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Thread: Enjoying the Finer Things

  1. #1

    Default Enjoying the Finer Things

    Maybe this isn't a problem for anyone but me. But here's a thing I noticed about myself, which I wanted to discuss with my friends here.

    At some point in time, I stopped watching television shows for pleasure and began watching them like it was my job. At some point in time, I stopped listening to music for pure pleasure, and began listening to albums that I was told were really important. I'd nix albums that were supposedly unworthy of any attention, or albums by artists who were laughed at by the more educated musical community. At some point in time, I stopped reading for pleasure, and only read books that were critically acclaimed and/or considered classics.

    So, at some point in time, I took all my leisure time and made it my job. I sat through season 6, season 7, and season 8 of Dexter. Yes, I did! I'm the person who did that! Why? I started the show when it first began airing and then I had to see it through, right to its terrible, terrible conclusion. I had to know what people were talking about. ("Oh yes I saw it too. It was just horrible!") I felt like I'd be missing out.

    There are things that I do enjoy very much. I have truly enjoyed Breaking Bad and looked forward to every new episode. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the finale! A lot of the classic and critically acclaimed novels, I really have enjoyed. I couldn't stop turning the pages of Kafka on the Shore. But some I forced myself through, just because I thought I had to.

    Part of this is due to some kind of completionist attitude. I feel like if I read the first five pages of a book, I have to finish it at any cost. If I watch the first three episodes of a TV show, I have to watch every episode until it stops airing. Part of this is due to a fear of, I don't know, not getting references? Of appearing poorly read? Appearing stupid or uncouth? And also a fear of missing out on stuff I actually would have loved.

    But I know a few things now. I'm not going to live forever. I literally can't keep doing this. I don't have enough hours to watch and read and listen to every thing that's awesome in the world. A lot of this is due to a teenager-like desire to fit in with my peers, and that's totally psychologically unhealthy! I realize I ought to be enjoying my own leisure time instead of forcing myself to watch stuff or read stuff I don't get pleasure from.

    But how? I've been trying to allow myself to watch only things I love, regardless of whether they are popular/critically acclaimed or not. I've not had the best time with this choice, as is noted in my writing a thesis about it now in the hopes for outside opinions and help.

    I personally found Boardwalk Empire boring this season, but it's still a critically acclaimed show, so I feel almost guilty for telling my DVR to stop recording episodes. It took a great deal for me to make that decision, too, to be totally honest. So far I've missed one or two episodes and I feel like something is left open and hanging there. It feels like I left the coffee maker on. It feels like I forget to close the garage door. I even still remember the name of a book I had to close in the middle of because I just wasn't enjoying it at all. All the time, my brain tells me go back to that book, you have to finish the book you started no matter how much you hated it. I closed the book in 2007. Yup. Still with me. Read that book! Finish that book!

    Please help me! With your wisdom and experience, I'd love to know what to do about myself. Is anyone else going through similar experiences? Anyone else do pop culture like its their job? Has anyone managed to stop the behavior? I'd love to hear from you guys on this silly, but unshakeable topic, for me.
    Last edited by Frogsy; 29-Sep-2013 at 04:14. Reason: grammar, typos

  2. #2


    While I can't say I'm having totally the same experience, I do feel like a little of this rings a bell with me. When I go to the movies, I ALWAYS stay until the credits are over. (Hey, sometimes there's bits of bonus footage in there!) And I avoid going to the bathroom during the film simply because I don't want to miss anything. It's like, "Hey, you can't say you've seen it unless you saw all of it!"

  3. #3


    To be completely honest I don’t understand this need to be this much in the loop. Sure it helps with friendly bonding (yes, I don’t have many friends) but I can’t get myself to know all the popular stuff... So I guess I agree that watching stuff just to have something to talk about is surely a chore. I’m also very sorry if I’m of no help, I’m just trying to add another point of view.

    I don’t see myself as a “hipster”. I just see myself as someone who enjoys anything I like. Music I like ranges from indie to the top charts.
    The last good book I read was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and the last “classic” I read was Agnes Grey by Emily Bronte. Agnes Grey was not very well received, but I still consider it a beautiful work. I just bought Looking for Alaska by Green because it was on sale digitally. It looked good because of the ratings so I just bought it. I don’t particularly care about the reviews, though. Sometimes I absolutely hate something that is rated highly. (Like the Lord of the Rings (books))
    I never got into TV. I don’t have cable (well, actually I do because it’s provided to me, but I don’t even have a TV or a cable tuner). My information comes from the Internet and even then it’s slow sometimes. All the TV I watch is the content I have on disc and the stuff on iTunes or Google Play.

