0361 – strive to play the bigger games

I’m trying to make it a habit to start each day with a writing session, if possible. I’m sure I’ve said that before several times already. I was re-reading the first few vomits and saw that initially I was trying to write everyday too, but that was when I was an umemployed bum with a little too much free time on my hands. Now I’m a working adult with bills to pay and an essentially endless set of tasks and responsibilities I could be working on at any given time. So I very seldom (if ever!) get the “Hmm…. what shall I do today?” vibe that I used to get. And if I get it these days, I’m absolutely certain it’s because I’m being distracted, or I’m avoiding something. I can, after all, always simply turn to my fat stack of to-dos if necessary.

So doing word vomits by myself regularly becomes something I have to actively prioritize, which I’m trying to do. I’m trying to teach myself the habit of making a decision and sticking by it. For some reason, instead of starting off this vomit straight away when I sat down at my computer, I spent a bunch of time looking at Mass Effect videos. Why did I do that? I’m reminded of how I spent yesterday looking at Mass Effect and Star Trek comparisons. I suppose this happened because I had left a tab open on my Chrome. Note to self– never close my laptop without first closing all of my tabs. I get all excited about semi-unfinished things left open and I get carried away trying to continue or resolve them.

Speaking about semi-unfinished, I have a whole bunch of thoughts from yesterday that I still haven’t continued, haven’t I? There’s that bit about mental filing cabinets, wanting to streamline my thinking, and wanting to waste less cognitive resources feeling guilty. So here, let me practice that last one. I do not feel guilty about having spent a bunch of time watching Mass Effect videos. It reminded me of some pleasant memories. In particular I was paying attention to the relationship Shepard builts with her crew. Watching it is somehow really fulfilling and cathartic. I recall how it’s even MORE cathartic when you’re actually playing. It just feels really good to be able to make all the right decisions in difficult situations. To be able to calm people down. To be able to say the right thing. TO be able to take all these talented individuals and bring them together. (I’m starting to think I should really watch Star Trek! And some other good sci-fi shows and books.)

I guess the cool thing is being able to make a difference to other people. I mean, we’ve always known that, haven’t we? But something about it feels especially significant to me right now. I’m examining the difference between the replies and responses I get on Facebook these days compared to before, and how I feel when hanging out with old friends, and how I feel when around colleagues and friends. I’ve had 3 birthday celebrations with my colleagues now, and a part of me still feels every time like I don’t quite fully deserve to be there, I always feel a little bashful and guilty. I’d like that to change. I recognize that the guilt is useless. It’s just background noise meant to keep me busy, it’s no different from drinking alcohol to go to sleep, smoking cigarettes to pass the time. It’s a kind of performance where the performer forgets that he’s performing. It’s a game I play that I’m tired of playing.

I suppose this goes even beyond the identity performance of Facebook and such. I find myself becoming a bit of a confessional sort of person. My brain has been coming up with all sorts of confessional thoughts– a part of me wants to go around telling all sorts of people about all of this, one and one, just so I get the sympathy and validation and thoughtful nods in response. And a somewhat interesting question (perhaps not very useful though) to ask is– is there any difference in me writing about it in a word vomit, versus me commisserating my feelings with other people?

When I’m clear headed I know that ultimately all of this is just a game, and I’d rather play the bigger game where I manage myself and my resources effectively and not have to require sympathy whatsoever. There is pleasure in eliciting sympathy the same way there is pleasure in smoking cigarettes– yes, it’s nice, in a sense, but it feels like the whole thing is somehow “rigged” in a bigger way. [1]

What do I mean by rigged? I mean, the game is stacked. There are addiction mechanics at play that trap you, it’s a sort of Hotel California situation. Getting good at internet arguments feels good, but then you get trapped in the world of internet arguments. If you feel quite happy doing that, good for you, and you wouldn’t need to worry about anything else. But the fact that I’m kicking up some sort of fuss, putting up some sort of weak struggle, that itself is a sign that I sorta want more. I’d like to really pay attention to that, double down on that, amplify that. I’d like my life to be radically different, if only because life is short and it shouldn’t be the same thing over and over again.

I want to be like Shepard. I want to grow, I want to be useful, powerful, attractive, reliable. I want to be able to smile and laugh heartily, and I want to be able to solve other people’s problems. To get to that state, first I need to solve my own problems. To do that, I need to identify my own problems. The main thing I need to solve seems to be an energy / blood sugar type problem. I’ll explore that in another post.

[1] I feel like the way I communicate is degrading. I think it’s because I’m trying to just get through things as quickly as possible, without worrying too much about trying to accurately model specific states and structures. I guess I shouldn’t worry too much about it. I trust that I’ll be able to reinterpret it as necessary. I just need to keep running with it for now.

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