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blaisem

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About blaisem

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  1. blaisem

    Jay's Epic Journey

    I think the emotional ups and downs are normal. It can randomly start and then last a week or two for me. Sometimes nothing special in life happens, and you only notice your problems, but then eventually one day something nice will happen–maybe you meet someone cool or have a good night somewhere—and you'll feel on top again. It helps to remind myself that it's completely normal to feel like the sky is falling every now and then. Then it's easier to ignore until the mood passes. I also considered writing for a while, and as far as everything I read, you are supposed to read and write together. The gist of it was that everyone sucks on their first try (or first 10 or even 100 tries), until they finally "find their voice" as a writer, so the goal is to get these sucky trial times out of the way as soon as possible. The main thing is that if you never start writing, you can never make progress on this crucial hurdle. So I think it's a marathon of determination and discipline—kind of like quitting video games, which you're already succeeding at! Also, trying to write your own story will help you identify problematic elements in your writing, which you can then read on the side for inspiration on how to solve them. I'd expect reading and writing at the same time to be complementary. Good to see you still hanging in there! I am as well, although I still have the urge now and then to game. I'm at the point where I think it'd be harmless to play some super old game on an emulator, but even if it unofficially wouldn't matter to play, I'd still officially have broken my quitting streak. Taking pride in my quitting streak has become like a barrier for me. In the past I would break all my standards—arguing with myself that it "didn't matter"—and eventually I had no standards left for myself with a pretty crumby lifestyle. Now that I have a standard again on avoiding video games, I'm holding on to it as long as I can. I think this might be what it means to have a "habit." It feels productive and good.
  2. blaisem

