Last month I got William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich out of the library.
I had actually read it many moons ago, when I was a teenager. But “read” is a bit of a euphemism. It was so very long—over 1,000 pages—that although I did “read” all those pages, I did so rather quickly, focusing only on the bits that interested me most at the time. I did get an overview, but I was so young that I had no context in which to place that overview.
What I got from the book was more or less “This happened and then this and this and this.” I had so little knowledge or life experience to relate it to that it seemed just a series of inexplicable although terrible events.
It’s seemed to me more recently that I’d be able to bring more to the table if I managed to read it now. But it’s still over a thousand pages long, and there a lot of demands on my time these days. So back it went—mostly unread—to the library when due.
I have a host of books like this, all of which I want to read, and so little time. I was merely middle-aged when I started the blog, but somehow here I am and I’m—well, let’s just call it “older.” Prioritizing my time seems more important now than ever for that reason. But getting and spending we lay waste our powers.
Gotta have some fun, too. Each thing that I do seems important to me as I do it. And I have to eat and shop and cook and clean. I want to see friends, and take in theater or a movie now and then. YouTube is a huge time-sucker, but a lot of what I watch there is cultural, such as looking at dancers or musicians of the past or even the present.
Then there’s paying bills, filing the papers that come with dismaying regularity. Taxes at this time of the year (I’m about 95% finished at the moment). It seems as though getting rid of a lot of old stuff—papers and otherwise—would help, too, but that is incredibly time-consuming in itself. I used to joke to my husband that he’d spent the first half of his life amassing things (especially paper and photos) and might spend the second half getting rid of those things. It’s no joke.
And that first sentence of the paragraph two above this—“gotta have fun, too”—predictably sparked a trip to YouTube. So it shouldn’t be a total waste, I’ll share with you the fruits of that trip: