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D_Cozy's journal - Stopping Mindless Net Browsing


D_Cozy

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Hello everyone, I detoxed myself from a mobile gaming addiction a few years ago (you can see my story on this thread). But yesterday, I recognized that I've been mindlessly scrolling through websites to cope with difficulty more often than I'd like. So I decided to start journaling here; I want to avoid relapsing into addiction again.

My goals with this journal is to log my day, mark what I'm grateful for, something I'm looking forward to, and open to engagement and discussion.

2023-07-26

My usual morning routine is; wake up at 6am, get dressed, take ADHD medication + vitamins, make breakfast for my family, feed my dogs + cat, bring dogs out for a 20min walk while wife gets the kids dressed, get kids to daycare, drive back home and do a quick chore (folded laundry yesterday). I'll play the daily Wordle in the morning after that chore, then I start working from home at 9am. My profession is in software engineering.

I had stayed up very late the previous day working until 9pm doing a code deployment. It was necessary because it involved bugfixes that were blocking functionality, but it still sucks. Sometimes that's the nature of software engineering roles, and I get that; the problem is that it has been happening more often recently, almost every week for me and other devs, so that is what really has culminated it into a big issue for the team. The other thing that has been frustrating is that one of my projects is really stalling, today I got a notice from someone I needed info from that they won't have time to do it tomorrow (even though I sent a meeting invite a week ago). Going through a rough patch right now basically.

That leads me into my mindless browsing. I started to crave going back to a gacha game I used to play a lot. They come usually during stress, and I'm used to brushing the urge away by now when it comes by distracting myself with mindless browsing... which is not productive at all, but I always justified as better than wasting 8h playing a game. Today though, I went back to the forum of the gacha game I had been addicted to years ago... that was a mistake. I spent a fair amount of time scrolling through the forum, most of my lunchtime + another 3 hours on top of that. It was the biggest waste of time yet... no other way around it. Naturally I fell behind on one of my tasks at work, and it sucks. Today I've decided to avoid mindless scrolling.

After work, another usual routine; feed my dogs + cat, bring dogs out, I do some chores (cleaned my laundry room which was driving me nuts), eat dinner with family, spend time with kids until 7pm, then get them ready for bed. After they were in bed, I wrote this journal entry which was a new thing, did my French practice in Duolingo, and read 2 and half chapters of Dracula before bed. Moving forward I'm planning to keep the journaling habit at night - btw I'm glad this forum has a "dark mode" theme, it's a lot easier on the eyes approaching bedtime.

What I am grateful for

I am glad to have realized how easy it is to lose time browsing the net and am glad to recognize it as something I need to work on. I will have more and more stress as I get more senior at my job, and will need better mechanisms moving forward besides internet scrolling as my days get busier with increased responsibilities.

Looking forward to

I am planning to talk with my manager about the stressors at work today, cuz myself and other devs should not keep doing frequent late nights fixing things.

I installed a browser extension called "StayFocusd" and set up a list of distracting websites on it. I set the "time allowed" for those websites to 0min on weekdays between 9am - 5pm. Should really help moving forward to avoid mindless browsing; but I'm open to suggestions on what I can do instead during that moment.

Dinner is on me to cook next, I'll be making a lemony orzo pasta with asparagus. Cooking has been something I've found to be very rewarding since detoxing, and I'm excited to try this recipe again; it's something I've done in the past before, but I'll be trying it with basil garnish this time.

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2023-07-27

Dinner today was delicious. I wish my kids would agree lol; asparagus and basil leaves really turned them off it, but then again how many kids like green veggies before preschool age. Anyways, it turned great. I put more lemon juice than I usually do, and it tasted very refreshing.

If anyone wants to give it a try, here is the link where I got it from. I doubled the amount of lemon juice myself and that made it taste better, in my opinion. Biggest downside is that the asparagus makes your pee smell really bad haha, but a very healthy and surprisingly filling dish; 4 bowls of leftovers for tomorrow and weekend.

I talked with my manager today, and she suggested finding a sweetspot on our code releases. Something I hadn't thought of up to this point, but she pointed out how we've been doing really large releases and so that can always make it harder to spot issues during reviews. So yeah that should really help, I am thinking.

Still not fully caught up with work, but I am glad to say that I wasted no time today in my computer thanks to that extension. My phone on the other hand... oof. I definitely need to stop using it during my breaktimes; too easy to scroll on it and lose track of time too. I clocked at 5h and 13m total today, bout half of which was Duo Lingo practice, the recipe for dinner, android auto, etc, but still... I know I could be more productive, I know what most of the other time was too (reading news and browsing around). I don't think I've been doing any better previous days either. Extensions don't work on phone browsers either for some reason, or not the ones I use anyways. I am open to suggestions here for limiting my time scrolling, without impacting actually productive uses of my phone...

I did some coloring with kids today after work, watched them play after while I washed dishes, and then put them to bed reading them books. Gonna go to bed in 1h from now, so I'm gonna finish this post now.

What I am grateful for:

My kids and my family. They keep me strong and keep me wanting go be better for them every day. I told my wife too about my scrolling habits, and she is glad I'm being proactive about it.

What I'm looking forward to:

My best friend and his fiancé are coming down this Sunday to visit me and my family. We're gonna buy them dinner.