    I have the exact opposite of a completionist attitude on some things but on things I really enjoy, I must finish. I guess that would make me normal.
    Fitting in is only important to an extent: just fit in enough to be able to interact. But time and time again, I feel like I’m never going to talk about the popular stuff because I’m not really into those things. That makes me feel very isolated, but at the same time I can’t get myself to read/watch/play/listen to whatever people are talking about.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I tend to enjoy things on my own accord, but sacrifice social time for that and in turn, become isolated.

    Please feel free to ask me to expand on something I said because I feel as if I don't have the capacity to help you in any way...
    Last edited by Embrace; 29-Sep-2013 at 03:46. Reason: italicized, re-positioned a sentence, etc.

  4. #4


    I wouldn't let fitting in and how you spend your time bother you to much, Frogsy. At the end of it all - all we have to leave behind is our knowledge, and our assets in the hope that it will somehow benefit the next generation.

    Or in the words of Albert Einstein: Time and reality are nothing more than a mere illusion, albeit, a very persistent one.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Frogsy View Post
    Please help me! With your wisdom and experience, I'd love to know what to do about myself. Is anyone else going through similar experiences? Anyone else do pop culture like its their job? Has anyone managed to stop the behavior? I'd love to hear from you guys on this silly, but unshakeable topic, for me.
    ah, shall i be typically blunt? yes, i shall: it's because you're boring.
    still, you're in good company: the whole fad of pop media/entertainment revolves around milking those who have nothing better to do with their lives (mainly, urbanites and city-dwellers whose lives are provisioned by the state, to then be milked by the same).
    and i don't know if you've ever met any of those who're 'acclaimed' within/by the world of entertainment (no matter how fancy they pretend), but wouldn't want to know them in real life, and you certainly wouldn't let them into your house. cutting to the chase, they're all either bullshitters or clowns (though, usually both) who themselves have nothing better to do than talk/write bullshit or clown around.........and they demand big bucks for it.
    at best, they're a minor, whimsical distraction. so, it says something when we allow them to become the whole of our lives to the extent that the distraction becomes the be all and end all; not to mention an 'industry'.

    and, as if that wasn't a big enough problem in itself, the whole of it is encouraged and endorsed by our 'leaders', under the 'bread and circuses' policy, for whom belly-filled,
    stuipfied slaves-cum-cattle make for easier control and exploitation.

    realize it and you're on the road to recovery.
    turn on, tune in, switch off.

  6. #6


    Which one do you feel like you have more trouble with? Indulging in the things that you actually enjoy? or quitting the addiction of trying to keep up with what's popular?

    I learned early on that it just doesn't pay off to try to listen to the music everybody else is into, and like all of the same shows, etc.
    I can agree that at least making yourself aware maybe of something that everyone is talking about may be worth it, just so you know what's going on and could join the conversation. But if you are feeling like you are making it your job to keep up and stay "in the know" then you are doing yourself a disservice.

    If you feel like you are experiencing a "teenager-like desire to fit in with your peers" you need to ask yourself "why?"
    Ultimately, there is nothing to be gained by being able to say "Yes I saw every episode!" or just being more "in the know" than somebody else, or just the fleeting conversations that come with it. I understand the pressure to know about all of these things. Sometimes, the way people socialize, you run into situations where you will fare better socially by keeping up with all of those things. As Ade said above, those people are boring. They are all probably experiencing the same "pressure" you describe. It will start to feel more like "keeping up/in the know" is a hobby. Is that something you enjoy? Personally, I do not. My advice, in terms of the "pressure" aspect of this, would be to start making your own rules.

    You have to step back and decide "I want to watch, read and listen to what I enjoy." I started making friends that enjoyed a lot of the things I enjoyed. Sometimes I would even introduce them to a song, a book, a movie/play/tv show, or a hobby that I liked, and a lot of the time they really enjoyed it too!!

    So what if some people don't think the music you like is important? Or if they laugh at it? Or anything that you like for that matter. Try to socialize with people who enjoy and appreciate what you like!

    I don't have a problem with saying "Nope, I haven't seen it" "I haven't heard of that music artist" because it will usually follow with somebody showing me the song on youtube, or clips from the TV show, or talking about the book, etc. So I will know about it regardless lol. It doesn't damage my pride at all.

    I have my own things that I like to do, watch, and listen to. I don't regret any of the time that I spend indulging in the things I genuinely enjoy, or exploring new things that I actually like. Sometimes, people even start to become more interested in what you like than what everyone else likes! I've seen it happen!

    You are completely correct in saying "Life is short" try to spend your moments in life doing things that fill you with wonder and joy. You may need to remind yourself for awhile that it is not "Your job" to watch things you don't feel like watching. Don't put down a music album that you love, just because people laugh at the artist, or can't appreciate the music. If you love appreciate it, be confident enough in your taste/opinion to just enjoy it!

    I also completely understand the part about being a "completionist". In my opinion, that aspect of it has less to do with social pressure, and more to do with being just a personal habit. I think it starts to become a bit of a bad habit when you view it as being "negative" to put down a book you just don't want to read anymore. It becomes more of a "compulsive" act, than something you are doing by choice :/

    You have to take some time to think about your outlook. You have to decide whether spending more time reading a book that you have loathed, is worth more than the possibility of discovering something else, be it a book, a new song, a poem, anything; something that could actually inspire you. You could discover something that could change your life, you never know. You just have to trust yourself, trust your gut, when you are not enjoying something, just stop. It is a habit that you can change, you can create a better one.

    I guess ultimately, these are the worst things that could happen

    1.) Next time someone mentions "that episode" or "that new song" you have to say "I haven't seen/heard it"
    2.) You'll never know what happened at the end of that book you already read half of; but hated.
    3.) People will have different tastes in music and they may not like the same music that you enjoy.

    Really, you are not missing out on much! Think about the the list you could make if you were trying to list all the things you could gain? The possibilities are endless

    Try to start enjoying again I hope that helped a bit!!

  7. #7


    I only do things i want to do, and listen to music I wish to listen to. I own no modern pop such as JB or new Miley, a bit of R&B, but mostly older rock, jazz, and classical. A lot of people think I'm weird for that, but most modern music is very homogenous, and gets repetitive very quickly, if you're a musician and used to playing jazz, singing, etc.

    As far as the rest of your life goes, I dress to fit in to a certain extant, but hey. I tend to be a fairly free spirit otherwise.

  8. #8


    It's funny, my problem is the exact opposite of yours, Frogsy. Every time I invest my time in a show that's just starting, it winds up getting. I bring the kiss of death to new shows simply by watching and enjoying them.

    I know that feeling about continuing to watch a show simply because you've invested a lot of hours in a show and it feels like you continue to watch it out of a sense of responsibility. You know the characters, you know all the subplots, you put on all that time into it. I guess I feel that if I dropped the show after investing all that time in it, I'd have to admit I wasted all that time on it which could have been better spent doing something constructive. So I continue wasting my time on it trying to convince myself it's not so bad

    (look out, a starrunner story follows)

    I must confess to watching Smash which was a superficial drama about putting a Broadway play together. The plots were your average soap opera stories and the music was adequate, at best. I initially started watching it because I do like Broadway and thought the stories would develop into something interesting and the music would improve. Halfway through the first season I realized it wasn't getting better. I was moderately interested but I watched it more out of a sense of loyalty than actually enjoying it.

    At this point there was word the show would be cancelled. GREAT, I thought. I'll finish watching it and cross it off my list of required viewing! Unfortunately, it got renewed for a second season.

    The second season promised 'big changes.' So I decided I'd continue for the first few shows and then drop it if it hadn 't improved.

    It really wasn't any better and now I was watching it pretty much because I already invested so much time in it and I kept trying to convince myself it was good.

    They finally cancelled it after the second season which put me out of my misery.

    I did learn something from that experience. I'll give a show some time to work but I'm not going to bother anymore with shows that I don't really love after I've given them a fair chance. Life's too short to sit in front of a television watching something that doesn't really appeal to you.

    I can see an improvement this year. I watched Revolution last year and I enjoyed the first half, but when it came back after a hiatus, I wasn't feeling quite as involved with it. Two weeks ago I started recording the second season but wasn't thrilled about having done it, again it was that sense of loyalty. I'm proud to say, however, I deleted them from my PVR after admitting to myself that I really didn't want to continue with it.

