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For me I think I felt like I had to compensate for her weaknesses and help her out, and eventually that leads to resentment...

This is exactly it. Especially all the little things she doesn't notice, like leaving the fridge cracked open, not turning lights off, leaving a window open with the AC running. I try to mention these things when they happen, but she acts like she's been attacked when I remind her about these things. Maybe it's in the way I say it. Anyway, it gets to the point where I resort to just not saying anything and just deal with it. But if it becomes a running problem, I can't ignore it. It's all the little things, and I've read a bit about ADD to get it and how I can compensate for it (for instance, I keep up with the bills and ask her for her half) but man. Yeah, sometimes it just plain old sucks. Her new meds already seem like a massive improvement, though.

I've got another day off. Just finished up a workout (via Wii Fit Plus - almost feels like cheating :P) and I'm about to head to the store. Gotta get some dishes cleaned up because we both got off late last night and were hungry and I fell asleep on the couch before moving to bed. Planning to have a relaxing rest of the day. Would be a three-day weekend if I didn't have to go to training tomorrow. I've skipped too many to justify skipping another.

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I'm the same way with painting as you are with writing, I can't fit it into a scheduled time. But I scheduled it anyway: An hour a day at like 4pm. Have I painted everyday at 4pm? No. But I have painted everyday :P 

For some reason, having it in my planner makes me more likely to paint overall.

It's great that your girlfriend is trying a different medication. AND I am glad you are supportive through this change. My ex left me during a switch in medication, told me I should figure myself out on my own. She is very blessed :) 

I am not sure how she handles life but, habits are pretty cool. I dont ever leave the fridge until I've shut the door even when I only want it open for a little "to put the butter/milk/insert object here" back in real fast. I have even left car doors open before...aha... Anyway It's possible, but she has to make it important to make the change. Basically the act of opening the fridge equals to close it. They need to feel connected in her habit loop. She wants to turn the AC on? Put a sticky note there "Check The Windows!" Have her write it and place it next to the AC where she'll look. Approach her saying you have an idea for the window closing and be positive about it! That visual reminder will help.

She wants to be good at these things, and she would be if she has something to remind her or she built a habit/trigger of the behavior she wants. Just like when you bring up the rent she's right on it. 

And yes!!! Cleanup during cooking is the only way I can ever get dishes done. Best habit I ever built <3 I'm still pretty bad at it though, but at least if I'm doing a long fancy meal like baking or your burgers I have 1/5 the cleanup to do at the end. 

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Hey, Laney. Thanks for stopping by! I definitely should start scheduling a time to write. Really just wish I had a more consistent schedule. People at work need to stop taking away my morning hours so I can write after work when my girlfriend's at work *shakes fist.* She definitely does display gratitude for my patience, even if I'm not always that patient. That probably sounds bad. We're happy, I promise.

Anyway, I ended up banging out a post for today on a whim. Something prompted by my decision to stop learning to program today, and just generally inspired by my inclination toward picking up way too many hobbies. I'm going to go ahead and get off the Internet for a little while. I want to go through and read everyone else's journals, but there are things to do around here. I promise, one of these days I'll go through and read more daily journals. You guys are awesome.

Change Requires Loss

A long time ago, on my public blog, I started writing a blog post titled "Course Corrections for a Simpler Life."

The other day, the tentative title of my blog here was "To Simplify (is not Simple)." By the end of that post I realized I'd gone way off topic and decided I'd shelve that title for a more relevant post.

But it reminded me of the other post, which I just looked at.

It was talking about how I was trying to improve myself from the ground up, but one thing at a time. So not really a bottom-to-top change. More like a lateral change, where the lateral movements ended up on the positive end, but the entire time, my life didn't become any bigger or smaller. I envision it like a Rubik's Cube: You can turn it and change it constantly, but it still has exactly the same number of squares on each side.

