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Gaming the System 006 - James' First 30 Days As a Digital Nomad in Thailand!

Hitaru

Captain Taru's Log: 20000 Withdrawals above the Sea

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THINGS:

- This morning someone was pretty rude with me in a very hypocritical way. Previously I would have been really angry and victimised. In this case I was so sure of myself even arguing with them would have been stepping low. I simply shrugged it off with half-contained contempt. I could almost breath in the arrogant superiority I was exuding. It's not the ideal, but at least is the current best alternative to be a little frightened man-child. I could say I'm reaching my 'natural' state of self-steem (first years of life self-esteem, the way I and my family remember it). Then I'll have to polish my repressed tendency in the right direction, not to avoid conflict as I've been so far but to benefit from the absence (or calculated presence) of it, if that makes sense. In my own terms.

- Existentialism and death anxiety are hitting me pretty hard lately. Yesterday I was feeling depressed as I haven't been in a really long time, and pulled off for the first time the most-clichéd-old-man-antic-ever: Listen music while drinking some wine alone, late in the night. It was surprisingly therapeutic, despite the feeling of somehow being making some inner joke to myself and how getting older and more physically similar to my father is turning the idea of drinking alcohol increasingly unpleasant. I may just have to accept it and embrace my future alcoholism enjoy being destined to be a clichéd old man.

- I finished my first translating job AND got paid for it! I almost died in the process but learnt some very, very useful skills and tricks, both about the trade and soft skills. IF I can learn to manage myself and my time like a real adult, I will be able to get things done. Real things. In the real world. Sounds obvious right? But I was a video game addict and 'worthless' shut-in not even one thousand days ago.

By the way, today is day 665 without games Steam. Don't cheat, there was a relapse. 

But given how things have changed, it now looks like it was a whole life ago. It now looks that it's not even about crossing out days in a calendar. I could go and play games as well as I could go to sleep or watch series or porn or simply laze around in order to not face life.

Games are just an aspect of it, but how many people is actually doing this? How, in doing something I believed was putting me 'on par' with the rest like getting out, have friends, study, work, could I completely miss the point that the mindset I'm making the effort to develop along with the habits is extra-ordinary? I AM living my life to an aceptable level of fullest-ness right now, all considered. Who actually does that? I'm so used to roam this (overwhelmingly online rather than physical) atmosphere of people who are challenging themselves that in my usual self-deprecation it even began to look familiar and unimpressive. This is not either normal nor the standard. Not even taking into account that the statistical standard is being a chinese or indian slave. Working is the standard, but what is it like: the job (dis)satisfaction, the ditched ambitions, talents and goals? Being in a relationship for the inertia of it is still the standard, even more so being divorced. Being mortgaged is the 'civilised' standard. Feeling angry, defeated and bitter is the standard. 

It's a psychological barrier. No one had paid me for anything before. I will remember this sensation. The previous desolation of feeling useless. How fast the realization of being just a normal being with individual skills, marketable skills (as every other) settled. How despite being fed up with the whole process (on an internal level, the client was blissfully friendly), I can't help to look at the future with an endless, childish and I guess passionate ambition. They say you begin your life full of dreams and learn to settle with time. That this -mid-twenties, ideally after college or first work or any other adult world experiences- should be the first stop in the journey, the first reassessment of 'maturity'. How strange, unironically, that I'm finding myself with not greater dreams, but greater conviction that they can be done. People say so many things.

Or maybe I am "extraordinary" in the sense of being pathologically unable to settle for the standard I was shown. Stubborn like that.

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Lots of small victories and day-to-day happenings that I haven't been able to put together in a whole, comprehensive piece of text. The good: I'm learning, learning, learning, lots of useful shit like I wouldn't believe, exactly what I wanted even if I'm sometimes sorely lacking some empathy from the people expected to provide it, the organizers. (thankfully the relation with the mates is perfect). The better: Tomorrow Today I'm taking a week and half break to travel around Italy with my boyfriend. The bad: Time management is becoming a never-ending nightmare. The more I do, the more I want to do, the less I feel finished in the end. It just can't be. The worse: Existentialism still running wild, causing great amounts of stress (and distress). Tonight and today I'm sick partly because of it. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. Feeling a bit better, thankfully.

