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Ikar

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Posts posted by Ikar

  1. 17 June - 21 June:

    I finished the pre-course task for CELTA on Monday. I worked out on Tuesday and wrote mails asking for the redesign of my website.

    I had a great meeting about the website on Wednesday and it turned out pretty great and was very inspirational. The guy actually advocated the idea (as a web-designer himself) that the web I made myself is in a good enough shape. He said that all that it needed was traffic and that the traffic would be cheaper via using PPC. I set up two other meetings with web-designers, but I think his wholesome approach is actually what I'm looking for. We'll see. I finished Wednesday with a few friends playing a pub quiz.

    Thursday morning saw me watching porn after a month. I didn't have a reason for it; I just wanted to do it. I have to say it was underwhelming overall. I told my girlfriend pretty much right after. I haven't had any thoughts about porn since. I feel rather apathetic about it. It did however prompt a discussion with my girlfriend in how are we going to manage our sex life. Even with two or so months of relatively little porn use, I fail to get predictably aroused or have a desire to have sex without any, ehm, physical effort. My girlfriend and I set up a plan to deal with that. I think sexual uncertainty (even if solely from my side) could make me use porn. I believe that porn is a remnant of my teenage years, when I didn't have any sex and really any relationship. Therefore, I shouldn't need it and I don't think I need it for the last few years. I just want to be in control of it.

    -

    Yesterday was also destabilizing for another reason. There's been objective progress on my grandma's kitchen in the last month or so; ever since I got back from Slovenia, I made it my priority. My brother, my father, my girlfriend, another friend and I all chipped in. We set up a few cabinets, measured dimensions, discussed the steps, set up the plan of works...

    And she's throwing a tantrum. Now. Asking questions, when everything she needed to know has been already answered. When we're planning it in exactly such a way as not to cause any disruption in her flat; she still has the old kitchen fully operational. Sending messages and calling left and right. Stressing out my mom who is recovering her mental health in a spa. Accusing my brother of messing up her sink while measuring some dimensions. Harassing my father to call the gasman just a day or two after we came up with the final solution. (What for? Because some random hags on the street comment on it. Really.)

    And thus spitting on all my effort I've put into this the last month by disregarding it and behaving irrationally. I'd have understood criticizing lack of progress at in the second half of the last year, when I was working on getting my diploma on top of my regular work. I'd have understood criticizing lack of progress at in the first few months of this year, when I was working on finding a flat to move in and finally moving in with my girlfriend. It's beyond my comprehension why I (we) get such a reaction now when there definitely isn't a lack of progress.

    The result? An unplanned visit to her tomorrow, with my father, a gasman and I. After the gas work is done, I plan to let her know the above, in a more polite way. I also refuse the abuse of my mom, my father and my brother. It's really the most abuse I've been subject to in years. I refuse to be abused, by anyone.

  2. A month without porn. I have to say it wasn't even that hard. I had some low-level urges on week 3. I sometimes think of it, but it goes as fast as it comes. I haven't even set up any blockers (so I can be at my "favorites" in a few seconds), but I just don't care. I only let my girlfriend and friend know that I wanted to quit it, because I thought I watched it too much. That and maybe reading and doing some exercises for (half) hour daily from a "say no to porn" course. I'll continue at least until the end of August.

    • Like 1
  3. 12 June - 16 June:

    I met my friend, spent time with my girlfriend and attended a small high-school reunion. It was nice to see the guys after a while.

    I also finished the testing of students who had it as a requirement. I also worked on updating my website yesterday, although I am heavily considering consulting a professional. I strongly believe in improving my online presence as much as I believe in improving my actual teaching skills. It's really on the same level and these two must go together.

    My brother, my girlfriend and I also visited my mom at the spa. The visit was OK, so I hope it helps her mental health. She should come back home the next week.

    I was also a bit bored yesterday, but I did some things around the flat. It's odd, but necessary to be bored sometimes.

    I haven't watched porn in almost a month, so hooray for that 😄 

  4. 43 minutes ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    I spent half of the day in a meditative state in preparation for a twice-rescheduled phone interview, albeit one that I wanted. No one called, and I'm pretty sure I was waiting for another 'No Caller ID' as part of the bargain - calling their regular number, I've tried once before to no avail.

    So I went out for a short jog and medium walk to try and clear my head, but mostly what that did was re-ascertain me of the clearly bad mood I was in. The good news is that I'm here instead of recommitting to gaming. The bad news is that after reading an email sent past 5pm and its contents, I don't think the person deserves a 3rd chance to mess up again on this week. The vibe has well-passed now. Onward to abstinence.

    Wow, I can't imagine the nerve of that person. I can imagine happening it once (even though meeting somebody new should likely be top priority), but not twice. I'm certain it's a good thing you won't work there, if that's how it goes there 😄 

    50 minutes ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    Erotic material: Explaining the 'Day #3.5' count, I accidentally came across some whilst reading, and forgot to say a prayer or whatever. I felt unclean, but did not suffer all-day damage from it like with actual giving in to looking for whatever else. I don't wish for another half-day-count, but at least we would return to whole numbers if I misstep again. 

    Do you have any support to help you with that? I started solving my porn problem actively and I've been clean for almost a month now.

  5. 6 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    Anyway, since puberty, even though I didn't know the word 'Freudian', I was one of probably several young males at least that started to see sex in almost everything. I was very immature, and probably didn't have the ability to provide that safe space - that so many women say is their overarching need - until later, after graduating. -> My question is though, where do erotics end and plain, healthy expressions of love begin? Should we even encourage old-school magazines or literature?

    I don't know myself, but I think every relationship is different in this aspect. If the dynamic is set correctly and both parties agree, then there's not much to disprove. To expand on your safe space idea: my girlfriend can be angry and happy (at the same time!) about the qualities that I have to make her safe space "happen". It really depends on the context.

  6. 8 June - 11 June:

    I went out with some friends I hadn't seen in a long time. I also visited my family and worked on the kitchen. I went to the last of the doctor's appointments and I am happy to say everything is OK.

