My grandparents had to worry about feeding themselves through the Great Depression.
My parents were just too young to have to worry about the draft, but they had to worry about The Bomb perhaps souring a nice family meal.
I deal with a fair amount of stress over which TV shows, movies and books to consume because I can't escape the fact that I won't get to all of them. I will not apologize for my bourgeois, white middle-class plight—you play the hand you're dealt and that's all you can do.
Lately the feeling has not only been, "Oh crap I'm not going to get to all of them," but also, "to what end is this all for?" I wish entertainment were the highest good, because then it would be easy. But, at least for me, it's not. I have grand designs and special fancies of somehow, someway giving back to the arts-n-media community that has so plentifully given to me. I feel that my consumption is somehow serving that blessed hope, but I have to stop and ask myself—is it?
Like all of the best questions in life it is nice and complicated. Stephen King gave the advice that "Writers need to read a lot," (I believe I'm paraphrasing) and if he's wrong then I have no compass for this world and all is lost. So to an unknown extent it is good for me to consume. What I'm realizing lately is that just because something is good (like Breaking Bad, Dostoevsky, Arcade Fire, The Onion, David Fincher, etc. etc.) it doesn't mean that I can or should consume it. There is just too much good stuff out there and believe it or not I do want room in my life for other things. but I somehow lost the part of my brain that will let me pass on cultural happenings because I feel driven to be a part of ALL OF THEM.