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I'm back, just in time for the official publication of the WHO with gaming disorder in it!

I feel full of energy and ready to make some real noise about this stuff. It's our time, folks! Been writing for two days straight and the amount of work is really frightening, but I'm trying to focus on small bits; so far it's working and got everything covered.

Travel was unspeakably blissful. No nonsense. My relationship is about to enter a longer distance than before and that may or may not be a game-breaker. But the rest is simply perfect. Everything has been talked, confidence in each other and our mutual feelings is unbreakable, and we've reached a misterious state in which I feel as if he was there all my life, and would remain in it no matter what or when: a deeply comforting feeling of absolute rapport. If we break up because of this distance, for sure it would hurt, a lot. But I'm confident about the future, and most of all, I feel at peace in any and every case. If only everything else felt that easy and natural. This way of talking about it seems to me a bit broken, but I'm still shy about being open and "simple-worded" with my feelings. Sorry about that.

Again I've entered in a phase of not participating that much in the forums, seems to be cyclical. I'll try to get over it soon and take it back into my usual activities. It's really meaningful for me.

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WHO gaming disorder publication is our success! We're getting heard and recognized, it's really pleasing to see that.

Don't really bother about distance breaking up your relationship. I've been in same situation where distance rose, but when it came back to normal all this showed to me that this bond is really strong. I know that relationship requires presence, but if it can't survive distance, what about tougher situations?

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(Friday?) entry:

Having a clearer idea (and emotion) about what I want to do made everything easier, but there's still a lot to improve from within. Usual problem (time management), but better attitude to face it.

I'm reaching a point in which I can see when others are having a tough time for the same reasons as me, and this has allowed me to "demystify" other people. 

Here's my reasoning: Since I can't see the inner turmoil of others, what I see appears to me as the optimal version of their current selves. Everything they say and do makes sense as a whole somehow, because I can't fathom what it 'could be' or better, what 'it could have been' (what they think and feel) from their perspective, but only observe, assume and react to what it 'is' (what happens in the end). 

But do I feel I'm at my optimal current self in the same way I feel it for others? Certainly not. That's the root of insecurity. I'm biased to feel I'm doing worse than everyone else in any and every case, since I'm pretty much aware in my head of what 'it could be' (or what I'd like it to be) and I act as if others could see it as well. After listening more to others and working on myself I'm starting to get past this. I still have my moments tho. 

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Saturday + Sunday extra notes:

Two tasks in mind:

1. Record myself. There's been (a lot of) times when I had some insightful reflection but wasn't able to write it, or forgot everything while trying to squeeze it into words. I need to throw away prejudices against listening to my own voice and settle for practicality. Focus on what works. 

2. Review the whole journal. It will be an horrendously long and tiresome task, but I can't help to think about how I have started to repeat myself. I need to make a summary every single goal I wrote anytime, make a list and start doing. And delete everything bad I've ever said about my mother. Even if I thought/felt it in the past and regardless if I had good reason or not (spoiler: mostly not) I don't want others to ever call on me for this. Everyone loses their temper with their loved ones sometimes, why mine have to be public? Makes me look a way worse person that I actually am, in all honesty. AND it would hurt her to read it and there's absolutely no need. 

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I've been having a tough time lately and escaping more into mindless browsing, so the day has finally arrived. I've started to put boundaries to my devices usage. It worries me it will impact my commitment with all the stuff I want to do, but I know it's an excuse. By the rule of 80/20, I could work 4 hours a day divided in periods of 2 and 2 and still be a lot of time in the computer (and get most of the shit done). I know I can. I just need to put my heart into it.

