Much TO DO About Nothing

muchtodoaboutnothing

I like books. I like that I can stop reading at any time and pick up again where I left off at my leisure. People would hate to watch a movie with me. I’ll stop and go run a few errands, clean up around the apartment, anything to take a break from sitting in front of the TV. Sometimes I even wait until the next day to finish what I’m watching. I have long since given up on going to the movies unless it is for something I find incredibly interesting that I must go see it. And even some of those I come out of wishing I had waited. I used to come out of a movie theater rather quiet after seeing something far less than spectacular for a fear of dumping on someone else ‘s perfectly fine viewing experience but then I would inevitably get asked what I thought of a movie and my mind instantly goes into critique mode. Again, not wanting to offend anyone, I would tone it back a bit but still receive defensive responses of “it was okay”, “fine”, or, most common, “it was decent”. Well I would rather spend two hours doing something absolutely astounding instead of something decent. I would even settle for something enjoyable than something decent. I hear the word decent and I think tolerable, not too bad, but nowhere near great. Needless to say, I don’t gout out to the movies much anymore. Unless it is for something I find so incredibly interesting.

As a kid I would read all the time. I never wanted to put my books down, I didn’t want to get up from in front of the TV, and later, the computer. I wanted my mind to be occupied, lost in some story much more exciting than my dull existence. I don’t think I recognized it at the time but I was filling my time with distractions. Nothing was really wrong with my life but I wasn’t making much of it either. It was a decent. So instead of living my life as a story that I could steer I sought out stories in TV shows, movies, and books because, let’s be honest here, the further adventures of Luke Skywalker were far more interesting than my schoolwork. I would read books because the characters I liked in movies mentioned them, I would watch TV shows that I knew people talked about, and I would choose movies that had some significance to the kind of person I wanted people to see me as. And I would force some sort of enjoyment out of them. Even the mediocre ones. There is an episode of NewsRadio (arguably one of the funniest sitcoms of all time) where Phil Hartman’s character reads a review of his on air performance which is rated as “adequate”. He then spends the rest of the episode boasting in his “adequacivity” hoping to convince everyone that the word means something more. Much like Bill McNeal I pressed onward to convince myself that things were far more than adequate. I wanted to justify how I spent my time.

As I’ve grown older I have come to value my time over many things, even money. I would much rather waste my money than waste my time and I can’t be alone in this, those of us that have full time jobs and passions that demand even more time; those of us working our way through school while trying to maintain social lives, relationships, and faith; those of us starting families or expanded them; any combination of these. Our time is precious yet we still waste it on distractions. Sometimes I don’t want to work on the next chapter. I didn’t want to do my homework. I wanted to drown out the drama of my personal life. I wanted to escape. And there’s nothing wrong with a little of that. Alleviating the pressure can keep us from breaking down and completely losing our minds but when it halts our growth we need to take a serious step back and take a look at what we are doing with our lives. Are we wasting our time? Are we hiding in the comfort of other people’s stories whether it be in books, TV, movies, video games, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or the number of other time wasters the internet has become? Or are we just taking a break before we move on? I have my downtime, my entertainment, my pleasures but it’s that balance between work and play that we must first obtain then sustain to keep our dreams alive, our lives in check, and our future’s in sight.

Video Game Job System Logics and Our Fading Futures

jobsystem_small

Sometimes work feels like a game. Not the idea of work but my actual job. That thing that lets me pay the bills and generally survive in this world. Maybe its growing up with video games and so when I hear words like experience or achievement I don’t think about real life but about those games. Or maybe its just my way of justifying why I am even there. It makes sense in my brain that to obtain one thing I must first do this other thing. Work equals payment for services which then gets applied to basic life needs … then books and TV shows but an argument can be made that those too are basic life needs. And maybe my most prevalent example are the games I grew up playing. Mega Man X, for example; I could go fight the Flame Mammoth right off the bat but he’s much easier to beat after acquiring the ice gun from Chill Penguin. One act leads to another which eventually leads to reward. Or, more accurately,  getting stuck on a story level in Final Fantasy Tactics would lead to me grinding for levels so my characters will be strong enough to progress in the game. One act leads to another which eventually leads to reward. So this is more in line of what my job has felt like recently. That unending grind for cash and experience.

They changed the menu a bit at work and one of our sandwiches is no longer on it. We still have all the ingredients and one or two people still remember and will order it but what happens when they stop ordering? Will the sandwich cease to exist due to a lack of demand? I think all this rather playfully but then I wonder about all those writing sessions I blow off or the times when I’m reminded of a deadline but choose to ignore that feeling that I need to get back to work. How much more will it take for me to completely abandon my future? Well, not my future but my goals. My desired future. It takes discipline. Discipline to overcome the monotony. Discipline to overcome the laziness. Discipline to move forward. And that’s what we need to do. Move forward. Don’t leave behind our dreams, our goals, our futures. Move forward. All the ingredients are still there. Just don’t forget about your future.

