Most of what I’m saying is not new, but I need an opportunity to reflect. Hopefully someone out there will read this and feel understood.
Technology offers purpose. Ever since I was a child I was motivated by success. Video games offered me, not just the chance to win, but to dominate and my game of choice was Halo 2. I was so good at the game that I was almost exclusively matched with professionals and hackers. Or, as often happens in any competitive game, I was matched with a purposely handicapped team and still single-handedly won us the game. I developed a name for myself at school (which was actually cool considering more than half of my peers played Halo) and online and even my own father started to encourage me to get better.
Then, my peers started exchanging their college acceptance letters. I realized, at the age of 18, that I had amassed nearly two years of physical gameplay, seated and often stressed and without sleep. I had missed out on field trips, parties, girls, all in favor of immediate success. The shame I felt then was immense. It didn’t matter what name I had created for myself. I was just good at a video game, something that would eventually be washed over, updated, and thrown out in favor of a new title, myself with it. To be honest, I hadn’t even considered college until this point and I was already years behind everyone else.
Incidentally, it also took me two years to get some semblance of control over my relationship with technology. I originally cut it out cold turkey, impulsively began to seek out exciting opportunities (perhaps also to cope with my need for immediacy), and at the same time started planning out my future. In much the same way I learned to optimize my gameplay, I found a balance between being aggressively open to new opportunities and creating the person I wanted to be. I formulized my path to success and have been following it since.
Sure, there are moments where the direction becomes obscured and indulging feels like the only thing I want to do. But I have learned that this relationship requires constant upkeep. I cannot beat myself up for giving in, all I can do is pull myself back in to reality and continue forging my own creations.