Maybe that image doesn't work for you. The point is, I wasn't just quitting a bunch of things and then rebuilding myself. I wasn't "rebooting" anything. I was swapping out habits. Instead of spending an hour each morning on the computer browsing a bunch of bullshit, I was going for a run.

My goal was to develop a routine from the ground up, without removing anything from the beginning. A total, all-at-once life turnaround can be bad for the mind, and is an easy way to set yourself up for failure. When the euphoria of the "new you" wears off, it's all too easy to reach back a week or two in time and return to your old habits - I've been there.

At the time I was writing that post (oh god, I just looked, and this was last edited in April) I was running three times a week and I'd started reading a lot more. I was planning on doing more resistance workouts as well. The main point of the whole thing (I think?) was that I was putzing around when it came to working writing into my plan.

I also had written this metaphor which made me cringe-laugh just a moment ago:

I tried to picture my life like a vat overflowing with sewage water: little by little I'd add some clean drinking water, displacing some of the old sewage. Eventually, as the crap moved out and the good water came to populate most of the vat, I could count myself improved. The water may still not be drinkable, but maybe it could do for a swim. Hey, it's not a perfect metaphor.

But when I was re-reading this and thinking of what I had intended my previous post to be about, I have to wonder what the hell I was thinking about when I was talking about a "simpler life."

I was taking a cop-out. I was only trying a little bit to fix things, at my own pace, comfortably. I wasn't going to allow any pain into my life.

I admit, it was working. But I was still able to look a week or two back in the past and return to my old habits.

Today, I decided to quit learning to program. I'd been trying off and on to do it, but it's not going to help me in any way. I don't need it, and I understand enough HTML and CSS to do any little fixes to my website if it needs it.

This echoes other endeavors I've made in the past, like learning to draw, which grew into a desire to turn one of my favorite video games into a graphic novel. Eventually, I always realize that it's not as important to me as writing, and then I quit. Not in a bad way, mind you. I don't see it as "giving up." I see it as realizing that I should continue to further develop skills I already have.

It's also why it was annoying to read this from that old unpublished post:

One of the other "course corrections" I've been trying to do for myself is simplifying my life. I constantly lament that I have had too many hobbies in the past. Not much has really changed - I still flit from one passing fancy to another. Video games are a huge vice of mine, and I can't find it in me to quit them entirely.

Obviously, the approach I tried eight months ago didn't work. So maybe it's time for a different one. One that might hurt.

Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, tells of a story of picking apples. To paraphrase, there were these apples that were thorny when they were ripe, and they hurt to pick, especially when there was frost on them in the early morning. Pressfield turned to one of the fastest apple-pickers he worked with and asked him how he picked them so quick. The other man smiled and said, "With great pain."

The people working on that farm were essentially homeless, doing what they could to get by, even if it hurt.

Sometimes it hurts to do what you have to do. Sometimes it has to hurt. I don't think there is any positive change that can happen without loss.

Which is why I have a new list of priorities:

  • A happy, healthy relationship.
  • A clean home.
  • Staying in shape.
  • Writing.
  • A healthy state of mind.

Note that these are in no particular order (except for the first one).

The point is, those things above are the only things that need to be of concern to me from now on. If something I want to do doesn't comply with or help one of these items in some way, I simply should not do it. If I'm bored, I can look to this list to see what I haven't done and what I can do to fix that.

Learning to code (or draw) seemed like a positive thing at the time, but it was really just another distraction.

The plan now is to get everything down to bare bones. Work from the ground up. If I were a blank slate, what would I want to become? I think I have to give up a lot of comfort to slip into that new skin, but in the end, I think it will be for the better.

Oh, and I should also probably stay off the damn Internet. It's the sneakiest distraction there ever was. I'll come on when I need to, not because of my Skinner Box-esque need for notifications and updates.

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I guess this is day 3. Funny how it feels like it's been longer.

I ended up doing something that I'd thought of for a long time, but never got around to. I went ahead and created rules for myself, a document I can read every morning or anytime I'm bored/having cravings. I'll probably change it over time, because I suspect I've forgotten some things.