I'm on vacation after tomorrow too. Another reason I wanted to start journaling and being more aware of my internet time... didn't want to waste most of my vacation time scrolling.
Wife and I are planning a road trip (her idea).

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17 hours ago, D_Cozy said:

 Today though, I went back to the forum of the gacha game I had been addicted to years ago... that was a mistake. I spent a fair amount of time scrolling through the forum, most of my lunchtime + another 3 hours on top of that. It was the biggest waste of time yet... no other way around it. Naturally I fell behind on one of my tasks at work, and it sucks.

Looking forward to

I am planning to talk with my manager about the stressors at work today, cuz myself and other devs should not keep doing frequent late nights fixing things.

Almost same here, man. I wanted to see if a former gaming buddy had really become a part of the community and grown in some way, so I could talk to him about how he's going - rather than the conversation possibly being about how I quit, or perhaps, 'bailed/copped out'. 

It kind of blows my mind to think of how far some of GQ like you have progressed (having started a family and stuff) yet are still facing problem gaming and others. You have my support!

Edited by wheatbiscuit
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21 hours ago, wheatbiscuit said:

Almost same here, man. I wanted to see if a former gaming buddy had really become a part of the community and grown in some way, so I could talk to him about how he's going - rather than the conversation possibly being about how I quit, or perhaps, 'bailed/copped out'. 

It kind of blows my mind to think of how far some of GQ like you have progressed (having started a family and stuff) yet are still facing problem gaming and others. You have my support!

Thanks! One of the online alliance mates I have there who still is quite active told me that "the game schedule keeps getting more and more packed." I'm not sure if he was trying to convince me to come back or not with that, but that's what got me conversing with him since that was the turning point for why I actually quit; all the "exciting" new events and content they kept dripping were keeping me way too occupied with my phone screen and away from being the person I wanted to be. I reinforced my stance at least. But I'm probably not going to go back to the forum again; I'd delete my account if they didn't make it such a pain to do that.

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 2023-07-28

It's my last day of work today before taking 2-weeks off, so I wrapped up everything I needed to do and handed it off to a more senior engineer. Sucks about one of my projects getting delayed still, but ah well; it's in good hands if it resumes while I'm out, and given the scope of the work I'm sure there will be things left for me to do even after 2 weeks.

I reduced my phone time by quite a bit today, only 3h and 7m. Much better, though I managed to rack up 1h 24m on my browser. Better than yesterday, that's for sure, but still. More than 1h of that time was scrolling (only ~10m was planning my trip with my wife if I'm being honest). I can do better, and I'm going to make sure that I keep my phone away during my vacation; something that I've found helps me is putting music on my phone, it's like my brain assumes my phone is busy playing music so I shouldn't use it. I'll have to explore this a lot more. Coincidentally, I would love music recommendations; I tend to go for more ambient and instrumental music, I've noted.

I'm part of a returnity group for work, which is an employee group that provides new parents with parenting resources and gives them guidance on parenting topics. As far as I can tell, we're the only group with a bunch of dads or dads-to-be lol 😄 So it's a good time. Today we were talking about balancing family time with work; video games came up, but the discussion was very insightful. Some of them brought up the punishment mechanics that came out of mobile and how they are bleeding into new games, including some recently released ones for pcs. Some even mentioned how those games tend to be the biggest red flags to avoid as a parent. Well, they don't have to tell me twice! I managed to contribute a fair bit to that conversation, from my perspective of being unhooked from mobile games.

Dinner tonight was broccoli stuffed chicken with some jasmine rice. Fairly quick dinner to make, specially with a rice cooker. The weather was awful outside tonight, so we stayed in playing with some blocks with the kids, and watching a Jurassic Park show on netflix. Had a surprise visit from my in-laws, they came to say hi to the kids before they left for a trip of their own.

What I'm grateful for

Seeing progress. I definitely felt a lot more productive at work. I don't want to get complacent though, I want to keep this up during my vacation. I'm thinking of getting busy by selling / donating, we're reaching a point where our storage room is stuffed with things we never look at. So that should keep me busy for a week before going on a trip the 2nd week.

What I'm looking forward to

I'm actually excited to clean my living space. It should also help keep my mind clear once I do get back to work.

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 2023-07-29

I spent 1h 38m in Duolingo today... whoa. I earned an insane 994xp on French, and rocketed myself to the top of the leaderboard this week. Funny how a learning app can take all the predatory mechanics that free to play video games have, and instead use them for something so positive. My main motivations for learning French, in case anyone wants to know:

  • My wife is from northern Ontario, which is close to Quebec here in Canada. She speaks French fluently;
  • My kids as a result got accepted to a French school, and they'll be doing school in French, so I want to understand it as well as possible;
  • Spanish is my 1st language, which really helps in learning French too (both Romance languages).

Still I usually only ever spend 30m max, so this surprised me! This is a habit I want to keep moving forward, maybe increasing my time learning to 1h daily.

I spent 2h 27m browsing today according to my time tracker, but a good chunk of that time was also going through the transcript for a French podcast. I want to guess that about 1h was actual fooling around on the net; forums, random entertainment news, playing solitaire, etc. So I still have improvements to make here. Still, it really surprises me how strong my mind is once I set a goal.