    I've been craving porn for the last few days, but I'm porn-free for almost a month. I'm in touch with a non-profit that offers resources and support for porn addicts. If you guys @Pochatok and @BooksandTrees are struggling sometimes, don't be afraid to reach out.

  7.   

     I'm using the template I used the last time. 10/5/24 - 7/6/24

    "L" will stand for the (last) plan/notes for this term. "T" will stand for done this term.

    I added "Future goals/direction" to better reflect on the things I am trying to do and to add specificity. I will copy it and stick it somewhere where I can see it to remind myself whenever I feel aimless. I will also use different colors: blue for newly added goals/habits, green for completed/successful, orange for ongoing/some progress and red for ones I haven't worked on in that period.

     

    Books/Reading articles/Learning:

    L: I think that in the last six weeks, I've read the business book once. Not because I don't want to or because it's not practical (it's quite the opposite), but because I'm always doing something else. I have been more active here though. I also went to the speaking club a few times last month.

    T: I had to return the book, as the library borrowing expired. I worked on the CELTA though, so that's learning and development.

    Possible direction/goals:

    (Borrow) and read one book until the next monthly report.

     

    Family:

    L: I had a Easter family meeting and a trip with my brother to try out the new chairs in a showroom. I'm making my grandma's kitchen my priority before I leave for the CELTA course in July.

    T: I have grown disappointed from the reality of my family. I always thought that if there was a real need, then we'd close up and work together. However, it just seems to me that once the bare minimum is done, then everybody just goes away and doesn't care anymore. The kitchen is a perfect example of that. It's not urgent, so it doesn't get done. I had my other duties to finish in the past year since we bought it LAST June (finishing my degree in September-January and then moving in with my girlfriend February-April), but I could've definitely done more, so I take the blame for that. Yet everybody expects me do just "do" it, while I have the least experience with it. I know nothing about electricity and gas pipes. My expertise stops at assembling furniture from IKEA.

    Speaking of which, my father told me to ask my brother to help me with assembling/measuring a cabinet, to see how it works out with gas pipes. So I went for sushi with my brother. He told me that I can handle assembling it on my own. So, the next week, I took my girlfriend and another friend, who were actually willing to help me, and assembled the cabinet. It took us two hours in two/three, so I can't imagine the struggle of just doing it alone, which would probably take up the whole afternoon too. I'm not going to beg anyone for help, it's not in my nature.

    It seems to me this happens every step of the way. I humbly ask for help. I get a limited piece of advice to work with. Then I don't know what to do first, because there is no plan. I can't plan it, as I have no idea what influences what. I am paralyzed, as I have no idea as to what I am missing. The work stops. Nobody ever asks me what the problem is. Everybody either ignores it or thinks it's my turn to do something.

    I will try to communicate, but I think I have communicated enough and to no avail. I'm exhausted. That's on top of all the other negative stuff: my father not coming to my mom's gallery exhibition, my grandma constantly bitching about my uncle/his second wife or panicking about something trivial and my mom having a mental condition.

    I just don't think families of any (former) addicts are truly good and functional. That's not to say that all the individual members need to have a bad life or something. I just mean the fact that the unit and its relationships are contaminated and it'd take a sincere effort of all involved to make it better, which is extremely rare. I think you guys @BooksandTrees and @wheatbiscuit and possibly many others would agree.

     

    Spoiler

    Since October, the project of my grandma's kitchen has been my responsibility. Some progress has been made, however I know that half a year is just too big of a time-frame to justify. I'm gonna lay out the plan:

    Weekend of 11th/12th March: Ask my grandma to give me a "free hand" in the reconstruction of the kitchen. She was hesitant regarding the scope of the reconstruction, which made me hesitant in turn, because I didn't know what to do. I want to convince her that she has nothing to worry about and that the whole operation will be fast.

    Weeks 11 and 12:

    Consult my father and brother as to the design of the kitchen and use the IKEA kitchen planner to help me out. Show my grandma the plan for the kitchen at the end of week 12 and get a green light.

    Weeks 13 and 14:

    Go to IKEA to get the furniture and other shops for linoleum and other smaller stuff. There's no need for new electronic appliances, so there's no need to get involved with electrical thingies. Transport the furniture to my grandma's flat.

    Weeks 14 and 15:

    Plan a weekend with my father/brother to help out with the reconstruction. Removing old furniture, a bit of demolition, painting, putting in the new furniture. Get it done well and ASAP.

    NOT: I don't want to get alienated from my family.

    Possible direction/goals:

    Work on getting the new kitchen for my grandma.

    Continue work on maintaining the relationships with my family.

     

    Business/English:

    L: I was away for two weeks in the last six weeks, but otherwise I can again say it's been going well. The 60/55 minute transition is going well, although I think I should be stricter in enforcing it and perhaps informing my students a bit better.

    My priority for the next few weeks is to prepare for the CELTA course that starts in July. I want to work on the questionnaire part 3 in May/June as well.

    I might want to create some list of milestones I've already achieved, in the type of "past projects" below to have a better overview over the work I've done over the years, but I'll leave that for the next report.

    T: I did the questionnaire part 3. I expect to have next to no lessons in July and probably a few less than usual in August. I'll probably cancel the rest of the agency courses from September, but I'll see in August.

    I think I don't need to gather new ideas, but I need to work on the ones I already have.

    -

    20 (22) hours last week in May: Category A 75% (74); B 4% (3); C 0% (5); D 13% (11); E 8% (7). Brackets are % values from previous month/week.

    -

    I've done a bit of an analysis of my courses and categorized them based on what they provide me. I earmarked five types of courses:

    a) my own - well paid + generally more motivated students (as they pay the courses themselves) + more challenging

    b) premium - language school courses paid at a premium compared to my standard LS courses for various reasons (roughly matching the a) group)

    c) flexible - courses from LS that don't have a fixed schedule, meaning it's on me if I make time for them or not (though I mostly do, as can they plug the gaps or can start my day)

    d) challenging/fun/prospective - standard LS courses with an added quality

    e) neither - standard LS courses without any added quality

    -

    NOT: I don't want to have a job that I don't enjoy. I don't want to have a job that is not well paid.