Rules for Myself:

Beer is a weekend activity. Seriously, look at your gut. If it’s not gone yet, no day-drinking. If it’s gone, no day-drinking. Exceptions include special occasions and social events.

That thing you’re thinking about doing right now that you know you shouldn’t do? Don’t do it. If you don’t think you’re addicted to something, try quitting it.

Are you bored? You’ve got things you can do. Make sure all the dishes are clean. Clear off your workspace. Write something (anything, even if it’s only for five minutes). Go for a run. Work out. If you’ve done all these things, congratulations. Read a book if you haven’t already today and if you have, fine, you can reward yourself with a little TV/movie time.

Don’t get caught up in your self-improvement stuff when you’re around your fiancee. Give time to her. You’re happier together and you can’t deny it, even if the TV distracts you from reading.

Avoid new hobbies. You have a tendency to pretend you’re doing work when you pick up new hobbies. Learning to draw, learning to code. You even got wrapped up in volunteering for websites that amounted to damn near nothing. You’ve got two things you’re really good at: writing and playing guitar. Do one of them to pass the time if you must.

Sometimes being on the Internet feels productive. But really, you end up surfing a lot. Idly looking at Facebook and Reddit (you don’t even like Reddit) or catching up on a bunch of Youtube videos. Anytime you open your laptop or turn on your computer, you need to have a goal in mind, and it can’t just be to distract yourself.

And now, a short list of shit to do if you’re bored:

  • Write

  • Read

  • Run

  • Work Out

  • Play Guitar

  • Clean Dishes

  • Laundry (clean and/or fold)

  • Vacuum

  • Clean Workspace

  • Plan D&D Campaign? (Are we even still doing that?)

  • Organize Something

  • Check on Bills

  • Walk the Dog


Change is painful.

The burn means it’s working.


Other than that, today's already been a weird day. Woke up with indigestion. Took some Pepto Bismol (cherry flavored - who the hell likes cherry flavored?) and went back to bed. Woke up with my shoulder hurting and my leg starting to cramp up. Plus it's snowing now, and I've got work training to go to today. I've skipped too many to justify skipping another. Hoping the boss sends us a message cancelling it because of the sudden heavy snow.


Already been reading this morning. Once I wake up a little more I'll grab a shower and then go write for a bit. Hoping to combat all the negativity with a good writing day at the very least. Just sucks that I took so much time off from this project that I kinda forgot where I was going with it in the next part. I'll figure it out in time, I'm sure. As I've said before, it's easier to edit something than nothing.

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Hey, Cam, I've been trying. Mainly just doing it when I have a few minutes. Like a break at work, or when my girlfriend goes to move her car.

So today... Pissed off, tired, annoyed, etc. I'm at work currently, and I already have two applications up on my computer.

Mostly, I'm tired of being taken advantage of. The city doesn't want to give us benefits so they won't let us work more than 29 hours a week. For the high schoolers, that's fine. But I'm currently out of college and I have an apartment and bills and groceries and so on. Plus I'm a supervisor down here in the aquatics division, but I and the other head guard don't count as managers. So no full-time hours, no benefits, no overtime.

Plus, if we go over 29 hours, they make us write our hours on a separate sheet so that they can relocate the excess to a different week. That's illegal. It's called time card fraud and I don't like being complicit in it. My girlfriend knows someone to report it to and she's considering saying something to him. He used to be a supreme court clerk so he knows his way around the law. If I were made a manager, I would take my job more seriously as well. The biggest issue is that it's not necessarily my boss or even her boss. I'm pretty sure it's either the city council or the mayor.

I think I read recently the opinion that you should do something that scares you. Don't just stay with something because it's comfortable. I've been a lifeguard for over a decade, so I think I qualify as sticking with it out of comfort. Anyway, it's driven me to download these applications. One of them is to be a bartender, something I always thought could be fun.

My girlfriend got a job at a restaurant a couple months ago, actually, and she sometimes makes in one day what I make in a paycheck for two weeks. I was offered the same job she got but turned it down for three reasons: The distance, the location, and I was scared.

I'm not going to go apply at that same place. There's something nearby that I want to go for, and their website seems pretty inviting to new employees. My truck doesn't handle snow well, so having something close by will be nice. If I get it, of course.

I know this whole thing has nothing to do with game quitting. Rather, it's just one of the other changes I've wanted to make for a while. I'm not quite miserable where I am. I'm just stuck.


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I know this whole thing has nothing to do with game quitting. Rather, it's just one of the other changes I've wanted to make for a while. I'm not quite miserable where I am. I'm just stuck.

I recently had the thought that at a certain point, it's not about game-quitting. It's about life-starting. You start to actually live your real life! And it's great. 

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Ah damn, that sounds really unfortunate! :(
 I hope something gets done to the guy whose doing the seperate hour sheet, glad you got a bud on your side to straighten things out atleast. :)

If you were offered another chance at the same job, would you take it? Just interested to see if your opinion had changed from the last time you made the decision. And you're right about being stuck, somehow I find the feeling more comfortable then being competitve all the time heh.

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If you were offered another chance at the same job, would you take it? Just interested to see if your opinion had changed from the last time you made the decision. 

Honestly, no. And not because I'm scared, but because of the other two reasons. It really is a pain in the ass of a drive, going into downtown Cleveland, often having to deal with rush hour traffic. Plus, that area makes me really uncomfortable in general.

Also, since my girlfriend has been working there, she told me I probably wouldn't have liked it. The servers get up on the tables and dance along to the music depending on what's playing. It's more of a restaurant than a bar, and I kinda like the bar atmosphere better.

For a much more minor reason, we also don't want to work together anymore. We met at work, and only recently have we stopped being coworkers (after over a year of dating). Not that we don't enjoy working together. We just like to have our own domains, and neither of us likes to feel obligated to cover for the other one at work when one of us can't come in.

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Almost got everything back to zero today. It's as close as it's going to get for now. I did the dishes, folded the laundry, made the bed, and cleaned the bathroom. Now all I want to do is have a beer and read a book.

I should probably go fill out this application first. But I just remembered my phone contract expires tomorrow and I don't have a new phone yet. So I don't have a phone number to give them. Work is really getting to me now. The past month has been rife with miscommunication, lack of communication at all, spats between supervisors that I'm in the middle of (against my will), totally inconsistent policies, corrections, and punishments, and absolutely nothing to improve anything. I'd call it a sinking ship, but it's staying stubbornly afloat, and just getting shittier by the day.

So, beer and a book it is. I finished a book today, too. Now I'm two books into my 42 book challenge this year. The number 42 chosen because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been on my shelf for well over a year now and I've yet to get around to it.

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Almost got everything back to zero today. It's as close as it's going to get for now. I did the dishes, folded the laundry, made the bed, and cleaned the bathroom. Now all I want to do is have a beer and read a book.

Well done! Enjoy your rewards! What are you reading?

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Almost got everything back to zero today. It's as close as it's going to get for now. I did the dishes, folded the laundry, made the bed, and cleaned the bathroom. Now all I want to do is have a beer and read a book.

Well done! Enjoy your rewards! What are you reading?

Yesterday I finished Silence of the Lambs. I mainly read it because of a book called The Story Grid, which is an in-depth analysis of what makes a good book work. The guy's main examples came from SotL which he totally analyzed and made charts for. So after reading The Story Grid, I figured I should read SotL and then go back to SG again afterward.

Today I'm reading Star Wars: Before the Awakening. Mainly because I read some things about direct ties from it being in the new movie. It's short, so I'll probably have it finished today.