The Day’s End

Days End_edited

It’s the end of the day and everything is coming to a close. Now all of those unresolved thoughts from the past day, week, or months begin to see the surface. It is a great time to conclude some of them and channel the others into something productive. Something creative. When I was a young Christian the end of my day was prayer time. Mostly because I would put it off all day or forget about it altogether. Having the majority of the day’s business out of the way made it easier for me to focus on what was important. Now, having grown in my faith and learned to pray throughout the day my nights of focus have shifted to writing. I have had alot on my mind these past two weeks and when I sat down to write Saturday afternoon the pressure was finally too much and I let loose, furiously tapping away at the keys on my laptop. I saw things much clearer than I had these last few weeks and began to understand much more about my life, who I am, and who I need to become. I may only be writing a small fiction piece but know that my personal struggles and fears are being poured into this thing. And hopefully through writing this I can learn to be a better person and maybe even help others learn the lessons it has taken me years to discover for myself.

Dream Dream Dreaming

dreamdreamdreaming

I am an avid dreamer. Whether it’s fictitious daydreaming, imagining my future, or the most common form of the term, subconsciously playing out stories in my sleep, I enjoy them all. I can even say that my desire to write directly stems from wanting to record some of the things that I dream about. There have been so many dreams that I have woken up from and immediately preserved on paper and countless more etched into my memory that I have yet to bring myself to write down. Some mornings I will wake up and be haunted by the night’s dreams throughout the day. They have the ability to excite the imagination and also reveal the thoughts and feelings that may be hiding just beneath the surface of my mind.

I had once thought about compiling the poems and stories I had written based on some of my more poignant dreams but fear eventually took hold of me. The fear of putting too much of myself out there for others to see. I have always been one who observes but rarely shares. It’s the primary reason I decided to start posting things here on this site. To overcome that nervous, uncomfortable feeling that comes with sharing my personal thoughts and feelings. I’ve been rethinking my initial shelving of that project following two eerily similar dreams I had one night. I’d describe them here but you know how it is with dreams, they make perfect sense when you’re having them but later, when you’re trying to recall the details, things just don’t add up but the emotions felt were real enough to overlook the plot holes. They aren’t like the adventurous dreams that involve urban exploration, discovering lost civilizations, or giant mech battles. They are the stressful dreams about friends, family, relationships of all sorts. Dreams where I have someplace to be but I can never seem to get there or where I’m doing something that I know isn’t right but have no control over my actions. I’m a spectator in my own body. Dreams where I wake up covered in sweat, my heart beating hard in my chest. Ultimately, dreams about God. I’ve had several dreams about my relationship with God that have shaken my world. Whether these dreams were divinely placed or just my subconscious playing out my fears is up for debate but no matter the source, these dreams are worth noting.

What about you? Do you dream? Do you remember your dreams, filing them away for later? How do they affect you? DO they affect you?

Perseverance

perseverance

I have always had a problem with discipline. I’m not talking about discipline like in school, acting out and being all rowdy (I was a quiet kid living in my own little world.) I’m talking about self discipline. Self control. Setting a goal, making a long term plan, and sticking with it. If I knew you better and we had some time to talk then I would go into detail about how my limited self discipline has affected me in my growing up but seeing as this is going online for all to see I would like to keep this brief and focus on the last year or so once I recommitted myself to my [non-blog] writing.
Even with setting schedules and forcing myself to start writing I seem to find ways to get sidetracked. Its so much easier to just play the stories out in my head and feel a watered down sense of accomplishment than to actually put pen to paper and transcribe my thoughts for others to read. Or even easier, I can experience the stories told by others in the books, movies, and TV shows that line my shelves. And that’s just the entertainment side of things. I could trick myself into thinking that I’m not ready to write just yet. That this important bit of research needs to be done right now and not later once I’m fleshing out the details or maybe my writing isn’t good enough yet and I need to learn more before I can even begin to write. I could become absolutely convinced that the job would be easier in a month or two when I get a new laptop or if I were to go out and buy a desk instead of laying here on the floor scribbling into my notebook. I could think all of this before I even write down a single word and feel justified in my decision to postpone writing. I don’t do all of this because I don’t want my words to be read by others. Its not because I don’t enjoy the thrill of self discovery that comes with writing. It’s the work. Plain and simple. I have avoided doing work that I didn’t feel the desire to do throughout my life but that isn’t who I want to be anymore and it is who I have worked so hard to separate myself from these past five years. But old habits do indeed die hard and this one creeps up on my on a regular basis.
Life is an ongoing process. If I were to claim any sort of validity to some of the excuses I have made up not just in the avoidance of writing but in the avoidance of all hard work in the past then I would be a fool. We shouldn’t be waiting to fix ourselves or our situation before moving forward. We should be doing both at the same time. They are part of each other. And moving forward in life … that sounds like a good plan. Let’s all do that together.