    Jay's Epic Journey

    I wouldn't compare yourself to others on a dating website. Every single one of them is putting their best foot forward, and likely exaggerating to boot. Statistically it doesn't make logical sense that all these unmatched people near or over 30 would also be such appealing/perfect candidates for a relationship. You should expect to see more people like you and me who have had some obstacle in the road until now. So if their obstacle for waiting this long isn't in their lifestyle/career/looks, then it might be something like a difficult personality. Just be glad that whatever has led you to being single is something that you can tangibly work on and solve. As for looks, have you considered spending one of your hours of free time, maybe on one of your walks, looking at mens fashion magazines? Sometimes it feels good to buy a trendy good-looking outfit. Even just 1 reliable outfit can give you confidence when you go out for those butterfly-stomach social settings. You'll go in knowing that no matter all else, at least you dress well. Dressing well is often appreciated no matter how you look beneath the clothes. I think you can get away with a looot of physical shortcomings by being cleaned up and well dressed, the same way girls do with their clothes and make up! I should clarify: you can be subtly well dressed. I'm not saying to be vain and obsessive about clothes to the point they define you, your confidence and personal value around others. That's not what I'm trying to advocate! More of a complementary goal to your working out. Speaking of which, I can understand if you want to wait on shopping for more progress on weight loss, but that doesn't mean you can't plan! You might surprise yourself; that good feeling you get from time investment on improving yourself can also extend to clothes, sort of a reinforcing of your other positive self-care habits (after all, you're spending your attention and time on how to look your best—one thing that's in common with the gym or eating healthy). Plus, having even just 1 outfit on hand is still good for some date in the future, so you don't kick yourself the day before wondering what to wear for this girl you might want to marry. Not to mention, it takes practice to figure out what you want. I've bought things I never ended up wearing and learned my lesson to not try that again! By no means am I a fashion king, but I went from having baggy, "whatever-I-found-in-the-closet" clothes to fitted shirts and slacks that reflected a commitment to my personal care at the time. It only takes scoring one complement to make the entire outfit feel worthwhile. I feel it helped me. For your long-term goal: Would going back to school be an option? If you are very motivated (or very bored/desperate to occupy free time), you can look at interesting job possibilities that require less schooling. Things like nursing are quite possible later in life, which pays really well, only takes a couple years of schooling, and has long weekends (work week is concentrated to 3-4 days). My uncle lived off his mom until he was 45 gaming from Ultima Online, WoW, and up through Guild Wars 2, when his mid-life crisis finally struck (slightly delayed but it still came). He became a nurse + got married by 48. Since you are much younger, you will have many more opportunities. For example, I'm fairly certain most types of engineers only need 3-4 years of schooling and are often sufficient with a bachelor's if I'm not mistaken. There are many types of engineers; maybe one might interest you! At any rate, going back to school to facilitate a lifestyle change you're interested in is only a secondary bonus of going back to school. Most importantly of all, school is a fantastic excuse to consume free time reading, on material that's building your brain as well as your future! Reading to study will have a sense of purpose, and the reward when you pass exams is extremely gratifying and can develop into a positive loop that motivates you to study more for the next exam, effectively restructuring your habits around productive and personally rewarding goals. Of course, school is a big commitment. You have a job and have become used to its income. It will depend on your financial savings as well. But even if it's ambitiously difficult to achieve (maybe even seems impossible!), that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile to spend time on. Right now occupying our free time even remotely productively is an improvement over the past. Just having a healthy goal to work towards can be meaningful in and of itself regardless if you reach the finish line. Certainly it's a better alternative than the road that we've walked most our lives until now. So be ambitious. You can always change your mind later. Worst case you lose time on something healthy that also gave you purpose and distraction. But in order for it to have meaning, I think you have to plan to achieve it. Just if you get afraid of trying or overstressed, then you can remember it's okay to slow down or change gears altogether for something else. Anyways just spitballing here! Keep going strong! Sounds like you're doing really well.
  3. I downloaded the hobby list. Thanks Jay. It's nice to know someone understands and has my back. Good luck to you as well on your latest quitting. If there's anything I can do to support it, let me know. If I can remember, I'll write back in a month to see if we're both still going strong.
  4. I played video games all throughout childhood, from pre-kindergarten into high school, pretty much starting from when school ended until I went to bed. I managed to stop for college due to being on a one-year foreign exchange, where video games weren't accessible and I was surrounded by a strong social network as a distraction. I was great in school, finished with a 3.7 gpa. In grad school, gaming came back with a vengeance. I've lost years of my life to failure at this stage. The stress during semesters was vastly increased. My isolation due to the ~60 hour week workload (and studying in a foreign country) has been high. I needed a creative outlet as a distraction, and video games are my most comfortable fall-back. Video games are so comfortable, because I can quickly understand and appreciate all its nuances from so many angles. It's like a language I speak, or maybe like a fanatic of football or other hobby, aware of all the technical details and strategies that make it so rich to engage in. It's a passion. But it's a passion I can't control. The video games lure me in, but the problem is how they catalyze a general behavioral pattern of stress avoidance. I finish one game feeling destressed, but then my brain is wired to seek out other activities to maintain the destressed state (another game, social internet usage, watching shows etc). I stop working. I can get away with not working for weeks to months at a time, because in my grad school there's no one keeping tabs on you until the date of an exam/assignment. It's nearly cost me my graduate school. I might still not make it. I'm struggling to reverse the damage already done. I should have graduated 2-3 years ago. My peers are all finished. The shame and guilt have at times felt insurmountable, yet paradoxically—and perhaps the greatest shame of all—these negative feelings weren't enough to motivate me to overcome my problem sooner. This past June it finally did become too much. In desperate frustration, I abandoned dreams of coexistence with games, elevated my perception of them from a hobby to a full-blown addiction, and committed to a cold turkey quit. After some inconsistency, by July I had officially ceased all video game and problematic internet usage. For the following 5 weeks, I had a major cumulative exam to prepare for, which helped me focus. I completed this exam 7 days ago. Success! 10 weeks of quitting, and I was rewarded by passing a huge exam. I thought I was a new person who had overcome his addiction. However, with the exam past, I've no longer had an urgent obligation or deadline on the near horizon. My thesis isn't due for 6 months. 3 days ago, video game cravings returned as a small desire. Every day since, the urge to play has grown. Today I reeaally want to play a video game. I have the time available. It wouldn't cost me anything in the short-term. I could binge all day, even tomorrow as well, and it wouldn't matter. My thesis doesn't begin until Wednesday. But I am scared to allow video games into my life once more. I've been down this rabbit hole in the past. I know what it means to be handed a lifeline, only to test the waters of addiction again and fall right back in as deep as before. I know from many futile attempts that compromising on some form of coexistence has never worked for me. I know I can't afford to check out for 3-4 weeks, obsessing over a video game every hour of my free time or binge-watching a series in my evenings. I need that free time to maintain a healthy structure for my life. I can't afford these risks until my life is stabilized again, which is probably 4 years away. It's been about 10 weeks since my decision to quit cold turkey. Is this craving normal? Does it go away? Have others experienced this? How did you overcome it? Thank you.
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