As I had hoped to learn enough macroeconomic theory to get some research ideas, my goal at the beginning of this summer was to read through and complete the problems in an introductory advanced macroeconomics text (my first-year PhD macro courses left me more stunned than enlightened). I started with The McCandless's ABCs of RBCs, and quickly found that it was above my ability level when I reached problems I didn't even know how to set up, so now I'm trying Romer's Advanced Macroeconomics. I've gotta say that after having to consult the solutions manual several times through Chapter 2 out of 12, I'm feeling rather discouraged as the solutions involve methods that are not intuitive to me and not discussed in the text.
Is there even any point in someone with my skill level tackling such a task? I can't really see myself being a macroeconomic theorist after this, and it seems that the vast majority of empirical macroeconomic studies use reduced-form linear models backed by hand-waving arguments based on principles or intermediate theory, so I'm starting to doubt the utility of studying advanced theory at all.
I understand this may be an an "illegal" question here on Stack Exchange, so I won't protest if it's closed. But if not, does anyone have any tips for how to proceed?