Recently, I unsubscribed from various YouTube channels. As well, I rid myself (by both giving and throwing away) several books. Same for a few video games that I had held onto in the hopes of someday coming around to playing them. I suppose it could be chalked up to the whole “New Year, New Me” mentality that is common at the beginning of the year, or even a very early spring cleaning, but, for some reason, this act still felt odd and momentous.
Now, I am not trying to make more of a simple situation. I am not a hoarder, by any means, so this wasn’t some sort of cathartic, Marie Kondo-esque learning moment when I finally released myself of a bunch of stuff. I have thrown or given away many of my things before: clothes, kitchenware, magazines, even a pretty nice hookah setup. Yet, I’ll admit that my feelings and thoughts concerning letting go of media have always been a bit more complicated. I cannot really say for sure why, but moving on from books, films, series, etc. has presented as an issue or discomfort. Not to a debilitating effect or anything, but definitely noticeable in having a seemingly endless list of books to read, films and shows to watch, music to listen to, and constantly adding more to the pile.
Accordingly, actually removing channels from YouTube subscriptions, books from my shelves, and films and shows off my queues was oddly significant, at least for me. As I deleted or unsubscribed, I noticed that some YouTube channels had not updated for years. Some continued to upload content, but I had simply lost interest or never really had it to begin with. Same thing with much of the programming on my queues. I tagged it at a moment and just sort of forgot about it later. I felt a sense of guilt while doing this. After all, many people had worked hard to make these things, and I had, at some point, been intrigued enough to find and register this product into my sphere of attention, so I should engage with it, right?
Well, the people involved in the making of these various pieces of media had moved on, so why shouldn’t I? I mean, for a lot of the television series, films, and videos I had once saved for later viewing, the very creators of them had not mentioned or engaged with them for several years. In essence, they had moved on from that particular work, not necessarily because of shame of association or lack of interest. More often, it is simply the passage of time and wanting to work on other projects out of interest and necessity. So, if they could move on from media, especially their own, with no sense of guilt or complication, why couldn’t I?
The truth is simply that I could if I wanted to. It is perfectly fine to never finish that book that turned out not be of real interest to you. Hell, even if it is the next great American novel, you can still give up on it for later or to never pick it up again. Don’t like a television show? Don’t have to give it a few episodes to see what the hype is about. You can just not watch it and move on to something you prefer. Haven’t seen the film classics or the latest trend or fad films? Again, don’t have to. It seems like such an odd epiphany to have, but I cannot label it as anything else.
It seems odd, particularly for a media analysis and review site, to suggest not engaging with media, but it might be necessary. That’s not to say that media shouldn’t challenge us in some fashion, but more that the challenge should not be daunting or unrewarding in its execution. So, I am giving myself permission to just let go and move on from certain books, films, series, etc. that don’t serve me or my intentions for this year or that I simply do not enjoy. Perhaps, you might consider the same for this year.