Oh, I should mention another series I've been listening to on audiobook. The series is called Magic 2.0, and it's one of the best audiobook experiences I've ever had. Found it on Audible. The first is called Off to be the Wizard. It's about a guy who discovers that life is a computer program and after getting in trouble for messing with the program, he escapes to the middle ages to pretend he's a wizard, only to discover that he's not the first to discover the file that controls life itself.

It's absolutely hilarious. I listen to it when I clean and work out, and it actually gets me in the mood to keep doing those things just so I can keep listening. The narrator, Luke Daniels, is amazing at doing a broad range of voices, from a geeky 20-something guy, to a grandiose wizard, to even some convincing female voices.

Seriously, check it out if you like listening to things while you work (or you want to try it).

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So this is the second time today I've been home from the hospital.

My fiance was having severe stomach pain last night, so around 2 in the morning I took her to the ER. I'm actually really glad it's less than a five minute drive.

At first I thought we'd only be there a few hours. What do I know, though? I don't go to the doctor for anything less than a broken bone (and I've never broken a bone). By 7 in the morning, they were telling us they were going to observe her for 23 hours.

I was supposed to work 9 to 3, and I asked someone to help cover me at least for the morning. Ended up getting out of my whole shift. I brought my fiance some things and made sure she was comfortable and came home to rest. So I've only had about 3 hours of sleep today. If even that.

I went back and we watched some Hulu and Netflix, her on the bed and me fucking my back up in a crappy chair. They still don't know what's wrong with her. I could tell even the surgeon was perplexed by her scans, mainly because of some extensive surgeries she had when she was 13.

Now I'm home, and I just want to relax. I'm going back to the hospital around 7 or 8 tomorrow. Hopefully she'll be able to leave then. I mean, if the pain goes away, she should be able to leave. Just hoping this isn't going to turn out to be something really serious. They've already talked about doing an endoscopy on her stomach. Time will tell.

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Tom, Cam, thanks for your support. We've been back from the hospital since about 3PM yesterday. She's at work now. I admit that I have trouble deciding whether I should feel more guilty that I wanted to leave the hospital because I was there for so long in an upright chair (and hence couldn't sleep) or upset that when I did try to leave to get some (I think well deserved) rest, she started crying, which made me feel like shit, so I stayed a while longer.

On the one hand, I know that she was stuck there, and that sucked for her. She needed my support. I understand that.

On the other hand, she had a bed. She said the bed was uncomfortable, but at least it was a freaking bed. And she was in and out of sleep a lot, which was ultimately why I left after one of her morphine doses. I told her I was leaving, don't worry, and she understood. I considered asking if I could pull the other bed closer so I could sleep next to her and we could watch Netflix or something, but I decided not to for two reasons. First, if someone had come in and needed the bed, we would have had to rearrange everything; second, my dog had only gone out once, and had been home alone the rest of the time.

In fact, I found myself surprisingly calm when I came home and found that the dog had chewed up boxes from Panera. Not that I ever really get angry at her. It's our fault, usually, and I know how to train dogs. You don't hurt them when they do something wrong, nor do you rub their nose in it. They don't understand the stimulus-response correlation of "got into the trash" > "got hit." Instead, they understand it as "master came home" > "got hit."

This has been an off-topic PSA about why you shouldn't hit your dog. Fucker.

(The "fucker" part is thrown in for people who abuse animals. Seriously, fuck you.)

But really, it's not off-topic from why I came here to post. I used to have some real anger issues. They're mostly linked to anxiety I think, but whatever it is, I can get scary sometimes and I regret every lapse. No, I've never hit anyone outside of sparring with friends and that one time that I *ahem* overindulged at a party. But I do get angry, and I hit things

Yet as I was sitting here, upset with myself for all of today's lapses (gaming, porn, getting tipsy by three), I envisioned as much as felt myself balling my fist and slamming it into the mini-fridge next to me. I didn't do it. It's not the only time I've felt such urges and held them back. One of the first times the impulse had come to me when I was fifteen I punched a hole in the drywall. Didn't help that it was the day some people were coming to look at the home for some reason. I was lucky that my mom and her boyfriend were able to just cover it with a picture.