    Possible direction/goals:

    With my job position and student demand secure, I'm more able and willing to reschedule or even cancel classes in case I want to do something, mainly in the evening and for holidays. I enjoy having this option thoroughly.

    Keep classes at a stable 20-25 hours a week.

    Keep asking for reviews or recommendations from students.

    Look into strategies to become truly self-employed by skipping the agencies in between. - check university offers after CELTA

    Create a learning plan for myself. - going to CELTA

    Go through "lecturer academy" materials.

    Networking and business events.

    Past projects:

    Questionnaire - June 2023

    Fixed logos on my website for better visuals.

    Updated the pricing section of my website. Variable/tiered pricing (do in July/August).

    Got minor pay raises from language schools. - summer 2023

    Did evaluations/testing of my students, if required.

    Attended one networking event and one marketing seminar.

    Introduced "phone call" classes. Update website/business profiles with "phone calls".

    Lecturer academy. - fall 2023

    Sample business contract on my website. - update the web with new ideas before July

    Google sheets system for students. - update it

    Questionnaire part 2 - January 2024

    Canceled agency courses - March

    Taxes - April/May

    60/55 minutes online transition - April/May

    Questionnaire part 3 - June

    CELTA - July

     

    Exercise/Movement:

    L: Went for a hiking holiday with my girlfriend in Slovenia for two weeks. Went cycling and running as well.

    T: Went for a hike and went running a few times too. Visited doctors for checkups.

    NOT: I don't want to become fat.

    Possible direction/goals:

    I enjoy the fact I do not have to be "actively" dealing with this area of my life, as it's technically a part of my job. I just have to be on lookout if that was to change.

    Keep in shape.

     

    Blogging:

    L:  I actually got a spur of inspiration and wrote an article in two days. Wow 😄 

    T: I had an idea for an article and I wanted to write it, but then I did something more urgent and I haven't had the time since. Oh well.

    Possible direction/goals:

    Find a suitable UI/web template.

    Set up emailing for subs.

    Post two articles a month.

    Polish links in articles. Interlink new articles with old ones.

    Finish articles in concepts.

     

    ---

     

    What to do if I am bored?

    Replacement activities for 1 hour: reading books, cleaning, washing the dishes, reading newsletters

    Replacement activities for 2 hours: going for a walk, work on my business, blogging

     

    ---

     

    Additional thoughts/activities:

    I had somehow thought I would have more time to do "stuff" after I finished the university in January. I put on average 2-3 hours towards my thesis a day to it throughout October-January.

    The thing is, I don't think I do have more time. February-April was about moving in with my girlfriend. I'm happy I did. I also had an uptick in the number of students/lessons. I'm also happy for that.

    However, I have 10 things I have to/should do in my head now. I spent some 5 hours on exploring/writing this report to help me sift through it all.

    Some of the things are nice and I want to do them, but I don't have the time. Some of them are important or promised, but I don't want to do them. It's OK, I am not THAT much under pressure, but I need a system to get these things done and to move forward.

    My priorities for the next six weeks:

    Prepare for the CELTA English teaching course that starts in six weeks. - almost done

    I want to work on the questionnaire part 3 in May/June as well. - done

    Reconstruct my grandma's kitchen. - working

     

    My hobbies are: personal finance, graphs/projections/statistics, gunnery, GIS/statistics, reading/videos about (modern) history, English, working on my business, blogging/writing, geography.

    This month, I did these cool activities: stopped watching porn, visited an art exhibition (in which my mom participated), played Scrabble with my girlfriend, went hiking, visited a debate about my region, spent time with my friends.

     

    ---

     

    Goals/resolutions/aspirations for 2024:

    Main must-have plans for 2024:

    Prepare for (Feb-June) and successfully make (July-August) the CELTA certificate course.

    Finish the university in January. In case something goes horribly wrong, then in May. I've got this.

    Move in with my girlfriend in April.

    Set up the new kitchen for my grandma.

    Optional nice-to-have plans for 2024:

    Re-start my financial blog in February.

    Learn how to type with all ten fingers on the keyboard.

    Habits:

    Stop watching porn (again).

    Start getting up when my alarm rings = Put my alarm across the room.

    Establish flossing at least once a week.

    Exercise regularly.

    Continue: planning, walking/exercising, writing/journaling, reading, working on good life/work balance.

    It's a short list, but if I manage all of it, I will be happy.

  8. 30 May - 6 June:

    I visited the dentist after a long time, as it was fairly troublesome to find one after my old one retired. My no-porn streak still continues. At the weekend, I spent time with my friends and my girlfriend - we cleaned my car, assembled furniture at my grandma's and went for a hike. I sent the questionnaire to my students and already talked to some about the price increase. I prepared for the CELTA as well.

    Happy D-Day everyone!

  9. 4 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    I think part of what kept me gaming as a teen and pre-teen was quite similar - the people who were more invested in my game were not happy, and were - quite possibly - no longer putting effort into living 'good' lives. I think that I impressed many people with how I acted online, not knowing myself how much of my own opportunity I was wasting. Of course, as soon as I tear my eyes away from the screen or a book, I realise at many times each day that the more-physical act of living (by majority standards) is different.

    This is a tough point to make. One could very well blame his family for "letting" him become and addict when they didn't detect (or ignored) the fact when as a kid they were falling into the spiral of addiction. On the other hand, everything may have turned out swimmingly if it was not gaming but, for example, engineering. Then the innate energy and effort of the kid would be directed well. I wish my family spent more time with/on me when I was a kid.

    4 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    What I think I recognise is that there's a very slim chance of avoiding having all of my prejudices/biases/attitudes/judgments worked out of me, in order to become a more well-contributing member of society. I might slow that process down by keeping my own choice of music in my ears, hiding away online/in fiction novels or oversleeping, but all I get out of that is a kind of patience for absolutely everything - certainly not any other kind of strength. I think anyone who has lived by any significant values reaches a point of intolerance. So that's what I'm trying to work with.

