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My Journal - Travis


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Day 13

Today is my day off work. I woke up at 7am, meditated, showered, ate breakfast, and came to a coffee shop, where I type this. It's about 7:55am. I rarely wake up this early on days off. I think by focusing on my habits and getting my sleep schedule more consistent has made this possible. It feels really good to start the day with some momentum.

Yesterday I started taking a look at both Habitica/HabitRPG and Coach.me. I feel like I like both for different reasons. I like how you can customize habits/dailys/to-do's in Habitica, but as Cam said in another thread, it does over-complicate it all a bit. Coach.me is nice is in simplicity. I'm going to see which I like better and, most importantly, whether they actually help me or not.

I have continued to poke away at my blog. I wrote a post about quitting gaming, which I thought you guys might find interesting. Blog title is still a working title :). I'm pretty self-conscious about my writing, so I think it's good for me to step out of my comfort zone and actually show my writing to people. Anyway, here it is:

https://kortheo.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/giving-up-gaming-2/

Gratitude:

  1. I am grateful for this coffee shop.
  2. I am grateful for morning sun.
  3. I am grateful for my sister.
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Day 305 Went camping up in the mountains this weekend with friends and it was a great time.  I ended up recording some of our conversations and making them into podcasts, and they're turning out great

Day 308 A lingering topic from my last discussion with Cam. I brought up the fact that sometimes I don't feel feel confident around other people and as a result don't look them in the eye while talkin

Day 14

Made it to two weeks! Glad you guys liked the blog post(s).

Again, got up early and made it to a coffee shop to be productive. This is getting easier as I go. I want to make this my new norm on days off, rather than sleeping in super late.

I have several social thing splanned for this weekend, and I actually went out to dinner and drinks last night w/ girlfriend + friends, so I got some social action in there. It's funny, after you start taking a couple social steps, the social anxiety that kept me in the house can start to melt away pretty quickly.

Brief update for today because I'm short on time. Hope you guys are having a good day.

1. I am grateful for modern dentistry.

2. I am grateful for freshly baked butter croissants.

3. I am grateful for Meetup groups.

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Day 15

Well, last night I broke up with my girlfriend of nearly 2 years. It was more or less mutual, at least, but still not easy. Still processing feelings, etc. I think I had been unhappy in the relationship for a long time, and quitting gaming might have given me the extra energy and motivation I needed to actually confront the situation and do something about it. No longer able to bury myself in games and numb my emotions that way, I was compelled to take action to make my life better. At least, that's how it feels.

The world feels a little bit lighter today. I'm both excited and scared for the future. The momentum that I've gained from the last 2 weeks of being on this site and involved with the game-quitting community has given me a good amount of momentum to continue building a life that I am proud of. I have started going to social events a bit (went to one meet-up group yesterday). I'm know it will take time, but I hope that showing up to group events consistently with a positive attitude will help me make some new friends and connections.

1. I am grateful for rain.

2. I am grateful for fiction.

3. I am grateful for my cozy apartment.

EDIT: P.S. Also someone reblogged my blog post about stopping video games, which is cool ha. Didn't expect that so soon. A small thing, but it feels good.

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Thanks, I appreciate that. Just a part of life I guess. As long as we all continue to support each other on our journeys, that's all that matters. These journals are interesting, since they capture they ups and downs. I am pretty sure I'm on the right path with all this though. I'm learning to find areas of my life that make me uncomfortable, and instead of running away from them, begin expanding my comfort zone so I grow instead of stay stuck.

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Hey Travis. Thank you for sharing your journal and congratulations on your blog. Not only on the post about quitting gaming but on the very first one too. It really resonates with me, and you got me to grin and nod with your "perfection, like Superman, can be pretty boring". Please keep writing.

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Day 17

I missed my journal yesterday, for the first time. Even though in my last post I mentioned my break up as if it was simple and cut and dry, that of course wasn't the case. The last 3 days have been my girlfriend and I talking things through, processing emotions, and figuring out what we were really going to do. It's been a rough couple of days. But last night we ended things for good. On Sunday I lost my nerve and was really doubting, but as soon as those feelings passed my feeling of needing to leave the relationship returned very strongly. Even though my girlfriend didn't want to end it, as she had a couple of days to reflect she did agree that our relationship wasn't working and we were able to agree that something needed to change. She asked that I consider it a mutual break up, so I will. I'm grateful she felt that way, because it's much easier to end things if you're on the same page at least a little bit (although it's never easy).