Since then, I haven't punched any holes in any walls, but I have hurt myself. Punching cinderblocks was probably the dumbest of them, since those scars lasted a good long while, and it was embarrassing whenever anyone asked where I'd cut my knuckles. Sort of a "last straw" was when I'd come home from the bar (after, I assume, an upsetting night - I really don't remember) and I slammed my head against a wall a few times. I ended up lying on the floor crying. My dog curled up next to me. Shit I'm getting teary just thinking about that night, even though I don't remember anything about it. That was when I truly understand the bond between Man and Man's Best Friend. The only thing I really remember is that I was feeling particularly suicidal that night, and Melody was the reason those thoughts stopped cold.

Actually, I just remembered I've written about this experience before and, correction, I did punch one other wall-hole.

The point is, I've learned to control my anger for the most part. There was something in particular that got me to throw my computer and punch the headboard once (the headboard and laptop (which I'm writing on right now) were fine; my knuckles on the other hand...) but other than that, I can contain my anger. I used to think that because I was such an anxiety case that I needed to not bottle things. I needed to deal with things as they came along. As things came to bug me and I suppressed them, they went into a pressure-sealed bottle. And as that kept happening, whoever issued the final bit of pressure for the cap to blow off (let's be honest, the vast majority of the time it was my mom) ended up bearing all that rage all at once.

Like, whatever had ticked me off wouldn't even be that bad. I'd just go off on it, with the force of everything that had pissed me off from before making me even angrier and more irrational. So I decided to deal with things as they came. Not in an aggressive fashion. I just wanted to nip it in the bud, as they say. Stop it from becoming an issue. It was an effective strategy.

So, anger issues mostly resolved. To be honest, my fiance doesn't really make this situation any better or worse. It's a different kind of struggle now, because she gets upset when I mention that she left the fridge cracked or something, and it makes me wary of nipping things in the bud. May be something I should talk about with her directly. (I'm considering asking her to read this journal, just for insight.)

I realize this all seems kind of random, probably. I promise, I'm always getting to a point eventually.

And that point is... I don't understand why I can't transfer the same kind of self-control to other areas. Maybe the challenge itself is the reason. Maybe "I'm seven days into a ninety day reboot and fuck it I'ma go play a game and then start over again," is too easy a conclusion to reach. Same thing with pornfree. I got to four days before today. I'm usually impressed when I make it to day two. My record was 35. My second-best was 34.

Today was a waste. I finished a very short book and then killed time with a video game. Then it was onto the porn. Then I felt bad and decided to try to write. I was a little drunk though, which made me a little tired and unfocused, unusual from how it affects me, and I only ended up writing some short notes for upcoming parts of the story and just under 1,000 words of a chapter. I mean, it's not nothing, and the notes are certainly helpful, but I know I could have done so much more if I'd been truly up for it.

And that was why I wanted to punch my fridge. I've been home alone for nine hours now. I cleaned up a little bit, wrote 1,000 words and... what else? There's nothing else to show for it. That's an hour and a half of work right there. Where did the rest of the time go? Where has all my focus gone?

I need more self-control. That's the real answer. I still don't even know if I'm going to make gaming just a weekend thing or if I should go through with the 90 day reboot. I want to do the reboot for sure, but I also really want to beat this one game I'm about a third (if that) of the way through. It's sort of like my (hypothetical) last cigarette, though. I can say it's the last one and then I'm quitting, but then I always end up reconsidering for some reason or another. Mostly bullshit.

As for drinking... I don't have any problem with it, but I realize that I may be on a bad road. I used to think drinking was really stupid because I preferred the idea of being in total control of my mind at all times. Then I tried it and realized I didn't want to be in control all the time.