    It depends on the person, but I think it's normal to have a job. Frankly, I always thought of unemployment benefits as allowance for a holiday (though I don't know if you actually receive it) 😄

    4 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

     - I was going to 'sound out' opinions on whether everyone is convinced of the sincerity of my gratitude section -  because if I were my own best friend, I would make talking points of any lack detected there.

    That "not waking up dead" gave me a chuckle, it sounded relatable for whatever reason, but the list should obviously be fluid. I don't compare it day-to-day, but I'd find it to be suspicious if it stayed more or less the same.

    • Like 1
  10. 23 May - 29 May:

    The questionnaire for my students is finished. I have studied for the CELTA course. I also watched the hockey championship, visited my family and went to a debate about my region.

    My girlfriend, my friend and I ran in a competition at the weekend and I managed to run 4 kilometers in under 19 minutes with little training.

    I've also taken active steps to uproot porn from my life; I understand it was a coping mechanism that perhaps made sense in the past, but not really once I quit gaming and started to have better relationships with women.

  11. 3 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    There may or may not be another community I can find like this one (god forbid the 'front page(s) of the internet), so you'll have my best until whenever. This has been a deep journey for a year now, and now that @BooksandTrees has said it, I find it hard to imagine the next, say, 5 years - not like counting primary and high school grades. My game has already had my best, and I recognise that.

    5 years is a long time, but it's very likely that those 5 years will eventually pass, so we might as well do something meaningful. Even after all these years, I find that many things are still the same. So while starting my journal to counter gaming was the primary motivation for it back then (and the result of internal turmoil of the months and years before that), today I mostly journal to keep track of myself through time and to organize myself better.

    • Like 3
  12. 17 May - 22 May:

    I caught up on some reading about finance. I also went running with my girlfriend and my friend. I started actively working on my porn problem. I'm also solving the next pricing adjustment, working on the questionnaire for my students and preparing for the CELTA certification.

    • Like 1
  13. 4 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    I barely made any similar choices, but in the 6 months after my first (and arguably only meaningful) break up, I looked around - online and offline - for validation/acceptance and couldn't find it. So by the end of 2013 (having seen so many posters at uni offering shared rent, having spent 1 dutiful year working and also being in a volunteering experience), I was saying to myself and eventually my family that "I'm just going to go and be me, without any ties (unless you guys are in some sort of crisis, perhaps?)." I remember one or both of my parents asking incredulously, "What's all this about you moving out?" Either it would have been irresponsible to let me to properly join society as I was, or they needed me - because I just couldn't sense enough concern for my wellbeing. I've caught myself thinking that even though I was enough of my own person, the real need of my parents has merely been for confirmation that their job was 'done'. I mean, I don't think it was ever about concern for me - I would have to become an effective 'people manager' for my dad, or making sure 'weaker individuals' were always heard and celebrated for my mom, no matter how I actually saw things. I did try, by the way, but even that pleased them little.

     

    4 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    Now, I feel like saying (especially since my Dad won't allow the past to be brought up) that it's too late to encourage me to now make the same choices that I would have at age 19. I've adapted too much to the role of filling empty spaces in other people's lives to suddenly demand that everyone else take a now-30-year-old's unmet needs seriously, clearly. 

    Unless something is wrong, I think an 18-year old adult is normally able to get by on their own in a society, either by working or studying at the university. Yes, many parents support their kids by paying (a part of) their rent or send them an X amount every month, but I don't think the support is normally too critical.

    There are some exceptions of course (handicapped kids or severely ill parents), but I'd say that unless you yourself want to be a "people manager" for your dad and "weaker individuals celebrator" for your mom, you shouldn't do that, simply because wasn't/isn't your choice. Their health will naturally get worse over time and if at (your) 40 the situation will be the same, you will be the number 1 person to take care of their checkups, shopping etc. I'm not writing this as a bad thing, but you must count with that as a realistic future outcome, and consider, if it's something you want to happen and then commit to.

    • Like 1
  14. On 5/18/2024 at 4:00 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    I still split the rent with my dad, and even though there's tons of emotional regulation work for both of us regarding people whose strengths are quite obviously equal to ours, I can hardly just say that to him because I think I'll probably hear something like 'it's all on you, Matt - and maybe the rent should be too'. That's really tough.

    I don't have the work/living history mapped out for you and your family, so I don't know if the following is the case. Regardless, if your parents still support you in one way or another, they will want to have some influence over your life. The more existential the support is, the more influence they will exercise. Worse yet, they can still picture you as a child. Once you "break free" of their influence (e.g. by getting a job and paying the rent yourself or moving), they will have no choice but to treat you as an equal.

    The above was certainly the case with me. I even fell back into that situation when I moved back in with my parents after finishing my army career. It's not something parents will tell their kids outright, but good parents should create incentives to make their kids independent. I got such an incentive when my parents imposed rent on me (for living in their house). I moved out to the student dorms (single room) in autumn 2019 and I guess my expenses/rent stayed more or less the same. 2020 was of course corona year, but I very much preferred to stay in the company of fellow students at the dorm than to move back home again. Really one of the best decisions I've ever made. 

    7 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    The trouble is, I keep hearing and affirming that having 'a few good friends' is sometimes best.

    I have just a few good friends, because I don't have much time to gather a bigger network. I also have work in the evening, meaning my socializing is mostly done with my students and they actually form a big part of my social life. It's an odd situation, because if I am presented with having lessons/working with my students and going out with (my) acquaintances, I mostly choose my students, because I paradoxically know them more, get paid and I also know the atmosphere will be positive and I know there won't be any strange dramas.

  15. 11 May - 16 May:

    I spent most of 11 May (Saturday) writing my report and organizing myself for days to come. I think I got some good work done overall, or at least started on the projects:

    1) I visited my family on Sunday. We went through the next moves regarding my grandma's kitchen. I want to do something, but intelligently and not in a rush.

    2) I visited my general practitioner on Monday, asked for and got vouchers to visit four other inspections: two X-rays (one of my feet and one of my thorax), to a proctologist and an ear doctor. I have four or five inspections coming in the next week; I'm also going to visit my dentist. Also used a dishwasher for the first time in my life, though we don't have that many dishes to fill it 😄 

    3) Finished filing my taxes on Tuesday.

    4) "Researched" a surprise for my girlfriend - a skating course on Wednesday. Also looked into getting us mosquito nets for windows. Both are still in process. Went to my mom's exhibition of paintings in the evening.

    5) Had 7 courses of English on Thursday (yesterday), so I didn't have much time to do anything else.

    6) On top of that, the usual stuff.

    Sadly, I also watched porn three times after being clean for about a month. I reached out to my girlfriend who in turn reached our to her therapist, whom she meets for specialized support to deal with her eating disorder/bulimia.

  16. On 5/14/2024 at 7:14 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    ^ But last year, I read the near-conclusion of a book that 'poverty of the soul' was one 'part' of society's actual problem. That phrase returns several google results as well. Another book, recommended by the same person, detailed one tough-but-rewarding day in a forced labour camp last century. I'm wondering what my beneficial struggle ought to be and at what point in-between offline and online it will be at. If spirituality is just cyclical, say, would I do almost exactly the same things again but not expect different results - except perhaps increased raw knowledge? 

    AND alot of ^ that is an attempt to justify going back to those first gaming habits. On the weekend I asked the mate I was with to confirm what someone who's transcended all of their life's challenges looks like - whether they sit back in a chair (complacently?) and just watch/listen to the rest of us until they are asked to give advice or something, or what? He said 'yeah'. 

    My parents wanted me to have their actual and verbose answers to most of my questions, I think. So I was never satisfied online when people put them too simply. That also led me to believe that, when among most of my peers, my answers were the best - and that I had them all. I don't think that's done all the good it was meant to, put simply. :') 

    I think the assumption in the first paragraph is correct; it is possible to have a meaningful time/life without owning much. I would say that the average Western citizen today has "more money" than they have "mental health". Money doesn't necessarily solve mental health on its own, though you can change it for therapy and other things. In fact, I think money can sometimes show mental health, such as with people who borrow money for holidays or Christmas gifts. Don't ask me why, I don't know either 😄

    As for the next paragraph, I think even if somebody "has it all figured out", I think it still takes effort to keep all the things together. Entropy is real and new information becomes available over time. So, I think it's possible to have most of the "answers of life" correct, but this intellectual exercise is nothing compared to putting these answers into practice.

    The last one is interesting. I think I read something a long time ago that said that if people wrote in a too complicated and verbose way, they a) wanted to impress by being incomprehensible and b) thought to be superior to others who don't know the vocabulary. I like to be creative with words and to play with the vocabulary myself, but at the end of the day, language is for communication with other people. I often break down language to basic elements (or change the level of my speech) to help my students understand - i.e. "talkative" is "somebody who talks a lot". I wouldn't have a job otherwise 😄 

    • Like 1
  17. On 5/11/2024 at 1:23 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    The thing that's sticking in my memory the most is the idea of generally having either vertical or horizontal relationships, almost like a (cartesian) plane in maths. It is really hard to successfully avoid talking down to people in any way whatsoever, but the dialogue in the book basically highlights an importance of making horizontal relationships a habit. To use another related point from the book, one solution is to see other people as comrades, not enemies. I take an unfortunate lyric (sarcastic or otherwise) from one of my favourite singers, 'Strength means blessed with an enemy'. That really only felt true for me when I had few friends, as a much younger boy, and when I rarely felt a moment of peace. 'Us/me against the world' is another one which I don't think stands the test of time.

    I also remember the time I envied people, for example a girlfriend, but that's luckily been a few years. The last "enemy" I've had was maybe 2-3 years ago. He's a financial adviser. The main quarrel I had with him was that he tried to manipulate me to believe him (invest with him), while I had clearly better investment offers on the table. He kept ignoring my objective (number) questions/suggestions, because he a) didn't know and hadn't done the math himself or b) did know, but wanted to keep me as a client because of the fees going to him through the products. Maybe wearing a nice suit and talking about a money future (without half the important numbers) works well on most people, but I am not most people 😄

    The "us against the world" is a flawed mechanic, but I wouldn't underestimate the number of people who actually believe it. It's also the main policy of many countries and religions. If people could just "snap out of it", it'd be great, but alas they don't.

    On 5/11/2024 at 1:23 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    As Cam says of gaming friends, perhaps never having seen the intricacies of the other person/people's faces and their reactions, a lot of those relationships can turn out to be superficial and stagnate when the game is no longer played or shared. I confess to 'clearing' my game's 'friends list' regularly a few times every year, back in the day. It really says something.

    It's true that gamers are not the masters of relationships, but stopping contact after quitting a shared hobby is quite normal. There have been many people I have met during the last 5 years. They were fun, interesting and everything, but there's just not enough time to meet everybody, people live far etc.

    • Like 2
  18.  I'm using the template I used the last time. 27/3/24 - 10/5/24

    "L" will stand for the (last) plan/notes for this term. "T" will stand for done this term.

    I added "Future goals/direction" to better reflect on the things I am trying to do and to add specificity. I will copy it and stick it somewhere where I can see it to remind myself whenever I feel aimless. I will also use different colors: blue for newly added goals/habits, green for completed/successful, orange for ongoing/some progress and red for ones I haven't worked on in that period.

     

    Books/Reading articles/Learning:

    L: Still reading the business book. Not daily, but enough to get a new idea or two from it every week. Some newsletters too, but not many.

    T: I think that in the last six weeks, I've read the book once. Not because I don't want to or because it's not practical (it's quite the opposite), but because I'm always doing something else. I have been more active here though. I also went to the speaking club a few times last month.

    Possible direction/goals:

    (Borrow) and read one book until the next monthly report.

     

    Family:

    L: Had a few family meetings, a lunch outside too.

    T: I had a Easter family meeting and a trip with my brother to try out the new chairs in a showroom.

    I'm making my grandma's kitchen my priority before I leave for the CELTA course in July.

    Spoiler

    Since October, the project of my grandma's kitchen has been my responsibility. Some progress has been made, however I know that half a year is just too big of a time-frame to justify. I'm gonna lay out the plan:

    Weekend of 11th/12th March: Ask my grandma to give me a "free hand" in the reconstruction of the kitchen. She was hesitant regarding the scope of the reconstruction, which made me hesitant in turn, because I didn't know what to do. I want to convince her that she has nothing to worry about and that the whole operation will be fast.