I did get a decent amount done cleaning as well. I completely disinfected my cat's litter boxes (deep cleaned them basically), threw out some junk that we didn't use and was beyond repair. Kids had fun coming with me for the dump run... although they got mischievous and got into the garbage bag with the litter. Yeah, that wasn't so fun to sweep and clean up again 😅 They went straight to the bath and then bed after that. Nothing special tonight for dinner, just a leftovers night.

What I'm grateful for

Glad to have found this community, journaling has been an amazing habit to keep up. Really helps with reflecting on my day too and the things that matter.

What I'm looking forward to

My best friend + his fiancé are driving down tomorrow. We're gonna treat them to dinner on us; there's a fancy restaurant just down the street, as well as a Korean BBQ grill. We'll let them choose.

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On 7/29/2023 at 2:40 PM, D_Cozy said:

Coincidentally, I would love music recommendations; I tend to go for more ambient and instrumental music, I've noted.

Dinner tonight was broccoli stuffed chicken with some jasmine rice. Fairly quick dinner to make, specially with a rice cooker. The weather was awful outside tonight, so we stayed in playing with some blocks with the kids, and watching a Jurassic Park show on netflix. Had a surprise visit from my in-laws, they came to say hi to the kids before they left for a trip of their own.

- some bands - Explosions in the Sky, Lights & Motion, Echelon Effect, plus most of Mike Oldfield

- that sounds like a nice time 🙂 

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On 7/30/2023 at 2:46 AM, wheatbiscuit said:

- some bands - Explosions in the Sky, Lights & Motion, Echelon Effect, plus most of Mike Oldfield

Thanks for the recommendations! I've been listening to Explosions in the Sky, really effective at getting me in a zone 👍I'll be sure to keep looking at these.

--

Posting for 2 days since I forgot yesterday:

2023-07-30

Had my best friend and his fiancé come down for pretty much all of the afternoon. Kids were pretty excited to see them, they basically met them for the first time (they were very little when they had met before). It's a bit of a trip for them since they live in the GTA, so we treated them to lunch and dinner to offset the price of gas for them; he was my best man at my wedding, so I wouldn't do this for just anyone.

We talked and caught up on their wedding details, showed them around the area, and chatted about where we're at. They also were really curious about our pets; our cat in particular, since our cat is a Sphynx and is a hairless breed that is not very common. Overall very good time 🙂

I hardly had any time to potentially waste as a result, which is good. I am proud to say that 1h and 3m were spent in Duo Lingo, so no wasted time. Sunday was the first win for me!

2023-07-31

I'm on vacation from work, and so is my wife. So are my kids, they aren't going to daycare as the one they go to takes the first 2 weeks of August off; hence my vacation being 2 weeks off too 😛 It's more like a "supervise your kids fun" kinda time off

Anyways we were socially drained from entertaining guests; while it was a great time, we don't do that often since we've had kids, so I guess we weren't used to it. We stayed in. It was hard to stop myself from mindlessly scrolling yesterday; I had to consciously direct my attention to other tasks that needed doing around my apartment, rather than just hop on my phone to go browse for nonsense. It was hard but I managed; I kept myself busy with cleaning the kitchen and my kids washroom. No message boards nor sports / entertainment news were browsed, only 15m of playing Solitaire; still counting it as a 2nd win.

I also managed to rack up 1h and 58m on Duolingo, which is good as I'm working towards my goal of learning French more and more. I am feeling quite motivated as my oldest will start school on September; I am being realistic too knowing I won't just suddenly become fluent in a month, but any French practice I can squeeze in now will move me closer to becoming a better speaker and listener moving forward. This is well spent screentime, in my opinion.

My oldest kid managed to outshine me though! He spent 2h and 25m on Duo ABC 😅 I honestly hadn't realized that he spent that much time, he did this while I was cleaning, and I did not notice that much time had passed. I suppose it could've been spent on worse apps and content though. He was getting quite good at sounding the letters and drawing the shapes the lessons asked him too, which are things he's still getting used to, so that is a big positive. I'll still have to be more mindful though of how much time he spends on the iPad; usually he prefers watching TV when it comes to screens.

What I'm grateful for

Glad to have 2d of no or minimal time spent browsing. I am not going to fret if it's less than 30m; my goal is to stop it from being a crutch when I am stressed and have nothing to do, which is when it usually turns into 2 hours or more. I just have to keep at it with activities that keep me engaged and busy, rather than just busy. Mostly when my kids go for their afternoon nap, and at night; as these two times are when I have "free" time and so have to be mindful to not waste it.

What I'm looking forward to

It is looking like we might do a cottage trip this coming weekend, a close friend of my wife's invited us up. That does mean I have to clean our van! We have a big tote full of old DVDs and Blu-rays that we had been meaning to sell, but the store that we originally went to wouldn't take most of them. So at least I know what is going to be keeping me busy the next few days!

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Another multi-day post. Been busy!

2023-08-01

Pretty productive day. I took my kids to the park in the morning and that was enough to wipe me out. Did more Duolingo learning French before lunch, trying to do as much as possible before my brain gets tired out. I also worked on throwing out some boxes that had built up in our storage room, empty boxes from a move we did recently that I hadn't bothered to get to until now. It's a simple but time consuming task to break boxes down, but it's a task that offers room to ponder and think too. Aside that it's really just taking care of and supervising my kids, which keeps me busy enough.