I still think that's a perfectly healthy idea, but I think it's gotten out of hand. It can't be as binary as abstinence and indulgence. There has to be a balance. I'm probably going to be looking for that balance for a while.

For now, I just want to rest and figure out what the hell I'm doing with my life. I used to have such a good system. I got things done in the morning and got to have fun in the evening. I need to bring that back, probably.

Okay, this is probably really long now. I'm out of cohesive thoughts anyway (which is good - it means everything's off my mind) so I'll just end it here. Thanks for reading.

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I swam today. It wasn't as bad as I was making it out to be. The fact that I can't listen to a book or anything while I'm in the water didn't really occur to me when I realized how much time was passing without me really noticing. I also took to heart something you mentioned, Cam. I decided that exercising was something I needed to do, so I did it. And I made sure I did it before the swim team came in so I couldn't embarrass myself. At least one of the other lifeguards said I have good form.

Anyway, hate to do this to you guys again, but I'm kinda off the bandwagon once more. I'll probably be off of here for the next month because I don't want to take away from the spirit of the challenge here. I dropped fifteen bucks on an MMO once again and I'd like to see the month out. It's not so bad really. I do this about once a year, and then the urge goes away after I've gotten it out of my system.

Plus, I have a pretty good plan now, I think. I'm working on spreadsheets for my budget and my daily goals. The everyday priority things have to be done before I can play. That is, I have to work out, write, and make sure the apartment is clean first. Any one of those not met, and I'd better run to get it done before I boot up the computer.

I'll be back, maybe sooner than later.

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Glad you are both home.

When it comes to wanting to beat that one game - if you want to beat it so bad, save it for after the reboot. Remember, the harder the reboot is to complete, the more validation it gives you that you must do it. 

This post reminded me of something - that I used to have a 'to-do' list of games in my head, games that I wanted to play. And when I play games, I usually like to beat them, or they feel unfinished.

It's so great to not have that anymore. I mean, I have it, it's just books now instead :D

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Glad you are both home.

When it comes to wanting to beat that one game - if you want to beat it so bad, save it for after the reboot. Remember, the harder the reboot is to complete, the more validation it gives you that you must do it. 

This post reminded me of something - that I used to have a 'to-do' list of games in my head, games that I wanted to play. And when I play games, I usually like to beat them, or they feel unfinished.

It's so great to not have that anymore. I mean, I have it, it's just books now instead :D

I used to have a bucket list of games. They were the games on my shelf or in my Steam Library that I just had to beat to feel satisfied. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that there may be a reason I haven't beaten them: I just wasn't that enthusiastic about them. I wanted to beat them because I wanted to beat them, not because I wanted to have fun. That was the issue. When I came to terms with that, I sold all of the games I had hard copies of and made $300.

But (and I'm not trying to lure anyone away from GQ here) sometimes a game can have a satisfying story that makes me want to play to experience the story. That's what's happening with this game now, and it's getting to the point where there's one aspect of the story I want to get through and then I'll be happy. Whether it takes until the end of the week or the end of the month, I'll be happy so long as I've got that off my mind, since it's a continuation of a story I played long ago. It's coming along pretty quickly, so I'm sure I'll be back in full-swing, soon. Then I think I may change all my passwords to something random and email them to my fiancee so I won't be tempted for a while.

Also, there have been books that I've had the same "must finish" drive as well. I've learned to quit the books I wasn't getting much out of haha.

Whether you're playing or not, you're always welcome here. This endeavor is about much more than just playing (or not) playing video games.

I appreciate the support Cam.

I actually did have something on my mind, something I've struggled with for a long time. Which comes first: success or happiness?

Some people will tell you that as long as you're happy, you'll achieve success. Others say you have to work hard and be successful before you can be truly happy. But this kind of comes off as a "you have to spend money to make money" statement. The difference is, you can't ask for a loan on happiness or success.

I get that it all starts in the mind. You have to be positive and work through the worst parts, because the challenge is just part of it. But damn is it hard to really come to terms with this.

