Having but never doing.

robin smith
5 min readOct 18, 2020

Last night I spent a couple of hours looking at the sheer number of books and other media myself and my wife have managed to collect over the years. This collection has ballooned over recent years and I begin to wonder now why it is I’ve never had the time to truly enjoy much of this media. Why do I continue to lose so much time that could be spent enjoying the things I have in front of me? Or maybe it’s too late.

Last night I actually took the time to count each individual book, dvd, game and more sat on the many shelves in our home. After the monumental task of collating together everything I found that we had…

952 individual books across all types, from fiction to non, and practical to entertainment. 838 downstairs, 105 upstairs and a handful more in other places. This doesn’t take into account all digital books on memory cards and download services. Also, much like with other media on here, this doesn’t take into account if any doubles exist.

But 952… that’s quite a lot isn’t it. I don’t share this number as a point of pride, although it does make me quite content to have access to knowledge and stories of quite a wide range. We aren’t rolling in wealth, although the last couple of years has made us, less worried about struggling in the short term than we have felt in the past. Much of this number is primarily due to my wife’s love of the medium. It’s rare that I see her without a book in her hands.

Even she has bought wisely, paying out for 2nd hand, or books on offer. Although she does have a handful of titles that were bought new and with some quality in mind. For the most part they weren’t costly.

It’s much the same with other media, continuing the numbers there’s …

280 DVDs, 13 HD DVDs (yes really), 127 Blu-ray, 25 VHS, 7 Xbox One (plus 326 digital and 214 including game pass arriving at a total of 547), 43 Xbox 360 (I’ve not counted the digital ones here as many of those are on Xbox One… although there’s a few more digital titles that aren’t on there but are owned), 5 Wii, 1 wiiu (several digital there too), 6 switch (plus 44 digital, and you can include access to the 55 nes and 35 SNES titles as part of the Nintendo online).. 2 DS, FOUR 3ds (11 digital), 17 PS4 (plus 427 digital and 191 psplus), 16 PS3 (and again more digital), 29 ps1, 2 HD Blu-ray, 5 dreamcast, 7 PS2, 6 Xbox, 2 gamecube, 9 PSP, 6 megadrive, 2 SNES, 1 vita (several more, again, digital)…

I built up such a collection with the help of 2nd hand stores and pound saver style shops, you can get a good number of Blu-ray and DVD for less than £2. Sometimes as little as 20p.

With games, at least on the physical side it actually should be 7 times more, but years of trading and selling games to get by when times were tougher (games sell easy for OK money) have left me with regrets and empty shelves where there should have been more. We still buy cheap and digital sale are a great friend/addiction. Also, I have a terrible interest in BAD games. So the games I often pay for couldn’t be given away (think bullet witch or wet).

I think you get the idea of the sheer numbers with that. This obviously doesn’t take into account the number of digital titles on consoles I didn’t count, download video content, plus access to Netflix, Disney plus, Amazon video, nebula, curiosity stream… Or the unfathomable volume of items of all kinds bought on steam, itch.io, humble bundle, Gog, and other services.

It’s all just so much. Some of it is doubled, some not, but even cutting down much of this stuff Iv’e managed to engage with so little of it. I’m sure you are the same, lists of shame we love to call them, but it feels not like the content is shameful, all of it can potentially be enjoyed. My wife for example reads a great number of books, plays as many games as myself, and makes time for TV and films. It’s sometimes a challenge for her with some things, but I suspect she’s read over 80% of the books we own.

Why can’t I get to 5%?

You could argue that it’s the pressures of the capitalist society, working us to a death. I work over 37 hours a week. Less than some, more than others. This is before overtime and for less than £7.00 per hour (national minimum wage in the UK is £8.72 for those over 25 for reference). Is the loss of time and chance to actually partake in these things worth it. Or is it that I am just using this as an excuse. I want to read all sorts of books, watch all sorts of films, finish several games that I am enjoying. I just don’t seem able to.

Maybe it’s the sheer amount of choice? I just don’t know where to start, or I can’t stay focused.

Or maybe I just don’t have the will to try, that everything has the potential to be worth my time, but I don’t feel emotionally motivated enough to do it, as do I don’t, and then I get depressed, and that lingers, so I feel even less likely to. So it goes on.

I do want to make a good effort to experience more of these things though. I can easily watch a good film or show when I get going, read a book of reasonable size in a couple of days no problems. Even with the work time, I have the time free otherwise. So I want to make the effort to do so.

I have accounts on Letterboxed : https://letterboxd.com/seiibutsu/ , GG : https://ggapp.io/Seiibutsu , and Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38668189-robin-smith , I encourage you to follow me there and hold me to account over the coming 12 months. I want to see just how much I can get through with a little focus.

I also encourage you to comment below if you can relate to this feeling and what you really should have taken the time to experience but still haven’t. Let’s get a conversation going.



robin smith

Making things ~ the internet’s best kept secret ~ greatest man who never lived