    Weeks 11 and 12:

    Consult my father and brother as to the design of the kitchen and use the IKEA kitchen planner to help me out. Show my grandma the plan for the kitchen at the end of week 12 and get a green light.

    Weeks 13 and 14:

    Go to IKEA to get the furniture and other shops for linoleum and other smaller stuff. There's no need for new electronic appliances, so there's no need to get involved with electrical thingies. Transport the furniture to my grandma's flat.

    Weeks 14 and 15:

    Plan a weekend with my father/brother to help out with the reconstruction. Removing old furniture, a bit of demolition, painting, putting in the new furniture. Get it done well and ASAP.

    NOT: I don't want to get alienated from my family.

    Possible direction/goals:

    Work on getting the new kitchen for my grandma.

    Continue work on maintaining the relationships with my family.

     

    Business/English:

    L: My work has been going well. I've had some good initial lessons with my students in the last couple of weeks. The uptick in my own courses has been significant. I'm likely going to cancel two agency courses. I was a bit bored after finishing the university, however the last two weeks I'm overwhelmed. I feel like I need to do a better job managing my time and prioritizing again. Maybe I could cancel all agency courses in E, but that'd probably be excessive and needlessly imbalancing. I might want to create some list of milestones I've already achieved, in the type of "past projects" below to have a better overview over the work I've done over the years, but I'll leave that for the next report.

    Canceled the two agency courses. I also changed the format of some of my 60minute lessons to 55 minutes, so I won't need to jump from one meeting to another instantly. Things are still going fairly well.

    T: I was away for two weeks in the last six weeks, but otherwise I can again say it's been going well. The 60/55 minute transition is going well, although I think I should be stricter in enforcing it and perhaps informing my students a bit better.

    My priority for the next few weeks is to prepare for the CELTA course that starts in July. I want to work on the questionnaire part 3 in May/June as well.

    Now for some statistics:

    -

    1) I decided to dig up the records on all the students I've taught privately, either from my calendar or bank records, so I don't think anyone slipped through the cracks. I included even the smallest jobs. The results are quite interesting:

    Out of all students who finished having lessons with me, since I started to call this a career, from fall 2020 to December 2023, the average study of my students with me was 6,8 months. The median (the middle student) had 3,5 months of lessons with me.

    The average study of my students who are still studying with me is 7,7 months. The median is 3 months.

    If I combine the categories above, it's 7,3 months for the average study. The median is again 3 months.

    Takeaways:

    The average student (around 7 months) will not last longer than it takes me to increase the price. I raised prices 4 times in the last 42 months, meaning I increased it once every 10,5 months. One less pressure point when negotiating for better money.

    The question then of course is whether the higher prices really throttle demand or just change my target group.  I've had a few students tell me they chose me also because my prices were professional. My prices are currently about 80-90% of those provided by language schools to individuals. I'm planning to close that gap this year. I managed to gather enough students over time to turn this job of mine into a fully independent living without any intermediaries.

    I'm gonna consider offering lesson "packages" for the future, although I've been kinda doing that, when students pay me once a month upfront. I also think I provide good enough motivation - positive (via my approach on the lessons, bi-annual questionnaires etc.) and negative (increasing the prices regularly means students need to think whether it's something they need/want).

    -

    2) The number below of 22 taught hours per week holds true. I calculated I also spend about 30 hours a month/7 hours a week on admin tasks (both median and average - from April 2023 to February 2024). I also spent 7 hours traveling to/from my students, regardless if I charge them for that or not (I don't charge walking but I do charge car riding 😄 ). Voila, 36 hours a week I need to pay myself for.

    Of course, these are just statistics. There are a lot of things I don't see.

    -

    22 (23) hours last week in April: Category A 74% (71); B 3% (3); C 5% (9); D 11% (11); E 7% (6). Brackets are % values from previous month/week.

    -

    I've done a bit of an analysis of my courses and categorized them based on what they provide me. I earmarked five types of courses:

    a) my own - well paid + generally more motivated students (as they pay the courses themselves) + more challenging

    b) premium - language school courses paid at a premium compared to my standard LS courses for various reasons (roughly matching the a) group)

    c) flexible - courses from LS that don't have a fixed schedule, meaning it's on me if I make time for them or not (though I mostly do, as can they plug the gaps or can start my day)

    d) challenging/fun/prospective - standard LS courses with an added quality

    e) neither - standard LS courses without any added quality

    -

    NOT: I don't want to have a job that I don't enjoy. I don't want to have a job that is not well paid.

    Possible direction/goals:

    With my job position and student demand secure, I'm more able and willing to reschedule or even cancel classes in case I want to do something, mainly in the evening and for holidays. I enjoy having this option thoroughly.

    Keep classes at a stable 20-25 hours a week.

    Keep asking for reviews or recommendations from students.

    Look into strategies to become truly self-employed by skipping the agencies in between.

    Create a learning plan for myself.

    Go through "lecturer academy" materials.

    Write down specific areas and what I want to do in them:

    Networking and business events.

    Get a system to mark down the progress of my students, together with their learning plan.

    Check out business vouchers for equipment.

    Past projects:

    Questionnaire.

    Fixed logos on my website for better visuals.

    Updated the pricing section of my website. Variable/tiered pricing (do in July/August).

    Got minor pay raises from language schools.

    Did evaluations/testing of my students, if required.

    Attended one networking event and one marketing seminar.

    Introduced "phone call" classes. Update website/business profiles with "phone calls".

    Lecturer academy.

    Sample business contract on my website.

    Google sheets system for students.

    Questionnaire part 2.

     

    Exercise/Movement:

    L: Went for walks and hiking trips with my girlfriend.

    T: Went for a hiking holiday with my girlfriend in Slovenia for two weeks. Went cycling and running as well.

    NOT: I don't want to become fat.

    Possible direction/goals:

    I enjoy the fact I do not have to be "actively" dealing with this area of my life, as it's technically a part of my job. I just have to be on lookout if that was to change.