Got my July summary this day of how much screen time I used with my Switch (I still play in moderation, see the linked post in the OP). According to it, I spent 55m a day on average playing games, per 25 days last month. Overall an okay month, I've been aiming to keep my average playtime under 2h since I chose to play in moderation, and that is well under. The amount of days is a tad higher than I'm used to though (usually 15d), so it's something I'm keeping in mind for August, to diversify the hobbies I partake in. I won't post about what I play at all in this journal, but I will share stats like these monthly; hope that's alright 🙂

Had farmers market pizzas for dinner, which we bought a few weeks ago (they were frozen).

2023-08-02

Same routine as the day before; breakfast, kids to the park in the morning, more Duolingo after that.

Quote

Virtual attainment is an illusion we willingly serve, sometimes at the cost of genuine personal, professional, financial, social, or spiritual progress and, more pertinently, as a dependable stand-in when those things prove elusive.

That quote is from Death by Video Game, by Simon Parkin. Really recommend giving that book a read, it really puts into perspective how games can suck our time in and reminds me why I ended up where I was. I read quite a bit of this book.

I made a beef stir fry for dinner, which was very satisfying to prep; cook rice in the rice-cooker with spices, cut veggies, sautee meat in the wok pan (with spices), add veggies when meat is cooked. Pretty easy to do, but satisfying and fulfilling. I love the way my body moves busily while I cook.

2023-08-03

So I got sick with a cold... I slept and recovered yesterday. Nothing really interesting happened honestly; listened to music, spent time with my kids. I tried doing some Duolingo but just shut it off after 10m; I don't like screens when I'm sick, so even if I felt like wasting time I couldn't even do that yesterday. Tried making an exception even for active screen time but my head hurt.

I am feeling much better now though.

What I'm grateful for & looking forward to

Vacation and time with family! I've really enjoyed connecting with them through these past days, and am looking forward to keep spending time with them.

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2023-08-04

Well... I did feel better yesterday when I wrote the above, but now my cold is back.

Started the day taking my kids to the park again, while my wife went shopping for some things. She got more medicine since I used the last we had, and I'm glad she did; later in the day after I wrote my post, I didn't feel very good again.

My brother in-law and his family came down for the weekend, we saw them and their kids. All of the kids are close in age so that's very nice for them, very chaotic too haha. Kids have so much energy, it's pretty nuts to see them run for two hours while they still have gas left. We had dinner together, a pasta casserole. They are staying at my in-laws.

After seeing them I started feeling sick again. Unfortunately I had to cancel on my friend this morning (on 08-05) since I am in no spot to be driving up for 2h to get to his cottage. Sucks, but I have to get better first. Went to bed pretty early.

What I'm grateful for

My wife told me she'll take the kids to her parents tomorrow, so I can get a chance to rest and get better. At the time I'm writing this, she's already out with them.

What I'm looking forward to

Rest 😛 still sniffling a lot. Luckily the last thing I feel like doing when I'm sick is looking at screens, like I said in my previous post, so I won't be wasting time. I'll probably be cleaning after taking some more meds an hour from now (took meds at 6am first thing when I woke up, and every 4h is what the label says); my nose and eyes are starting to run again.

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2023-08-05

A much needed day of rest. My wife took over the park duty, taking my kids out with her parents and her brothers family, who are still down for the long weekend. On my part, I stayed home and focused on getting better. When I was not sleeping to get rid of this cold, I was reading through more of Dracula and Death by Video Game; I don't mind juggling a two books as long as they are in different genres.

Dracula is a classic, I've read it before when I was in school; so this time I am reading it for pleasure and taking my time with it. I passed the part where Quincey Morris tried to shoot a bat that was perched on the window sill, but missed it and the bullet ricoched inside the room that Van Helsing, Seward and the Harkins were discussing a plan of attack; I've always found Morris to be quite relatable for me, and I think this part really emphasized that for me, he could've easily shot one of his colleagues but he acted impulsively out of fear shooting the bat. Though it is always strange to me how Van Helsing is the only one to react, his main concern being whether he shot the bat or not, rather than anyone else pointing out the obvious danger of the bullet being shot. This impulsiveness is a major flaw of his, but despite that, he's quite loyal and does his best to be of help to the plan of destroying Dracula.

Death by Video Game has been very interesting to read. I don't want to quote it too much, because I really recommend it and don't want to spoil it. It was written starting in 2011, and sent out to be published in 2016, published officially in 2017; far enough to be a bit outdated now on the game examples it uses. But nevertheless very interesting. I like that Parkin doesn't explicitly condemn or promote games themselves. He isn't shy to talk about both the good and the bad. I just got past ch3, Lost in the system, which tells how games are made to follow real systems from our world, but unlike them they also offer a place that revolves around the player. He offers very astute insight and analysis into all the elements of what makes them so addictive.

Well I didn't mean for this post to initially be book club, but hey I didn't have much to do while sick in bed! 😅 I did do my French practice as well, I'm keeping a pretty consistent habit so far of spending around 2h practicing daily. Besides the day I felt really sick.

2023-08-06

This cold has overstayed its welcome. Maybe I should've rested more on the 4th. The headaches haven't come back luckily, but my nose and eyes are runny and itchy still.

My brother-in-laws family leaves tomorrow, so today we spent most of the day together. I wore a mask all day with them, except for eating: they have a 4mo old baby so that is why I had to rest prior to that, and why I chose to mask up for his benefit.

What I am grateful for

Friends and family are very supportive of me, they told me that they noticed a difference in my attention as I'm not on my phone looking up random things while I'm with them. It was encouraging to hear that. I'm planning to keep it up! The key seems to stay busy (or get sick apparently 🤔 😅🫣)

What I'm looking forward to

My kids will be doing swimming lessons starting tomorrow, that's gonna be good for two reasons: swimming is an excellent skill to develop early, and it'll tire them out for the morning.

I planning to dedicate my time to cleaning my car later in the week, something I had meant to do last week before getting sick. Right now I'm planning on Friday.

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2023-08-07

Another day of no mindless browsing. I kept myself busy by practicing French as usual (4h today which honestly might be overdoing it), also cooked dinner tonight: quesadillas with corn tortillas and refried beans, the latter which I smashed up and softened myself (note to self, 2% milk > skim milk). Very satisfying dinner, I fried both in olive oil to make the tortillas golden brown and the beans less sticky.

Definitely due to that dinner though, I noted that I'm at the "dad bod" stage. Which is to say good biceps from lifting my kids around, but a round belly. I am not hating on my own body shape here mind, I am not necessarily interested in a 6-pack or bodybuilding. But I am lacking in core strength and stamina, and I do think I should start exercising again due to that; at least jogging which is something I used to do a lot more often.

I will have to talk with my wife about making time, even if it's not the easiest with young kids that will graffiti your desk chair with coloring pencils in less than 5 minutes (and yes this happened today), it's just a matter of finding a good schedule. There is a gym right in the building we live on too, so really there's no excuse here. I just have to make time, communicate it with my wife, and commit.

Still congested as well, which is annoying. No more headaches for 2 days though

What I'm grateful for

Swimming knocked out my kids for the day. They have a week's worth of lessons to do for this last week of my vacation.

What I'm lookin forward to

Trip to see my grandmother is set for two weekends in advance now. She has yet to meet my kids, her great-grandchildren; that will be very special. 

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2023-08-08

In an effort to stay healthy, I brought my oldest kid along for the morning dog walk, which made the usual 1k walk a lot more challenging! He insisted on holding the biggest one of my dogs of course, so I had to be on alert to make sure she wouldn't pull him like a trolley. But it was fun nonetheless, he enjoyed it as well. My younger kid stayed with his mom, since he slept in. We had breakfast afterwards then went to swimming lessons again.

Right before lunch, I played an exergame called "Jump Rope Challenge" with my kids... which is pretty much what it sounds like. You grab the two controllers and jump, as if you were jumping rope, and the controllers detect your movement. It's not the most accurate thing, and it's ridiculously silly, but to its credit it did do a great job of tiring me out. My kids joined in on the fun after I got tired, and in only 10min each, they put me to shame with their boundless energy as they surpassed my 300 consecutive jumps all the way to 1000 jumps... seriously, where do kids get this energy from? 😄 It was actually very sweet to watch them get active and excited, to copy their daddy. I'm okay if they want to be active!

Later in the afternoon I went for a short 1k jog on a treadmill in the gym, not very fast speed either. I'm starting small for today, but I am noticing a difference; I feel a lot more energized! I really need to make better use of the gym, but for now I'm glad with the progress I made. For now I'm aiming to go to the gym 4 days a week before dinner; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday is what I talked with my wife. The other days are out due to kids extracurriculars.

Story time!

Today, I want to share public details of two stories. These are real stories from IRL friends that I found out about today. I will keep both of my friends anonymous, only sharing what they have shared publicly.

The first is from a cosplayer, she was moderately internet famous before vanishing for a year and half. I went to school with her and her boyfriend, we all had classes together in university and joined similar interest clubs, so that is how I know her personally. But I had not talked or interacted with her until today, as she was not really reachable either. Just recently though, she was very brave and opened up publicly to her followers that she lost a lot of things;

Quote

I lost my job, my therapist, my mind, my self confidence, my integrity and motivation, I lost ~200 followers, who I am as a person and any self love, lost so many hours wasted on League of Legends (don't play the game, it has ruined my life), and my will to live (but don't worry, I'm better atm)

Those are her words. It was heartbreaking but so relatable to read this, and I was relieved to see that she's in a better place too. I took that opportunity to reach out, told her about my addiction to Empires & Puzzles, the game that I went so deep into and almost lost my family 3 years ago because I was playing it at least 8h a day, up to 16h on days with in-game events. I may not be addicted to all games myself, but I was truly in a dark place with that one, and so I was able to relate with her and share encouraging words. My wife and I are planning to check in on her whenever she feels comfortable.

The second story is from a colleague that I worked with during one of my first software development jobs. He is now living in Germany, so I don't really see him anymore, but still catch up with his LinkedIn feed once in a while when I check. I noted he was looking for a job recently, so I realized that he had been impacted by recent layoffs, as has been the sad reality in this current global economy. But his resolve is inspiring, to say the least. Just read this paragraph that he wrote:

Quote

When I am at my lowest, it helps to remind myself that I am in the trough of a wave, and it's only a matter of time before I get picked up by the next one. This idea always helps me push forward regardless of how I feel. ... Today I have started looking for a new job, but I wanted to challenge myself a bit. I want to run everyday until I find a new job, and each day I want to add 200 meters to my run. I also want to learn a bit more about the history of the area I am living in. On each of my runs, I want to take a photo of something, and provide a historical fact about it.

He posted this 2 weeks ago, but I've caught up to his latest post; this one is on Berlin's pink pipes. It's incredibly inspiring to read through his journey, and it has motivated me to be a more active individual as well. I'm planning to continue following his progress.

What I'm grateful for & looking forward to

Working out again! Now that I feel a lot better, I will continue doing 2km walks daily to bring my kids to the park; that is the exact distance there and back according to Google Maps. And I am looking forward to continuing my gym routine. It's hard to not be motivated after those two stories!

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2023-08-09

I don't want to get ahead of myself too early, but so far it's day 11 with no significant wasted time! No browsing reddit threads, or mindlessly watching youtube, I've kept my media consumption on the internet to 1h at most, and it has never been consecutively either. The gaming I have done in the past few days has been only social with friends and family, and I haven't even played since Sunday either since I got burned out from that; which is good, it gets me to focus on other hobbies and it reminds me that I'm not over-indulging.

Mind, I still have the rest of today to get through to officially make it day 11; but I'm writing now because the rest of my day is going to be pretty busy, and I don't think I'll have time later. My plans today have got changed than what I had originally planned; still did the walk with my dogs and my oldest, but had to shorten it due to how late we all woke up. It is the first time in a while we slept in until 7am, typically my cat will wake us up with his loud meows for food at 6am... but even he slept in! We recently increased his food intake, since the vet noticed he was losing weight; apparently because he is a Sphynx (a hairless breed), this cat breed needs double the usual amount of food compared to standard cats. I've noticed he's gained a decent amount of weight too, so that is reassuring... although food for him is gonna get more expensive since he's eating so much more 😄

Had to get to swimming lessons for the kids soon after waking up, so hence the walk was shortened. Eventually my younger kid will join us for said walk, but he's a bit too young right now (not even 3yo yet) and it can be challenging for one parent to walk 2 dogs and 2 young kids on top of that. My wife also had an appointment after the lessons, which I forgot about until she reminded me; I don't think I've mentioned it until now besides one of my first posts on this forum, but she is pregnant. We're expecting a 3rd baby early next year, so that's what the appointment was about. It's also why she's not quite joining me on long walks, she's pretty wiped most days. We find out the baby's sex late next month, one thing I'm looking forward to. We dropped off our kids at their grandparents so we could go get some 10am breakfast (late for us), and then to the appointment. While waiting on my wife to do bloodwork I focused on French practice.

I got home roughly more than 1h ago; put kids in for a nap, let dogs out, fed the cat lunch, and then went to the gym in the building. Since my walk this morning was much shorter, I ran for 2km at an average 6km/h pace, stretched and then went back home. And am typing this now.

On the way back I ran into my mom... or more aptly, I let her pass me while on the road. She was driving behind a bus, and I could tell she wanted to pass the bus, so after I recognized her car I let her through. Funny thing, she didn't recognize it was me until I called her! 😛 We made plans on the spot to see them tonight for dinner (hence why my afternoon and evening will be busier). We are seeing them tonight because they are leaving on a trip to England tomorrow, so hence why we decided to make last minute plans now.

What I'm grateful for

I'll sound like a broken record, but my family. I am grateful for them every day, it's fun to take care of my kids and engage with them, and it's very satisfying to have some real quality time with my wife.

What I'm looking forward to

Dinner tonight with my side of the family. We don't see my folks as often, my family dynamic is a bit different and dysfunctional if I'm being honest - they can be pretty hot-headed and sharp tongued, and also part of the reason I escaped into gaming so much before - but my wife and I have patched things up with them about 2 years ago. We did that when I detoxed initially and stopped escaping into gaming so that I would not deal with the issues we had. Once I detoxed, I had no more excuses to make, and I dealt with our relationship by setting boundaries. It can be pretty scary to do that, and it initially did cause more conflict as they felt that I was pushing them away; but over time things got better, we started talking again and they started respecting our boundaries too. They're still my family, after all, and my wife and I think it's equally as important that my kids know their whole background. I am also grateful that I took that step in detoxing a while back, as it gave me the opportunity to really deal with the issues I had been previously ignoring, and gave me the chance to better my relationships.

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2023-08-10

Day 12

Another busy day, and it's almost the end of my vacation. Went outside with my oldest and the dogs, breakfast, then swimming as has been the routine for the last few days this week.

After putting my kids in for a nap, I did a 2.5km walk outside with my dogs, which was pretty tiring. Humidity is very high this time of year, even early in the day. I just focused on yoga stretches after that.

We announced on social media publicly that we're having another kid. Talked with several family members about that over the phone. My grandmother is excited to see us 2 weekends from now, she reiterated.

Cleaning took up my time otherwise. Laundry was pretty backed up.

What I'm grateful for 

Glad this pregnancy is going well. Wife and I went through a miscarriage last year, which was pretty devastating. So getting to the milestone where we can publicly announce is really positive.