Hey Travis, I'm sorry you're going through a tough time right now. As you already know though, you'll make it through and be a stronger/better person because of it.

It's great to hear you're getting yourself out there more! I honestly think that one of the key components to me staying on track was having social "obligations" (in the sense that there was a time/place to go and meet people, not in the sense that I was forcing myself to go to them even though I hated them kind of thing).

If you don't feel like talking about this, I completely understand. I'm not the best in social situations, so I'm not sure if this is socially acceptable for me to ask you or not, so forgive me if it isn't right lol. I've only ever been in one relationship my whole life (with my current girlfriend). What makes you decide that you finally want to stop being in a relationship? My gf and I have had our ups and downs (a lot of downs..), and for some reason I kept telling myself to work on our relationship. I guess it is just a lack of experience for me, but what makes someone finally decide to stop working on the relationship and to eject? And again, feel free not to talk about this, this is your journal so write whatever you feel like writing about lol

Anyways, it's great to hear that you're still taking great strides toward that better life :). Looking forward to hearing more from you as you continue your journey!

?Hey thanks. I am pretty comfortable talking about it - in fact, it would probably help me to talk about it. As for what makes one decide you want to stop being in a relationship - well, that's kind of the million dollar question. Deciding whether you should break up can be incredibly difficult. I tried to get a lot of opinions from various sources (reddit, internet articles, friends, family, relationship advice podcasts, etc) to make sure that I was considering all the important things when making this choice. Throughout that process I found myself wishing that there was some objective test that you could take that could tell you if you should break up or not. Hah, unfortunately life is not that easy.

If you're in your first and only relationship, that makes things doubly difficult, because you have only one data point about what partners and relationships are like. After you've been in a few relationships you can compare Person A and Person B and get a sense for what you like and don't like. Everyone is different and it's possible that you managed to find someone you could spend your whole life with right away, but that is rare. I have no idea what your relationship is like, but if you're having some doubts, it's possible you've slipped into a comfortable place where your relationship is okay but it isn't maybe what you want for yourself, or what a relationship for you could be.

That said, I did come away with some lessons learned when deciding to break up or not.

1. Look at the situation objectively as you can. One way would be to start with a simple pro/con list. What are the things about my relationship that I like and add value to my life, that make me feel happy and fulfilled? What are the things I dislike about my relationship, that make me stressed, unhappy, or dissatisfied? This gives you a starting place to map out your feelings about the relationship. Do the things you put down in the pro column seem like really core, important relationship things (emotional support, feeling loved, satisfying sex life) or are they more superficial (we have similar hobbies, she keeps me company, she's a great cook)? Are the things in the con column pushing into the deal-breaker territory (different values and life goals, sexual or emotional incompatibility, frequent fighting, manipulative or abusive behavior) or are they differences that can be negotiated and tolerated for the long haul (sometimes they're messy, X habit I find annoying but I'll live with it, sometimes we fight and it sucks but we have the communication skills and mutual respect to get through it, etc)? You get the idea.

2. Consider what a relationship is "supposed" to be like, and compare. Due to our culture we are bombarded with unrealistic images and ideas of what relationships are like. It takes a little time and reflection to disabuse yourself of these. Anyone who's actually been in a relationship knows that relationships are not easy-breezy the whole time, no matter how good the relationship is. But I think there is a critical threshold for this... while fighting/conflict is normal, if you're fighting too often, or too intensely, or if the same issues never have any progress made on them, it's worth taking a step back and thinking about what's going on. Relationships do take a lot of work, but on the whole, the relationship should be one that makes you feel happy and satisfied. It should make your life better rather than worse (corollary: a bad relationship is worse than being single). A partner can't meet all of your needs, and all partners will have trade-offs. But in the right relationship, you shouldn't feel drained around your partner, and you won't have nagging doubts at the back of your mind. One guideline I encountered on the web was "If you're not 100% happy with the relationship 50% of the time, consider if you're in the wrong relationship." I don't know if that's exactly right or not, but I like the general idea there. Maybe a more realistic rule would be 90% happy or 85% happy, as no relationship is perfect, but you can decide for yourself. A second guideline I like (which can be pretty telling) is: If you were single and dating right now, would you date and get into another relationship with your current partner? If you feel like you wouldn't, then maybe that says something about how happy you are with the relationship.

