.Viggo Mortensen