It’s mid-November, which means that, whether I want to or not, I need to start thinking about my end-of-year lists. I used to be way more excited about this; the idea of spending hours and hours recapping my entire year’s progress through various forms of media was a fun and informative way for me to revisit the year, to revive long-lost memories, to rejoice and revel in a year’s worth of extravagant impulse purchases.
It has become harder and harder for me to go through this process in recent years. I’m not even sure I bothered with one last year. Having a kid means I consume media with a completely different and re-wired brain; having a day job whose busy season is November/December means I have little-to-no opportunity to carve out the necessary time. (These things used to be thousands and thousands of words long.)
More than anything else, of course, it’s become very difficult to feel celebratory when the world is on fire. Does it matter that I can’t decide if Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is better than Red Dead Redemption 2, when I haven’t finished either of them and also that our President is completely fucking insane? Could I really rank Spider-Man below Yoku’s Island Express if only because Yoku filled me with a sense of calm and tranquility that not even the finest Ativan could provide?
And what of books and music? I could potentially come up with a few thousand words for BOTH of those lists, because I devoured far more on both fronts than usual. As noted above, it turns out that having an insane shithead with access to nuclear weapons be the POTUS means that I end up really craving distraction.
I used to be afraid of flying, and one of the ways I got over that fear was to do crossword puzzles while the plane was getting ready for takeoff. Now, I’m afraid that climate change is irreversible and that there very well might be a civil war, and so I buy books and games by the truckload. (Ordinarily I’d feel guilty about not buying music and instead only relying on Spotify, but I need to pay the mortgage somehow and I don’t want my wife to divorce me.)
Therefore, it looks like I will be doing some sort of year-end thing here. It doesn’t matter if anybody reads it, or disagrees with it, or whatever – I just need to do it because, above all else, I need something to do.