Back in 2011, when Spotify debuted in the US, it allowed me to access an extraordinary range of music that I’d never gotten into before. For a brief moment there, I felt like all of my horizons were expanding aggressively, like I was finally expanding all of my tastes. Just today, I looked at my favorite stuff and realized that I essentially now use the service as an expanded CD collection, sticking with a few reliable artists that I KNOW I like rather than actively seeking out new stuff.
Recently I’ve learned that a lot of music fans don’t work this way. There are people out there who are relentlessly seeking out new bands to listen to and share with others. I think this goes at least a little with the idea of going to a concert whenever possible, something I’ve never been into. Most of my music tastes dwell in the realm of digging deeper rather than expanding outward. I don’t think that’s necessarily better, but it does mean that the scope of new music in my life is largely limited to how much I know the artist.
This tendency to go deeper instead of wider isn’t really limited to music either. It’s how I play board games, preferring to dig into something I already know rather than learn something new. Even if it is new, I have to make myself play something if I’m not absolutely convinced I’ll love it. And it affects the way I watch movies as well. I used to have my finger on the pulse of all major releases, and most of the smaller prestige stuff. Dwindling income and parenting have made it so that the last movie I saw in the theater was The Hobbit.
(Incidentally, time and cost has driven me to Netflix Instant Streaming, which is a much better venue for television shows than it is for movies. As such, it means that I’m way more up to date in that realm than in film. I LOVE digging deep into TV series, but sometimes the first step of actually watching it is the hardest. Imagine that.)
A big part of me feels like my geek-fu is a little weak because of how non-conversant I am in these matters. I’ve found myself lost in some conversations about music, since my taste is too obscure to be mainstream, and too mainstream to be hipster. And most of my film conversations end with the phrase “still haven’t seen it yet.” I would be lying if I said this didn’t bother me a little.
But it also bothers me less than it did. I don’t know if it’s a product of age or what, but I’m getting more and more comfortable with enjoying my leisure on my own terms. I don’t mind so much if I am just now discovering Daft Punk’s music. It’s alright to want to watch old episodes of Arrested Development instead of something new. Just another example of why the best part of adulthood is basically getting to decide what you want to do, and not worrying too much how it looks to other people.