Not that I'm unhappy. Not generally anyway. Just with certain areas of my life. And as much as I can say those areas of my life are holding me back, I know it's just an excuse.

There are a couple areas of my life I still have control of, though, so maybe I have to start there. Then I need to be more proactive about the other areas.

I feel like this was supposed to be a more complete thought but to be honest I'm really tired. Just remembered I've been up since four in the morning. That'll do it.

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Today begins at least a brief, involuntary period of not gaming.

My dad asked me to house-sit for him for the next week, so that's where I am right now. He's got a dog that needs to be looked after while he's out of town. At first I'd thought about just offering to bring his dog to my place, but I have a small apartment and that dog is freaking huge. Plus, having to walk him on a leash does not sound fun. So I brought my own dog over to his house where there's a fenced-in yard.

I'm trying to use this as an opportunity to write and read a little more. Maybe I'll get back into that mode again while I'm here. I don't have my desktop or game consoles, so my only options are mobile games and online flash games. I still have that end-of-February deadline for draft II of my novel, so I definitely need to get back to that.

I read a bit already, but now I'm tired. Probably because I went to bed at 2 AM and got up around 8. May just take a nap and then pull out my writing stuff.

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So being here at my dad's place is kinda like being on a writer's retreat. Only writer's retreats are largely bullshit from my understanding. Sure, you get to hang around with other writers and you all have times when you write and there's writing group sessions and you can talk about your writing with other people and that's all good, but it's really just an expensive way to force yourself to sit down in the chair and write. You can do that anyway, for free.

But I totally get the appeal, don't get me wrong there. Back when my fiancee had the potential of getting a job where we'd be living in a cabin in the woods of Oregon, I fantasized about how I could sit there in the woods with my dog and a cup of coffee writing away. Pulling a Thoreau, as it were, except with electricity. I constantly think about the idea that if I were to just be forced somewhere without games and without a fast Internet connection, I'd get a lot more done.

In other words, I kinda want someone to come along and take all my distractions from me.

But that doesn't exactly convey a sense of responsibility. That's putting the hard part on someone else's shoulders. It's me who has to be responsible and I can only be accountable to myself there.

Still, the fact I don't have my PC or game consoles here has actually helped a lot. I read some this morning, watched a little Youtube, then decided it was time to write. I pulled up my notes and decided not to stop until I was done with the chapter I was working on. I didn't pay attention to how long it took, but I wrote 1700 words and the chapter's done. And the next chapter is one I've been looking forward to writing. Although past experience reminds me that I need to be careful with this chapter... since I tend to fuck up chapters I'm excited to write. They always seem cool in my head and then don't work right on paper. Still, I think I have a good plan for this next bit, which I may or may not write today.

And I also created a spreadsheet not unlike the one I made for NaNoWriMo for this project. My deadline is February 29 with an additional 40,000 words written (including today's writing). So, the way it comes out on the spreadsheet, I only have to write about 1,000 words a day. It's helpful to be able to see just how doable this is.

However, today was an easy day. It was a day off, and I'm at my dad's place, which is pretty easy to keep clean. I had no other obligations whatsoever. Tomorrow I'm working 9-5, which is going to be the greater challenge. I'll have to push through nevertheless.

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I actually did have something on my mind, something I've struggled with for a long time. Which comes first: success or happiness?

I don't think it's one or the other. What I try to do is define what success means to me, and instead of having one definition for my life I try to adapt it on a more micro level. I talk about that here. Happiness is just a matter of perspective and focusing on gratitude. So I think this has more to do with being intentional with what these words mean to you. And also, that many people think motivation comes before action, when action is what creates motivation. It's counterintuitive but true. I think both success and happiness are intermingled and have an impact on each other. So I spend my energy on being intentional and on what I'm focused on. It's easier for me to manage.

But I'm also very aware if I'm not happy, and I dig into that to uncover why. There's a lot of gold in that.


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