Today I cooked and it didn't go as expected. I took the responsibility of feeding 10 people way too personally and got really pissed. I'm still not used to handle these sudden bursts of anger and frustration, but somehow I'm glad they happen. It means I care.

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On 7/3/2018 at 3:00 PM, Hitaru said:

Today I cooked and it didn't go as expected. I took the responsibility of feeding 10 people way too personally and got really pissed. I'm still not used to handle these sudden bursts of anger and frustration, but somehow I'm glad they happen. It means I care.

So much this.
I absolutely adore the idea of seeing frustration as proof of caring and growth.
Thanks for the perspective.

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After a workshop week in Rome with international mates doing similar projects as mine in which we could exchange ideas and experiences, I've begun to stand little by little for what I believe is the best course of action instead of saying "Well, whatever". It feels great to think you're taking care of things and that you care. Not so much seeing the disappointment in the faces of others when they disagree with you and that's it, there's nothing much to do about it. But that's life, right? It doesn't feel well, but I have to go through it. Otherwise I'll live full of insecurity and regret. Who am I trying to fool? When I truly care about something and there's not a specific authority to either follow or decide to reject, when I have the window to choose, I sometimes have a clear idea of what I want and how, and when that happens I can be really obstinate about it. I just need to make sure I always try to be the gentlest as possible when elaborating it, but then, if that's how I think no one's at fault for that. Let that be my first lesson for my professional life. Always cool but clear. Nothing wrong in having convictions. And I'm the kind of person who can have convictions about how rocks should fall one on top of the other.

Actually, why have I been ignoring it so much and so hard? The fear of conflict was really strong. I didn't want to be considered an asshole. But I've known people who I would call assholes that simply have a very clear idea of what they want and don't want and oh boy, they don't give a single damn if they feel they need to make it understood in the most expressive way possible. So again, it's about my mindset. 

I don't want to upset people. I sometimes disagree with people I truly love or respect. But if I don't say it, if I don't stand for myself, I will live feeling it's their fault. 

I need to accept this truth about myself: "Thank goodness, what I want is most of the time aligned with the greater good, because I have both an altruistic and selfish desire to help others (doing good for the sake of good and then ideally be recognized for it). It's perfectly convenient". And so, there's no need to ever feel bad to express what I believe. It wouldn't be bad or evil even if I just desired to do whatever the fuck I wanted and be left alone. Every life, as long as doesn't harm others, is legit to be lived in the way it's lived. So my way is no more and less as any other. So now I must go there and say it. "I don't feel this is right. I feel this is the proper way. This is bullshit. This I like it and that's it, period". Come on, me. I can do it.

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It's happening. Every time I do something to the point I'm satisfied with it, I do it at the expense of becoming very ill-tempered, complaining and bossying everyone around me. I've been saying for 3 years (at least here) this was a family trait I didn't want to develop, so kudos to me for actually knowing myself.

Now as a reminder for myself: I need to learn to stay calm. Stay. Calm. Things can get done anyway. Just let them flow (into completion). People can be absurd at times, or not behave as expected, but stay calm anyway. The best way to respect your process is respecting theirs. Seek the agreement.

And all those buddhist things. But really, I need to chill. These 3 first months were about learning. Now I can begin to learn how do things in a merry, polite way. Of course it's hard. It may seem pointless at times. But it's important. For me and for others. Makes all the difference.

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2 years since I used Steam for the last time!

 

Or in other words, since I commited to quit videogames seriously. A giga-post would be in order, don't ya think! My entries in this journal have become less frequent and myself a little bit scattered all over the place, but that doesn't mean I'm still not here, or things are not happening, or I've stopped learning. Actually I feel a little bad for not being able to organize my thoughts so I can come back to them or give advice to others. But they are in my head somehow. Probably I feel like this because it's a process that has not settled yet, and I'll be ready in a future time. Maybe I'll never feel ready and just do my best to understand what is going on with my life/journey at every moment. So hard to grasp man. No complains tho.

