I consume a lot of information from a variety of sources, that is one of the perks of living in this amazing age. At my fingertips I have more music, books, podcasts, and magazines than I could consume in ten lifetimes, and more is being created every day. It is overwhelming and awesome and terrifying. At times, I am painfully aware of my own mortality when I finish a book and am trying to decide what to read next.
Do I pick up Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman or The Sandman Volume 5 by Neil Gaiman? Should I dive deeper into my interest in yoga or should I read about the history of anarchist theory? How about trying to improve my life by reading a self-help book, or maybe my time would be better spent finally finishing Crime and Punishment. Or maybe, I should take a break from reading and watch Star Trek: Enterprise, The X-Files, or Jersey Shore, or play World of Warcraft. I could also sign up for MMA classes, listen to The Beatles with the lyrics pulled up on my computer, listen to a D&D podcast, join the local board game club, or start learning German (again).
As awe-inspiring as my options are I find comfort in knowing that there is no wrong decision. However, I choose to spend my leisure time I know there will be value in it because value is created by me. Value isn’t something tangible that you can pick up, hold, or store away in a sock drawer where it will sit waiting and unchanging. There is no objective measure of value where A Tale of Two Cities has 374 value points and is, therefore, a better use of my time than watching Top Chef: Seattle which only has 196 value points.
No, there is value in all things. If I watch or read or experience something and can’t find value in it, that is my weakness as a student and not necessarily a reflection on the creator. As an artist, I should be on the lookout for inspiration everywhere. Each “trashy” tv show is a collection of characters for a dystopian novel. Every game of Settlers of Catan is an opportunity to hone my strategic thinking and to understand how other people behave when under stress. Every experience I have, from reading Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men, Women, and Couples to listening to The Dungeon Master’s Block podcast provides nearly infinite inspiration and value for my life, if I just know how to see it.
I create my own value. I find my own inspiration. I just need to keep my eyes open and consume, consume, consume. And the more diverse the sources, the more tools I’ll have at my disposal when I sit down to create.