3. Search your feelings for what you want. Ultimately, in order to decide if you're in the right relationship, you need to consider if it's giving you what you actually want. To do that, you need to know what you want. And it may help to prioritize those wants. Are your emotional needs getting met in the relationship? Does your partner support you in your life/goals? Are your sexual needs getting met to your satisfaction? If you're looking for a long term relationship, potentially for marriage, also helps to keep in mind future things - are you and your partner on the same page about children (and if you want them, how you want to raise them?) Religion? Finances? Attitudes towards non-monagamy 20 years down the road if you have a dead bedroom situation? etc. These things matter, a lot. Also, I think people tend to feel shallow if they prioritize sex, but sex is really important! It doesn't make you shallow or a bad person to make sex a priority in your life. We should be honest with ourselves about what we want. That will lead to the healthiest relationships.

It's also important to know what your deal-breakers are and to establish whether there are any lurking in the relationship. Other thoughts: How has your partner changed since you met? Why were you attracted to them initially? Are you still attracted to them in the same way, or have things changed? Do you feel drawn towards other people? Do you have any urges for independence, growth, dating other people? Of course it's normal to be attracted to people other than your partner, but I think it's important to pay attention to the strength of those impulses and think about what they're telling you.

4. Decide if your problems can be worked through. At this point you probably have a sense of your current relationship and what you ideally would want out of a relationship. Ideals can be dangerous because they are not reality, but being realistic about it, you can see where your current relationship is falling short. Then you have decide if you think it's something that is fixable or not. Can it be fixed with working on communication? Having a difficult conversation? Reading some relationship books to give you constructive ideas on how to improve things? Going to couple's counseling? Those things may be worth trying. If none of them end up working, or you aren't willing to try them, you may reach the conclusion that your issues aren't capable of being worked through, in which case your options are either break up, or stay in an unfulfilling relationship. Of course, staying in a relationship that you know isn't working for you isn't really fair to either yourself or your partner. Give yourself the time you need to process your feelings, make a decision, and go with it.

5. Trust yourself and be courageous. This was where I struggled the most, but ultimately grew the most as well. I knew, on some level, that I wanted some changes in my life. I wanted a partner with different personality traits. I wasn't sexually fulfilled, and wanted something different there, too. My emotional needs weren't really being met, and my partner wasn't really able to meet them based on where they were with their personal development. There are all things that I didn't come to fully realize until I had the experience of going through the relationship for 2 years and learning about myself and my partner. But even knowing all this, I had a lot of doubts. Leaving a relationship is psychologically difficult because bonding is such a powerful biological force. Ending relationships can feel like ripping out the most important part of your life. I would second-guess myself and tell myself that I would never find someone else like her, etc. I was terrified I was making a huge mistake. I scoured the internet because I wanted some objective validation that I was making the correct decision. But, while outside information is helpful, ultimately only you can make that determination. After reading enough accounts of people who broke up with their partners, and how they were ultimately glad they did but went through all the same exact fear and doubt I was dealing with, I realized that this was normal and that I was doing the right thing. I had to trust my intuition, my gut, my instincts, that were telling me to break up, and ignore my weak rationalizations that I couldn't break up with my girlfriend because she was such a great cook and we went to the same college and we both like hiking and Australian shepherds. I realized that breaking up is always hard, and it wasn't ever going to be easy. I had to learn to be courageous and trust my feelings, and go through with it.

I think I just inadvertently wrote my next blog post :P. I'll probably refine this and when I do I'll send you a link. Great question, thanks for asking! I had a lot of info in my brain to put to paper.

As one aside, I will recommend this article, as I found it to be really helpful and interesting:

http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2015/08/why-its-so-hard-to-break-up-when-you-need-to/

Hey Travis. Thank you for sharing your journal and congratulations on your blog. Not only on the post about quitting gaming but on the very first one too. It really resonates with me, and you got me to grin and nod with your "perfection, like Superman, can be pretty boring". Please keep writing.