    Keep in shape.

     

    Blogging:

    L: Now, blogging has a reminder in my calendar now, however it's not really an activity I could care for now. We'll see.

    T: I actually got a spur of inspiration and wrote an article in two days. Wow 😄 

    Possible direction/goals:

    Find a suitable UI/web template.

    Set up emailing for subs.

    Post two articles a month.

    Polish links in articles. Interlink new articles with old ones.

    Finish articles in concepts.

     

    ---

     

    What to do if I am bored?

    Replacement activities for 1 hour: reading books, cleaning, washing the dishes, reading newsletters

    Replacement activities for 2 hours: going for a walk, work on my business, blogging

     

    ---

     

    Additional thoughts/activities:

    I had somehow thought I would have more time to do "stuff" after I finished the university in January. I put on average 2-3 hours towards my thesis a day to it throughout October-January.

    The thing is, I don't think I do have more time. February-April was about moving in with my girlfriend. I'm happy I did. I also had an uptick in the number of students/lessons. I'm also happy for that.

    However, I have 10 things I have to/should do in my head now. I spent some 5 hours on exploring/writing this report to help me sift through it all.

    Some of the things are nice and I want to do them, but I don't have the time. Some of them are important or promised, but I don't want to do them. It's OK, I am not THAT much under pressure, but I need a system to get these things done and to move forward.

    My priorities for the next six weeks:

    Prepare for the CELTA English teaching course that starts in six weeks.

    I want to work on the questionnaire part 3 in May/June as well.

    Reconstruct my grandma's kitchen.

     

    My hobbies are: personal finance, graphs/projections/statistics, gunnery, GIS/statistics, reading/videos about (modern) history, English, working on my business, blogging/writing, geography.

    This month, I did these cool activities: went for one smaller trip and one bigger holiday, finished moving, got a great new table and a new chair, went to the theater, worked on my business, hung out with friends, spent time with my girlfriend, went to the cinema, attended speakers' events, fixed my phone, spent time with my family.

     

    ---

     

    Goals/resolutions/aspirations for 2024:

    Main must-have plans for 2024:

    Prepare for (Feb-June) and successfully make (July-August) the CELTA certificate course.

    Finish the university in January. In case something goes horribly wrong, then in May. I've got this.

    Move in with my girlfriend in April.

    Set up the new kitchen for my grandma.

    Optional nice-to-have plans for 2024:

    Re-start my financial blog in February.

    Learn how to type with all ten fingers on the keyboard.

    Habits:

    Stop watching porn (again).

    Start getting up when my alarm rings = Put my alarm across the room.

    Establish flossing at least once a week.

    Exercise regularly.

    Continue: planning, walking/exercising, writing/journaling, reading, working on good life/work balance.

    It's a short list, but if I manage all of it, I will be happy.

    • Like 1
  19. 4 May - 8 May:

    Traveled around with my girlfriend a bit more again. We cleared up some future holiday/traveling expectations and planning as well. It wasn't easy to communicate these things, but I believe we are on the same page now and we don't need to clash about it in the future. The weather wasn't as good yesterday and today, but we still managed the trips.

    • Like 1
  20. On 5/3/2024 at 3:54 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    I read once of a 'successful' mindset that we should consider ourselves as all the same (and with the same 24 hours per day). When I went to a theatre drama last weekend, I tried to imagine that I had no more unique energy than the actors and actresses, or vice versa. I scared myself for a bit then, thinking that they had to be taking drugs or something between their appearances on stage.

    I guess people/actors enter a trance-like experience when they perform. Sure, they have some skills we don't have, but I also think they calibrate themselves towards the performance too. I think theatre actors are mainly interested in these states/benefits and that's why they do their jobs.

    On 5/4/2024 at 1:59 AM, Pochatok said:

    Imo, that is the myth of meritocracy, and quite plainly so. yes, we exist within the same temporality, but our privileges and abilities and experiences create differences that at times may be impassable. such a statement ignores disability, race, gender, and many other identity-based systems of separation and oppression.

    yes, a lot of things are technically possible for you . but that does not necessarily mean you actually can do those things. we all need to look to our strengths, and continuously work towards personal and collective liberation, cuz that's the only way towards actually becoming more 'all the same'. 

    I'm curious. How do you understand the word "meritocracy"? What is it in your eyes? From the way I understand it, good performers get a raise, get recognition/good feedback etc.

    To link up to what I wrote above, let's say I want to visit a play in a classical theatre. I pay my time (and normally some money too) and I expect a certain level of performance from the actors. They don't need to be the best and do their best on that day, but the idea here is I can't "see through them" whether they mess something up. I think if the institution put together a bunch of amateurs with little experience/little finesse/little care, I'd have every right to be unhappy with their lack of skill. I'd prefer to watch a bunch of average professionals who know their business, likely who got to the theatre play based on merit and who worked their way up from being amateurs at first.

    (Note I am not arguing whether some jobs should be paid more/less or whether being a CEO is more valuable than being a regular worker.)

    • Like 2
  21. On 4/26/2024 at 6:30 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    It was a real journey today, starting out combing the job sites in the morning-afternoon for a few hours; going from 'there's nowhere I really want to be' to 'I could do and enjoy that, with some learning and effort, tbh'. 

    How is the job search coming along? Is there anything relevant for you? I think going somewhere for a few hours a day, learning something new, providing value to other people and getting paid in the process is a good idea overall 😄 

    On 5/1/2024 at 4:40 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    No real gaming urges, but I played some heavy music that I thought would have sounded cool alongside in-game footage. I once removed almost all of that music from my devices hoping to be rid of those ideas, but it didn't ultimately work. As usual, I've just been trying to shuffle-skip through my library to songs that match the moment.

    I actually listen to game soundtracks fairly often, because they are good pieces for work or fit my mood and I know them. I don't really search for any new soundtracks though, as I am not involved in gaming anymore. I found some new artists later on too, but for me the categories are "I listened to *this* when I was 15, 18, 21, 24." without any strings attached. I still have gaming related thoughts and dreams regardless, but no urges, as I don't want to go back to who I was when I gamed.