    As far as books go, I don't read what other people are reading and I have no interest in being in the loop of popular culture. I tend to read political books and perspectives and I seek out different points of view that challenge my beliefs, as well as books where I can learn more to reinforce my political beliefs. I've never read books out of any sense of responsibility or needing to know why other people were talking about certain pieces of literature.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by prettybaby View Post
    You have to take some time to think about your outlook. You have to decide whether spending more time reading a book that you have loathed, is worth more than the possibility of discovering something else, be it a book, a new song, a poem, anything; something that could actually inspire you. You could discover something that could change your life, you never know. You just have to trust yourself, trust your gut, when you are not enjoying something, just stop. It is a habit that you can change, you can create a better one.
    Thank you PrettyBaby - this advice was just what I needed to hear. Your perspective change was spot on. I think a big part of it is actually the compulsion to finish things I started. Even though that's a more 'brain-wiring' issue, your advice might just help me to detangle those wires with practice. You're totally right, I definitely need to view it is 'discovering something I might love' rather than 'dropping something half-done.' Wonderful advice!!

    The other issue I think I have now that I thought more about it with your guys' responses was that I have a lot of friends (long-distance friends now that I've moved) who are very up to date with pop culture and I have a very hard time saying N.O. to anything at all. So when they tell me to watch this show or that show, I usually obey their command, haha. Then I watch three episodes, say, and my weird brain-wiring decides we now are married to this pop culture and have to see it through until the bitter end. This worked great for Six Feet Under, which I loved every episode of. This didn't work well for Dexter, which died slowly and horribly while I watched...

    Talking to my friends is like an episode of The Nerdist. I'm afraid I'll lose them if I can't keep up. But that's okay, I guess, if my fanatical friends would rather have a sounding board than a friend, that should tell me a lot about them!

    I honestly don't feel like I'm boring, haha. I do feel like I can't say no, I have a compulsion to complete everything, I right now have a group of friends who are very much in-the-know, and I have a big fear of disappointing people. In the past, as well, I had people who were seriously judgmental about what you did or didn't appreciate. This was mainly in college. If you liked or didn't like a certain band, show, movie, they judged your whole personality on that. I have since gotten away from those more, um, harsh 'friends' if that's what one could even call them. Maybe the habits and fear of judgment have stuck with me, however.

  10. #10


    I'm the most open-minded snob I've ever met. I had a very old-fashioned childhood, had culture and the arts drummed into me by teachers from an early age, went to a posh junior school, then an even posher secondary school. I then rebelled and dropped out of the sixth form, backpacked around other countries for a bit with a bunch of hippies, and completed a proper education. When I returned home, I was completely broke and found myself locked out of my earlier peer group. So I tried to fit into a different crowd, studied pop culture religiously, spent hours catching up on whatever TV show my colleagues were talking about, and following certain bands for the sake of celebrity. I even made a concerted effort to change my accent so I wouldn't get laughed at. I think I've mentioned elsewhere that I was a bit of a nerd at heart - I tried very hard to disguise that fact! All in all, it was a horrible time and I was very confused by the experience.

    I moved away again and still haven't found my 'place'. I can talk to anyone I meet, but it's generally on their terms. I get odd looks if I start to trail off into my own interests. Although these days I tend not to care much about what other people think of me and don't mind when others say I have a bizarre perspective on life. I can't stand most of the rubbish on TV (I haven't renewed my license this year), but will watch the odd show on the internet when I get time. It has to engage my brain or I get bored quickly. I still love strolling through galleries and museums and get a kick out of feeling intimidated by the technical skill that most of the earlier artists possess. It motivates me to work harder. A lot of people have said that makes me a snob. I'm attracted by music that does the same. I am amazed by what individual humans can achieve. I don't see that as a bad thing. I think it should be celebrated.

    On the other hand, I look for masterpieces in unconventional places. I recently sat and listened to the soundtrack of a computer game, simply because the music was beautiful. I've also been blown away by the artwork in games and the technical skill that goes into producing an entire interactive world. I couldn't care less if society regards a novel as popular or a classic. I will read a book if it interests me. In a few hundred years, the definition will change anyway. The same with fashion. I dislike most man-made fabric because it feels scratchy against my skin. So I'm happy to spend more on natural fabrics (saying that, you can pick up well-made clothes at lower prices if you know where to look). I also refuse to be an unpaid walking advertisement for someone's company, so I tend not to wear labelled items. That's just personal preference and seems logical to me. Also... have you seen what passes as 'fashion' right now?

    The point of my rambling is that you shouldn't give a damn what other people think. Society is made up of numerous overly illogical people, and basing your activities on what they deem to be socially acceptable is utterly moronic. Do your own thing and be happy!

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