?Hey thanks, I appreciate it. It's great to hear that you like it. I will definitely keep writing! :D

Edited by kortheo
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I think I just inadvertently wrote my next blog post :P. I'll probably refine this and when I do I'll send you a link. Great question, thanks for asking! I had a lot of info in my brain to put to paper.

Exactly what I was thinking! And let me add that I like your style. The way you lay down your thoughts clicks with the way I process information.

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Exactly what I was thinking! And let me add that I like your style. The way you lay down your thoughts clicks with the way I process information.

?Awesome, glad to hear it! If you have any topics you're interested in, or things you've been thinking about lately, send them my way, I could always use some post ideas. I'm currently trying to write one post per week (goal is to get one up every Friday).

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Day 19

Missed my journal yesterday. I don't want that to become a pattern because I like writing these. This week has just been intense, though. In addition to the breakup, work has just been unrelenting. I knew it was going to be a hard week because we have a big project going on, but it's just been even more complicated than expected. I had pretty bad insomnia last night, I think due to anxiety, and couldn't get to sleep until 2AM. That's been happening more often recently, but I'm starting to get a handle on the causes. I know I need to exercise more and drink less caffeine, those seem to help a lot in combination. Anyway. I struggle with admitting when I'm having a hard time, but honestly, this week is a challenge. I know it will get better, but I can't deny it's hard right now. It's ironic how when you need sleep the most, it can be hardest to come by.

I have to get to work now, but I will try to update later. Thanks guys.

EDIT:

OK, I can add more now.

I went to see The Martian last night with a friend that I haven't seen in a while. It was awesome! Highly recommend it for anyone interested in sci-fi. It's a fantastic example of "hard sci-fi", where they try to make things as plausible/scientifically accurate as possible, which I think is really cool.

Daily Gratitude:

1. I am grateful for my friend ^.

2. I am grateful that for my parents, and that they are still alive.

3. I am grateful for the podcast Reply All.

Reply all had a great episode this week on depression and the internet. One thing that came up is that when you're depressed, the world you create for yourself online tends to mirror that - you're less likely to enjoy and follow things that are happy because they just don't jive with your experience at that time. People who are overtly happy (say on facebook) can seem like they're mocking or taunting you or something, throwing their highlight-reel happiness in your internet face. Likewise, when you're happy, you it's hard to be around people who are depressed because they pull you down so much. The two worlds just don't seem to overlap very much.

I thought this was very interesting. My now ex-girlfriend dealt with depression, and while I was compassionate towards her regarding that, being around someone who is constantly feeling down and negative and hopeless really can bring you down, too. I wanted the best for her, but it felt very draining for me and it felt like effort to deal with those emotions on a daily basis. Upon reflection I realize now that if I choose a partner who was generally upbeat and positive about life, and who either doesn't have depression, or has successfully treated it, my life might feel different just because of that person's attitude. What is the saying, we are the average of the people we surround ourselves with?

Anyway, just some thoughts for the day. I hope everyone is doing well! If you are struggling, hang in there :).

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You too hang in there :) Have you tried decaf? At home we usually mix regular coffee and decaf to get kind of the best of both worlds.

The Martian sounds just like my type of movie. Added to my wishlist.

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Day 20

Last work day in a long week. I am almost there!

When I was gaming, it never felt like there was enough hours in the day. Now that I stopped gaming... oddly, it feels like the days are just right. It feels like there is time to do everything that I want to do, and to get all of my habits taken care of for the day, to learn new things, to try new challenges, to see my family and friends. Such a stark contrast for cutting one activity out of my life.

I was reading yesterday that when people break up, they lose a part of their self-identity. I think this is true. I think this is also true when we quit video games. Now that I have done both in short order, I definitely have a sense that who I am is changing. It's not so much that I feel a loss of identity as I a feel a huge sense of potential for what I could be, and how that would be different for what I am now. I've been single more often than in relationships in my life, so I think I can adjust back to that. But I've never quit gaming. What will I look like as a single non-gamer? It will be interesting to find out - or maybe choose - what I want that version of my self to be.

I really look forward to this coming weekend so that I will have some time to sit and process what a hectic week this has been! :)

You too hang in there :) Have you tried decaf? At home we usually mix regular coffee and decaf to get kind of the best of both worlds.

The Martian sounds just like my type of movie. Added to my wishlist.