Overall: I'm happy. I enjoy the little things more. Just being able to enjoy that I'm here, alive. My little, kid self would say: "That's "adult" thinking. You're resigning yourself to die", and sometimes bothers me. But it's not like he offered a better alternative. Actually I'm not falling for the adult meme yet. I feel my age now. Doing things my age. Being social. Choosing to the best of my ability and empathy how, when, why do things. Don't smoke anything and barely drink with 23, so I don't think I'll be starting seriously anytime soon. And I don't feel more adult or boring for that; if anything, I feel more myself. So probably I'm probably doing this me thing the right way. The example is silly but it talks about the way I'm feeling it.

If anything, I have FOMO about what will become of me when I start studying. I want to take it very, very seriously. I don't want to miss out being a normal youth now that I've started to get the hang of it, or get isolated in a library for the next five years at least. I know I can't go back in time, I know that until I don't feel I'm at the same level I won't see the others as equals or my time as right, and for that I need (and want) to study, for emotional and cultural reasons. And perhaps because I have my bit of ego and learning without being called "laureate", or "doctor" would cut half of the fun. That's also part of me and hell if I care. Took my time to gladly accept it. 

Italian project is coming to an end in two months, one of them holiday, that will pass flying. I have plans for then. If anything, the eternal doubt is which one launch first. But having clear-ish options gives me confidence. I can do this. Even if it's hard.

I'll update again soon with other things I want to share. See you!

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It has been a while.

 

I'll be short now, since I expect to update at lenght at some point in the near future (my eternal struggle, is it not). There goes:

Since the last entry and this one it has been almost 10 months, which is an incredible amount of time considering this journal has a current lifespan of 3 and a half years.

 

I have bad news, and good news.

 

Bad news is, since I wrote that last entry, my emotional state plummeted. The last months of the exchange in Italy were really fun and I did a fair amount of traveling, but the daily life was steadily deteriorating. Habits, people, routines. Routines are the fucking deal in the recovery process, it doesn't matter if you have 2000+ days of not playing games if you don't have consistent routines. I keep downplaying that and it keeps coming back to bite me in the balls.

This eventually led to a hard relapse. I didn't play when I was in Italy, but I was dragging myself through the days and it had to collapse at some point. After I arrived home, I felt alone and directionless. My partner began a year long exchange in Romania a couple of days before my arrival and I still had to figure out what I would be doing for a living, what to do with my education and specially, coming to terms with my two great and conflicting life passions: Politics/Public service and dressing weirdly coming to terms with my non-binary gender identity. Yeah, I know. More of that at another time, I suppose.

Spoiler

One of my stupidest fears is, we had another veteran user who struggled with her gender (as far as I'm aware of), if you've been here for long enough you may know who I am referring to, and probably remember why she's not with us anymore. Call me an idiot but I was afraid to talk about this here and make some eyebrows rise in disbelief or suspicion.

Then, the good news.

After what felt like an eternity of relapsing, I was able to drop it again, began therapy (with a middle-aged woman, how about that for foreshadowing) and recently applied to University.

The process goes like this: In Spain, if you turn 25 (or in my case still 24 since I'll have them the same year the exam took place) and you don't have a high-school degree, you can go to a "free" exam to "rejoin" the system. There is a special quota for this kind of people so I'm not in the same boat as the freshly graduated high-schoolers. My possible score goes from 0-10 and I'm competing with other applicants of this exam.

Well I took the damn thing and got a 6 after a lot of struggle. Considering the demand of my desired career (Political Sciences) and the fact that in any case even if I couldn't find a spot I still can study at the public distance learning university, without requirements, at any point in time, this means I'm officially discharged from my status as high-school dropout.

This is a huge psychological milestone for me. Sure, university is an industrially-designed, late capitalist complex for directed thought and consumerist elitism. But it is also my opportunity to pursue higher learning, have access to a lot of cool shit, meet a lot of people and have a life experience that, half because of social expectations and half because ego, I was craving and missing in my life. I don't even know if I'll finish a whole degree in the end or not. I just needed to stop feeling like a failure, like a wrecked train left behind at an old, abandoned soviet mining village.