What I'm looking forward to

Going to the library with the kids tomorrow after swimming. Will be their first time at a public library, gonna get them library cards and new books; I'm getting sick of reading the same "Spidey and friends" picture books 😆 but obviously it will be a good thing for them too

Edited by D_Cozy
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2023-08-11

Day 13 of no mindless excessive net browsing. My Google searches today were limited to looking up the service number for the company that provides maintenance for the building; the washroom towel hanger started snapping off the wall, breaking the dry wall in the process. I had to inform them about that so they could schedule a day to fix it.

Last day of swimming lessons for kids. They got progress reports from their instructor: they both did well with a few things to work on. We are getting a hotel when we go to see my grandmother in Ottawa, which has a pool where my wife and I will try those things with them.

Afterwards went to the library, where there's a play area for young kids. They have a pretty decent selection of books for their age too, my wife picked out a French ABC book to borrow to them. I read it later in the afternoon to them; also helps me practice! 😆

There were food trucks in the park across the street today and that's what filled the afternoon up for us. We ate with my wife's parents.

No workout today due to said plans, but I did let my dogs out for another long walk (2.5km again), the weather was not as humid. I was hoping to clean my car today, but with the library and time spent with my in-laws, it'll just have to be done in the weekend.

What I'm grateful for

I am very fortunate to live in a place that offers many opportunities to practice French. If not for that I think I would not have made it to 72 days of practice. Though before I was only doing about 10m a day, if that, so I am also glad to be keeping the habit up more recently. Keeping that as an easy to access activity to fall back on has been a great way for me to pass the time productively.

What I'm looking forward to

It will be the last day of soccer for my oldest on Saturday. At the time of writing he already did it, but I'll type more later today or tomorrow morning with my Saturday update 🙂

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2023-08-12

Day 14. Soccer today with my oldest, his last practice for the summer before he goes to school September for kinder. Very soon!

Made a beef stir fry for dinner, with green onions, broccoli, bell peppers of 4 colors, carrots, and jasmine rice. Chopping all the veggies up and setting up the rice cooker kept me busy, then I cooked dinner. Satisfying 😌 attached a picture.

Something annoying happened but took it as an opportunity to get busy. The network technician from our ISP who set up our modem+router simply stuffed the whole box inside the cabinet in the laundry room. So when I went in to reset it, because the net was acting up, the whole thing fell out as I opened the little door 😐 But I took it as an opportunity to clean the mess up myself, and got my toolbox out. The box is hung up with two nails on the wall beside the cabinet now, and the cables are nicely organized inside it: took 2h but it was very satisfying DIY, and will make it much more accessible moving forward. Also attached a picture of the end result!

What I am grateful for

The practice of keeping a gratitude journal is great, it gets me to reflect on my day and get my priorities laid out.

What I am looking forward to

Cleaning my car! It's gonna happen Sunday. So today, as I'm typing this.

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2023-08-13

Day 15. Last day of my 2-week time off. I took off the 21st so I can do a trip up to Ottawa and see my grandmother + my wife's family, but other than that I'm working until the holidays.

I got my car cleaned, which was my big priority for the day. The back seats were still folded from when we moved, almost 2 months ago, so that was satisfying to put back. Also vacuumed it out, with kids I am not surprised with what I find in the backseat (cheerios, snack wrappers, etc). It's ready to go for the trip, and I'll probably clean it out again after that.

Using some of the leftovers from stir fry, we had tacos for dinner.

Went to gym today, ran 2.5km at 6km/h again. I feel comfortable at this pace and will keep it up, it's enough to make me sweat and tire my body out. I discovered yesterday that my workplace also offers a Headspace subscription, which is a mindfulness app with guided meditations and light workouts. I signed up for it and did one of their light workouts in the evening, more of light yoga with stretches. Will give it a go moving forward, at most they take half an hour which is fully doable.

Moved up to the Diamond league in Duolingo for the first time, my practice is paying off. I have not used any streak freezes and don't plan on doing so. Tomorrow when I drop my kids off at daycare (they go to a French daycare), I will test my progress with the educators using the words I know.

What I'm grateful for

Time spent with my family was awesome, and I'm glad to have started journaling and committing to not excessively browsing for random videos and blogs while on vacation.

Looking over my phone's screen-time, I've shifted my most used category apps from Videos and Social, to now Social and Productivity. Duolingo is classified as a social app apparently, but it basically replaced Reddit and Twitter (or whatever that's called now), so that's really inspiring to see. The video app is YouTube, which I completely cut out watching on my phone; still watch on TV app for Cam's videos and other topics of interest, but for me it's a lot easier to stop there since it's a set place and set device. I'm planning to keep that physical separation so I don't over-indulge while I work, too easy to get distracted with a video if I try putting it on my phone or laptop.

What I'm looking forward to

Getting back to work! I've been building good habits and I'll get a chance to put them to the test

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BTW, @wheatbiscuit thanks for the recommendations on music. I've been listening to the entire discography of Explosions in the Sky and Lights & Motion so far, instrumental rock is exactly what I'm looking for 🙂 I'll be getting to the other two over the next few weeks, but really, thanks for the suggestions!

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2025-08-14

Day 16.

Work was very productive today, but not without a near misstep. I had a moment of weakness where I almost spiraled down a rabbit hole looking up who knows what; my browser extention "StayFocusd" stopped me well in advance. I don't even remember what it was that I was looking up (I am sure it was not important), just that I ended up at Wikipedia before my extension kicked me out and told me to stop procrastinating. This happened after a particularly long sync meeting with the whole team, so now I know that after meetings like those I have to step off my desk and away from my computer for a few minutes to take a more productive break.