?Yeah, I've been keeping to decaf and tea, and trying not to drink more than 1-2 drinks / day. I'm pretty sensitive to caffeine, I'm learning.

Let me know what you think of the Martian if you see it!

Gratitude Journal
1. I am grateful for trees.

2. I am grateful for chilly autumn mornings.

3. I am grateful for my neighbor's cat that hangs out in my yard.

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Day 21

I woke up this morning and came across this article on reddit. It's an interview with Neil Strauss, the author of the PUA book The Game, which came out in 2005.

I remember when I was in college I had a friend who was getting into the PUA scene and he sent me a .pdf of this book, as well as some other PUA materials. Knowing nothing about that world, I read them, somewhat intrigued. I read The Game and enjoyed it - if I recall, it's simply a well-written book. But I never got into pick up. It always felt weird to me and left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable. I think the element of dishonesty in it all didn't jive with my sense of self; I think that's the case for many people.

But of course there are people who do get into it. Aforementioned friend included. In the article, Strauss is depicted as a changed man who is ashamed/embarrassed by The Game at this point in his life, 10 years on. I find this really interesting. At the time, even though I was put off by pick-up artistry, I was also a nerdy guy who struggled with women and relationships, so it was intimidating to think that some guys had a system to have access to lots of sex so easily. On one level, I'm sure I admired or envied Strauss for that. Now, Strauss has written a new book, The Truth, which talks about him moving on from those years. He talks about going to therapy and realizing all the problems he had in his life, and how he worked through those to find happiness in a monogamous relationship and as a father. In the book, he is treated for sex addiction; he worries that his time in pickup 'permanently corrupted' him. I find this fascinating because I think it parallels the journey that people have with quitting games, or doing NoFap (or perhaps any addiction). The article paints a portrait of someone who was lonely and troubled inside, and who used pick-up to have lots of sex, with the expectation (probably unconsciously) that the sexual attention of a lot of women would make him whole, solve his problems, bring him fulfillment. In the same way that people turn to porn or games to numb themselves and ignore their own problems - they only realize the true problems that were driving their behavior after they take away the games or the porn from their lives.

Obviously PUA is controversial. I've always sort of been in the 'against' camp, but I occasionally see people defend it by saying that not all PUAs are scumbags, and that there is more to it than deception, etc. There are references to "inner game" and how PUA is really about learning confidence and social skills and learning to feel comfortable in your own skin. That may well be true, but then I just wonder what makes it PUA as opposed to just self-improvement? I feel like a lot of people here having nothing to do with PUA, and are learning confidence, working on their social skills, confronting their problems, etc. I guess there are many paths to the same place in life.

I say all this being someone who is pretty ignorant of PUA outside of having read the game several years back, though. I know that Cam is a fan of Tynan, who is supposedly a non-scumbaggy PUA :). So if I have any misconceptions I'm happy to have them corrected here.

---

That was just on my brain this morning. In other news, I went to the beach with my family last night and had a great time. We were there at sunset and it was beautiful. I felt very calm and at peace, in a way that I haven't felt in a long time.

It might sound silly, but I also changed the headlight bulbs on my car yesterday, and it was a highlight of my day. I had never done it before. My neighbor was outside and we started talking and he loaned me some tools to make my job easier. It was nice just to have a conversation with someone who was nice and wanted to help me, and for me to successfully fix something that I could have easily spent $50 for someone else to do it. I was proud of myself. In the past I might have been really anxious that I would mess up the job, or really socially anxious of having to have this impromptu social interaction with someone I didn't really know. But, it was great.

Now, I'm leaving to go visit my grandparent's grave with my mom and sisters.

I hope you all have wonderful days.

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Great article! Can't wait to read his book. I'm very familiar with the pros/cons of the "PUA" community.

I think there's a lot of truth mixed in everywhere. From my experience having met thousands of guys in the "PUA" community, I've found the vast majority of them are really just nice guys who want to treat women well who desire to have more control over that side of their life. They have been rejected/friendzoned growing up (the power dynamics between girls and boys in mid-teen years is quite substantial), and after so many years (a certain % will just "check out" and play video games instead...) what happens is they realize they are either going to end up alone or they are going to have to settle for the "one" girl who seems to like them.