After the initial euphoria, or rather, deep relief, I'm currently feeling overwhelmed by everything I've been putting aside and neglecting not only these months, but these eight years of my life as well. My relationship with myself, my loved ones, this community, hopes and dreams... the usual stuff. In any case, first things first, I'm considering how to make a glorious comeback to you amazing people who had my back all this time, in the most efficient (at least anxiety cost efficient) way possible. No promises until I do the thing. I just have to organize myself and do it. I'm on it.

 

Now, the less light-hearted thoughts. You know, this shit is going to keep happening every time. It was great when I finished the 90 days, until it wasn't anymore. It was great when I was abroad, until it wasn't anymore. It will be great when I begin to go to uni, until it won't anymore. Then, what? A relapse again? Dropping out again?

Every time I do something relevant or fun, eventually I'm going to feel burnout and relapse, isolate myself, go through a low period. And if I expect to do something with my life, something worthwhile, I can't let this cycle to keep dominating my life. I will enter Uni, crack under the pressure and screw things up shortly after IF I don't get serious no; if I don't make peace with myself and handle things differently.

I need a level of consistency that I can manage. The 5 year old me was terrified about the whole idea of "toning down the expectations until I become a soulless ''adult'". 'Adult' was a word full of meaning. It meant death. Either real death (children didn't die, at least no one near me did) or metaphorical (living death, crushed under responsibility, chores and emotional self-sabotage). I'm currently facing this in my therapy and my new life of probably employable young adult (I was this before for the better or worse, I just had to believe it). I'm afraid it will be a lifelong process, but everyone has their own demons, right? I'm looking forward to achieve more victories, and to bring them here for gregarious, jolly merriment. To celebrate!

I owe everything to this community, I haven't forgot about you guys. Thank you for your support during this journey. Expect more journey coming your way.

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I'll be traveling for the next month (meeting with bf plus staying at a friend's place, pretty awesome) and I hope it will give me much needed perspective for the challenges ahead. I'll try to update from time to time.

Things are getting pretty real from this point on. Or rather, I feel a quiet recognition of myself feeling it's time to make them so. It had to happen. Kind of wish it happened 10 years ago, but I guess I must remind myself that it's not like I'm actually racing anyone. It's just me against life. Someday I hope to feel it's me and life, or me in life and make everything much less confrontational. It's best for my emotional stability. Baby steps, isn't it.

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Would I still want to help the community if I was completely anonymous and never, ever be praised or recognized for it?

 

This is the question I should always keep in mind to keep my ego from hurting. And not just this community; my calling is "to help", but my need for validation and recognition keeps getting in the way, making me feel overwhelmed and eventually stuck. I should give up any expectation to be recognized for whatever I do in my life, mentally prepare for an eternity in the dark, but welcome any good vibe or thankfulness when, or if they arrive. That's how I guess I could handle a life in politics as well. 

It has its context, this reflection. Lately I've been browsing Twitter and its toxic atmosphere is getting to me. I can't help to think there are really very few people in the "work to change things for real" camp. Complaining and trolling has even crystallized in the form of journalism and is now another lobby. On the other trench, the people who will try to hurt me on a personal level if I ever dare to really question their views. Feels lonely man. 

- That is, if I really do have something interesting and useful to say or share with the world, and I'm not just making it up in a lame attempt to cover up that I'm just a loser former gifted kid with no actual talent or utility whatsoever.

 

Gotta try at least, since the alternative is holing up at moms house and play video games until I'm old and burst from regret.

 

Trip is going great, but the heat is unbearable. And I have only the cellphone with me, so my connection with the virtual world is limited. I could however fill applications to several universities all around Spain, therefore the most important task is done. I could meet with my bf, spent quality time together and that made wonders to my emotional state in general.

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