My oldest had his last blast ball game today (baseball for preschool kids) and that was quite fun. All of us parents pitched in to get food for all the kids to eat. Wife and I ate leftovers before that since we knew there wouldn't be enough for all parents after the kids ate. There were some fun activities to do like throwing the softball to hit cones like bowling. Fun evening and nice way to end the day.

What I'm grateful for

I am glad to have this extension so that it can catch me in moments where I lose focus. I honestly didn't even notice in the moment that I was getting distracted, so it's certainly good to have tools like these to snap me out of it.

 What I'm looking forward to 

Prepping for the trip to Ottawa. Hotel has a pool so that'll be something fun to do with the kids there too.

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2023-08-15 (writing on Wed)

Day 17. Work was... not as productive as yesterday, but it wasn't my lack of trying; requirements for a task I picked up changed mid-day. That was frustrating, I had to redo some of the database queries I was working on to meet those. But again, it was not on me, sometimes that is just the nature of the job; things change quickly with tech. I did not go deep-diving into reddit or similar forums at least to cope, and I didn't need my browser extension to stop me; so it's improvement, getting better at recognizing those situations myself. Instead I took a break to go outside and let my dogs out for a short 1km walk, then went back to my desk.

Gym after work did not happen; I helped with dinner though, which kept me on my feet (chicken and rice today, nothing fancy). I could've gone after, but I chose instead to play with my kids before bed and then I worked after that. I should probably not do that last one, but I was energized and focused on the problem after putting my kids to bed, I couldn't get it out of my head. Still went to bed at 11pm, which is the latest I aim for. I am still tired this morning, due to looking at screens, though not as tired as I used to be when I would regularly play video games before bed; I'm still ready to tackle the workday ahead.

Another thing that I think helps is my blue filter glasses. I've had them for a while now, 5 years, but I really should try to get better at using them for every screen in general, not just work ones.

Sadly I broke my French streak, and used a streak freeze in Duolingo. I'll have to make time to practice the next day.

What I'm grateful for

Catching myself and improvement on not procrastinating.

What I'm looking forward to (more of a things to try to improve this entry)

Trying to use my blue filter glasses for personal use, not just work. Try to not work late today; if the requirements change, I have to get better and recognize that the deadline should also change so I'm not trying to unrealistically meet it. Make time to practice French regularly again. Finally, I'm gonna try to go to the gym before noon, which is when the day gets busy with meetings.

Edited by D_Cozy
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2023-08-16 (written Thursday)

Day 18. I resumed French practice, which I'm glad about, even if it was just for 20min yesterday. I am going to slowly try to get back to 1h a day, I guess I thought it'd be easier to keep that up but going from vacation to working again is proving to make that not as easy as I thought it'd be.

No working late last night, which I'm glad about. Made good progress and put one of my code changes in review. Still working on the other task for the week, but have 2 days still so no rush. I will do my best to keep this mentality up.

I managed to get to the gym for the same 2km run at 1pm during my lunch, which is later than I had originally wanted to go but glad I went nonetheless. Will go again Thursday. For lunch, I had carrots and chopped cucumber with dip. Very light but still satisfying lunch. I also made breakfast for dinner; quesadillas and refried beans. I used corn tortillas as well, which in my opinion taste better. My mom's side of the family is Mexican, and I grew up in Mexico when I was young, so this is likely a bias of mine too for corn > flour.

One thing I still need to be more mindful of is using my blue filter glasses for personal use. My wife and I watched an anime together after our kids were in bed (My Happy Marriage on Netflix), and I forgot to put my glasses on for that. I will try to still keep it in mind.

What I'm grateful for

Every day is feeling clearer now that I'm limiting my intake of social media and online videos.

What I am looking forward to

I'm pretty excited for my current work task; the queries I mentioned which changed mid-day. They are going to be for a report to a big client of ours, which is going to generate revenue when we propose it as an extra feature to sell. And their data is very interesting too; my work is in a content moderation software solution, so all our clients have unique online communities and traffic that makes designing tools for their data insight all very unique.

Edited by D_Cozy
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2023-08-17 (written Friday)

Day 19. Work was decent. I'm not moving as fast as I would've liked to, but that is what happens when we start requirement changes midway and my manager is understanding of that. Also talked with my manager about leave resources for parental leave; something I did not take at my previous company since their top-up wasn't great. The yoga ball I sit on for work ended up popping though (my dog jumped on it and made a hole), so I am gonna have to get a new one; good thing I have a standing desk!

Things are a bit scary with the forest fires in western Canada; that's where some of my co-workers are working from (we all work remotely). Some of them had to evacuate yesterday in the afternoon their time. Thankfully restrictions were lifted recently for BC, but I was a bit anxious for yesterday afternoon.

I kept myself busy in the afternoon making dinner (chicken parm). I worked out after dinner, 1.75km jog indoors, but I also did leg and core exercises. My legs and abs are both sore, the good kind of sore.

What I'm grateful for

Keeping track of what I do journaling helps me a lot daily.

What I'm looking forward to

Trip to Ottawa to see my grandmother and my wife's extended family.

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