So they start looking for answers and, at least when The Game was written back in 2000, there were very few answers out there aside from relationship advice from women (lol) or the PUA community. Combine the PUA advice (analytical & structured for a group of guys who tend to be analytical thinkers) with the community (band of brothers) and it's easy to see why it was so popular. As a bonus, you have a society who says this community is bad... which only hardens them together (you see the same thing with society's shaming of the gaming community).

The problem was what these guys wanted: meaningful authentic connections with women wasn't what the advice taught. The advice was very much centered around quick gimmicks that got attention (imagine never having attention from women and then going to a bar with a funny hat on and getting A LOT of attention). You can say "external validation"... so what happens is they continue to chase that (no different than gaming and how it warps you to chase instant gratification), and over time they have some degree of "success"... but very few get what they are looking for, and now they are also oddly socially uncalibrated.

But the truth is... they are good guys trying to do good in the world, but the advice they receive puts them down the wrong path. Fortunately nowadays you have a lot more quality information for guys like this (Tynan, The Art of Charm, Zan Perrion's book The Alabaster Girl, Mark Manson's book Models, my friends at Charisma on Command amongst many others.)

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The problem was what these guys wanted: meaningful authentic connections with women wasn't what the advice taught. The advice was very much centered around quick gimmicks that got attention (imagine never having attention from women and then going to a bar with a funny hat on and getting A LOT of attention). You can say "external validation"... so what happens is they continue to chase that (no different than gaming and how it warps you to chase instant gratification), and over time they have some degree of "success"... but very few get what they are looking for, and now they are also oddly socially uncalibrated.

?This makes a lot of sense. Great way of putting it, I especially like the phrase 'oddly socially uncalibrated' haha.

So they start looking for answers and, at least when The Game was written back in 2000, there were very few answers out there aside from relationship advice from women (lol) or the PUA community. Combine the PUA advice (analytical & structured for a group of guys who tend to be analytical thinkers) with the community (band of brothers) and it's easy to see why it was so popular. As a bonus, you have a society who says this community is bad... which only hardens them together (you see the same thing with society's shaming of the gaming community).

[...]

But the truth is... they are good guys trying to do good in the world, but the advice they receive puts them down the wrong path. Fortunately nowadays you have a lot more quality information for guys like this (Tynan, The Art of Charm, Zan Perrion's book The Alabaster Girl, Mark Manson's book Models, my friends at Charisma on Command amongst many others.)

?Very interesting. I can see what you mean about how back then there wasn't a lot of good info vs now. I am a fan of Mark Manson's stuff and was thinking of reading Models soon. Have you read it?

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I am a fan of Mark Manson's stuff and was thinking of reading Models soon. Have you read it?

?Great book! I'd also recommend The Alabaster Girl by Zan Perrion, The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida and No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover. Lol. :P

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?Great book! I'd also recommend The Alabaster Girl by Zan Perrion, The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida and No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover. Lol. :P

?Haha, it feels like you will always have more recommendations than I can possible read! Not that I'm complaining. I will get on it!

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Day 22

Wow, it's been three weeks already. That simultaneously feels like a long time and not that long. In three weeks I feel like my habits and outlook on life have changed significantly. I feel like I have a much better sense of what I want in life. I remember, maybe a week or two before I started this, I was playing a lot of games and had a thought like "So, is this what life is now? I work and meet all my obligations so I can just game all the time?" It left me feeling unsettled. I guess that might have been the point when I realized that something wasn't right. But clearly there is so much more to life than that! While I don't regret the time I spent gaming in life, I am convinced that I've spent more than enough time on that... it feels like a waste to spend time on gaming now when I could be investing it in myself. So far, I haven't had any strong cravings. Not saying they won't happen, but having this changed mind is important.

My Giving Up Gaming blog post has been liked once, commented on once, and reblogged once. Ha. I know it's not much, but this is the first blog post that I've ever written that has actually gotten attention from strangers, so I'm calling that a win.

Cam, I looked at some samples of those books you mentioned last night and started reading the Alabaster Girl. What a fascinating book. I've only read the first chapter but it has my attention. A cool style to it, and I think that there are some things I could learn from it.

Gratitude:

I am grateful for delicious pastries.

I am grateful for my niece.

I am grateful for California sunsets.

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