    On 5/2/2024 at 4:13 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    This still doesn't dissuade me from the realisation that I'm actually safer away from online gaming grinds, but they went on for so long. And like it's been said, clicking around for rushing images and repetition to good music felt like an identifiable skill I had, part of my identity. I read a little last night about a men's social concept that still seems too raw/rough to even accept as a reality, and even during my last relapse, I had different, possibly just-as-viable ideas about what being a man/masculinity is. I imagine even here among us that there would be differing ones. Post away if inclined 👐

    "Clicking around" is a part of many jobs, so it is a skill, or at least a part of some skills. It doesn't matter if they're paid or not, but people normally give others money for things they don't want to do themselves.

    I don't know what the most viable definition of a "man" is. I only know that it has to be natural and come from within you. I know it's good to align words with actions and focus on things that matter. I think that these are surprisingly universal and are a part of my monthly reports (social - family/friends/girlfriend, work, health/exercise).

    • Like 2
  22. 19 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    I don't think it's too much food for thought, but when someone is said to be the 'rock' in a relationship, I basically understand it to mean independence (though with the realisation they are better off in a relationship). I'm now talking out of my buttocks, but - the 'rock' might be relied upon to just exist - mostly for the other person, I guess, remembering important things about the relationship (or themselves!) and bringing them up when necessary. Concerning the idea of two 'rocks', that's just been my preference; it seems to be what my parents were like, and it can kind of feed into a 'you and me against the world' idea (and the 'illogical chaos' in it, for example). I'm trying to be more realistic though. - It's interesting because to be someone with a lot of good ideas in a relationship could be rock-like, but to remind the other that a lot of those ideas remain talk and not action is too. Me, I like to think I can notice patterns (e.g. of behaviour), but I'm reluctant to finally label a lot of them because it means I'll have to then work with those beliefs. Haha.

    I get it now, thanks. Yes, I think my girlfriend and I are fairly independent-minded and I also think we both benefit from the relationship. I think it's useful to notice the patterns, as then you can parse out what you want and perhaps what you don't want as much. It's relatively easy to admit a fault within oneself, but especially difficult to start working on it though.

    19 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

    I keep remembering and forgetting that English isn't your only language. It's probably good because of translation in one's head versus only thinking how readers would receive some ideas, which is what would make me hesitate. The GQ forums are different because giving up gaming is probably usually an emotional affair, so I've typed plenty. I liked reading your blog, and the next time I think about the topics on it whilst out walking, I'll likely answer myself with something like what I read there. Individual brains are funny.

    I keep mentioning my nationality and masking it at the same time too, so no wonder you're having trouble 😄

    Blogs are different from diaries. People are usually more critical towards blogs, and they should be, as blogs are meant to influence public opinion, otherwise the writer wouldn't publish!

    Diaries usually don't offer much to be criticized. People just (try to) quit games, meet friends, feed their pets and go on with their lives... In the rare case I do criticize/suggest something, I mostly do it for a) the intellectual exercise and b) to offer a perspective of someone who quit gaming 5 years ago and turned his life around.

    Brains are indeed very often copycats and like easy solutions suggested by someone else 😄

    I guess I still mostly agree with what I wrote back then, though as I wrote, I the texts are not practical enough for my taste now. Again, glad you liked it 🙂

    • Like 1
  23. On 5/4/2024 at 12:26 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    I spent awhile to find an in to reply to - only that the idea of traveling for me now is mostly about its importance to who I'd be with. There's never a shortage of things at home that I forget to think about and then take pleasure in seeing properly. It's because a) Major insight has come slowly these days and, b) I can do trips 'within' anywhere; why leave?

    It's really the same for me. I find organizing such trips stressful and mostly not worth the effort to even write others about it. I can do "my things" anywhere too, so I don't need to leave either.

    I found out that "taking a break" to change my perspective on some long-term projects doesn't really work. My girlfriend rightly called me out on the fact that I talk about some things more than I actually do them. I'm more acutely aware of such unfinished business when I am on a "true" holiday than when I'm in my normal workweek.

    On 5/4/2024 at 12:26 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    Then there might be the whole 'rock' in the relationship deal, like the patterns of grounded-ness as opposed to who's an expert on what. I would honestly prefer to be one of two rocks, but hey. I'm curious about Europe, but I'd probably just as soon as meet someone from there online, talk at length with them and then take a bunch of recommendations and not end up searching it curiously on my own.

    What do you mean by the whole "rocks" thing? I tried to get it through my head, but I'm still missing the point 😄 

    Travel recommendations are tough and I'd say pointless, unless you know what type of places you want to visit. My girlfriend loves active holidays with lots of hiking, nice nature, viewpoints and not many people. I don't think it's my passion as much as its hers, but I know that light/medium exercise (which hiking is) is good for me and I need to do it as much as possible.

    The above means we need to look for nice places that are not a) overcrowded and overpriced tourist traps and b) too much for me to hike. Other people prefer to just walk from the hotel to the sea for two weeks straight. It really depends on your taste.

    On 5/4/2024 at 12:26 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

    I just re-read your blog by the way; whenyoupostmoar? 😅

    Really? Thank you! 😄

    I started writing about personal finance in Czech (my native language) two-three years ago, kept the concepts, and officially launched the website in August last year or so. It's something I can combine with some philosophy, it's practical and I can share it with my friends directly, FB or even LI. Writing essays on philosophy/psychology in English is generally less relatable and I haven't had the taste to write something like that in a long time.

  24. 29 April - 3 May:

    The first day was the toughest, as we spent several hours in the car and I had a headache the next one from the experience. The trips have been nice otherwise, mostly the ones where we go to the nature. Some of the places are really beautiful.

    Though I am getting a hunch that the whole traveling thing isn't my cup of tea, or definitely not something I'd do every day off. Maybe once or twice a year. But being a self-employed teacher means that I'd just never take a holiday just to spend it at home, in my usual setting. It's a tough thing to truly prioritize and to start with personal/business projects/ideas that are always put off for "later", because I just never find the time.

    • Like 1
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