The article appeared on NPR’s web site on April 21, and although I printed it then, I didn’t read it until today. I was trying to avoid its plain truth: that no matter how much we want to, we can’t read, see, or hear everything that is worthwhile and beautiful. Of course, I knew that already, but I’ve fooled myself into thinking that I can try to keep up with the award-winning movies, the most inspiring art exhibits, the must-see TV shows, and most of all, read all of the great books. Take Mad Men for example. If I read one more article about how it is possibly the best show that’s ever been on television, I’m going to cry. I know it. I just haven’t made time to watch it. I’m not proud of that, but there it is. I’ve had to, as the article points out, surrender to the realities of time. I will never be able to participate in conversations about Mad Men or The Wire or Big Love. Every time I hear friends talk about one of those shows, I promise to add them to my very long Netflix list, but there’s so much to read and listen to and watch.
And the books! I have this fantasy that if the publishers would stop printing books for one year, I could catch up. Who am I kidding! Here’s one sobering statistic from the NPR article: “Let’s say your read two a week, and sometimes you take on a long one that takes you a whole week. That’s quite a brisk pace for the average person. That lets you finish, lets say, 100 books a year. If we assume you start now, and you’re 15, and you’re willing to continue at this pace until you’re 80. That’s 6,500 books which really sounds like a lot.” But according to Wikipedia, there were over 288,000 books published in the US during 2010!
As the NPR article points out, there’s just too much competing for our attention. It happens to be Eeyore’s birthday today – his 140th – and I feel appropriately gloomy realizing how much I will miss.
Here’s a link to the NPR story:
I’m trying to imagine how Pooh would have looked at this. Over a game of Poohsticks, he may have (by his very presence) reminded me to appreciate what I do have time to enjoy and keep my eyes open for a jar of honey!
“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
– AA Milne