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90-Day Detox – Aiming to Update Daily


Parkreiner
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I touched on some of this in my introductory post, but here's my basic plan for the next year:

Work on completing the entire course at FreeCodeCamp so that I can become qualified for an entry-level web developer job. While I'm doing that, I'll start learning graphic design, drawing, and voice acting on the side (I want to do theater, too, but I'm broke), and become involved with the best communities for them that I can find. I'll also try to rekindle friendships I've neglected, and try to leave the house more often, even if it's just to go for a walk. If I can find a job, I'll then work to start becoming more independent.

Now, for day 1 itself:

Day 1

I started the day by getting before 6 in the morning. I then jogged for about 30 minutes, and then started learning graphic design, which at this point, just means watching a bunch of tutorials. I also started getting into the exercises at DrawABox, though I only read the basic introduction. Then came my first obstacle at around 10 AM: I started procrastinating on working through the FreeCodeCamp courses, even dreading them. Here's the thing: I'm not a complete newcomer to web technology, but I tried about a month ago, and basically lost motivation because so much of the material from a separate book, Eloquent JavaScript, seemed beyond me. There came a point where I just felt like I had hit a brick wall on learning, and while I was making incremental progress, I was only at chapter 7 of 19. I felt pretty stupid back then for not getting fundamental stuff, which I guess was strong enough to give me anxiety now that I'm returning to it. This is where I'd start playing games to unwind myself, but since I'm abstaining from them for 90 days, I have to find new coping tricks. It didn't go so well, and the anxiety got to the point that I just became incredibly tired (it didn't help that I didn't get much sleep the night before), and needed to take a nap.

When I woke up, I didn't do much else to further my goals, but I did start doing other things that I've neglected, like scheduling a much-needed doctor appointment and working through the backlog of tabs I've kept on my phone for months (before today, I was floating between 35–40). I'm still not done, since most are long-form articles, but what I think I might do is put most of my goals on hold for a few days, taking that time to do all the things I've been neglecting for weeks/months. The goals are already a source of anxiety; I don't need any more on top of that.

I'm going to be going to bed soon, aiming to get up around the same time again, so I can make a habit of exercising. I swear I'll start becoming more active in other parts of GameQuitters soon, though.

Edited by Parkreiner
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Good start mate! That is a big step.

I bookmarked FreeCodeCamp, that looks like an interesting site that I would like to come back to! I wasn't aware anxiety makes you really tired though, reflecting over the last year it would probably explain why I wanted to sleep so much during the day but seemed fine when it came to the late afternoon. One thing I got from my therapist was don't fight the anxiety feelings, because it just makes it worse. You need to start focusing on why you have got to that point, which will essentially give you the solutions on how to calm down and move forward. Take notes or make a worksheet to help you reflect if you think it would be useful.

As for your tabs, why not try emailing them to yourself? They're probably killing your battery life. If you email them to yourself they will stay nice and bold that will remind you that you would like to go back and read them. If you run an empty inbox like many productivity guru's recommend, it will give you motivation to read them as well, or at least ask yourself, is this worth my time or is there a reason I keep putting off looking at them?

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Day 2

Got up early and jogged again. I don't know if it's the exercise so much as getting up consistently, but I already noticed that I wasn't as tired today, and while I did go through some periods of low-energy, I didn't feel the need to lie down. I also tried cooking a poached egg for the first time, which went decently. I think I overcooked it and didn't season it right, but it still tasted alright – enough so that I think I'm going to try making another tomorrow. Other than that, I just worked on cleaning up the things I've been neglecting. I got through most of the tabs on my phone, with only the ridiculously long articles left, and I started learning more in the subjects I'm interested in, though I could be doing more. All in all, there's a lot more I could've done today, but I'm working up to doing what needs to be done. I'm going to wake up early and exercise again tomorrow, and try to increase the load just a little bit more.

But one thing I did start thinking about today was success in pretty much everything. That was kind of spurred by two things.

  1. One was an episode of the Voice Acting Road Map podcast I listened to today, in which J. Michael Collins, someone who's been a voice actor for several decades, talked about all the new people flooding into the industry. He said that people always complain about the industry being over-saturated, and in fact, there are more than a million involved in some kind of voice work in the US alone, but he said that it's not really a problem. The reason why is because it's not over-saturated among the people who are truly skilled and driven. When you disqualify people based on their poor recording quality and/or poor acting, there's only a few thousand who are good enough to book work consistently, and that number gets smaller once you start looking at individual cities. Granted, if you get to that point, you're also competing against people like Collins, but my main takeaway was that there will almost always be room for the truly driven to thrive. If you actually work hard, and put in the hours, and treat what you do (whatever it is) as a craft and with respect, then you can carve out some kind of niche. It's just a matter of being driven and not settling for "good enough".
  2. The second is this article I found on Reddit about the so-called "music school bubble." I really don't agree with some of the points the author dives into near the end of the article, but he describes an interesting sort of person through most of it. The kind of person who was privileged/lucky enough not to work and focus on their passions/studies with all their free time, often with some of the best instructors in the city. The author mentions going to grad school after completing one of the only undergrad programs he could afford, and feeling completely out-classed, because the entire program was full of those aspiring maestros. Yet, after dropping out almost instantly, he's the only one who, a few years later, is booking consistent work and making a living playing music. The rest are either doing who knows what or keeping the industry going by becoming teachers themselves.

    And the thing is, as one of my former teachers says, most people who goes straight into teaching doesn't really know what they're teaching. They haven't had the chance to test-fly what they've learned and apply it to the real world. They haven't had the chance to make mistakes or figure out things the books didn't teach. They're basically regurgitating a syllabus, which can't be very satisfying or challenging. They have no real ownership over the knowledge in their head.

And that brings me to the point of success. One, I can see myself in the people whom the writer describes. My parents aren't rich and never have been, but they've always been incredibly supportive of me and have tried to help me as best they could. Just because I passed up those opportunities to play video games doesn't mean that I wasn't incredibly lucky, or that I'm not still lucky right now. I've had a luxury few have had, but even if I were to capitalize on it more back then, it might not have mattered. Because as Rory Vaden says, "Success is never owned; it is only rented – and the rent is due every day." There are so many people who passed through school and did extraordinarily well – people who, on the surface, could be considered conventionally successful – but who are wasting away with no greater ambitions.

These days, everything you could ever want to know is available because someone was generous enough to create resources online. I'm not going to pretend that the playing field is even for everyone, nor do I think it'll come close within my lifetime, but it's the most level it's ever been. There are alternative paths to getting what you want – alternative paths to what were once hallmarks of success. I'm absolutely for learning, but no one really has to go a quarter of a million dollars into debt anymore. At the very worst, you could just get the textbooks the classes cite, and find/make a community of people to study with. It  also doesn't matter how much you're able to work towards your aspirations day-to-day, so long as you do something every day. 

I know I rambled, but working towards one's dreams never really stops. You shouldn't want it to stop. It doesn't matter what luxuries and privileges you had; if you don't keep working towards something, your entire life is going to atrophy.

One thing I got from my therapist was don't fight the anxiety feelings, because it just makes it worse. You need to start focusing on why you have got to that point, which will essentially give you the solutions on how to calm down and move forward. Take notes or make a worksheet to help you reflect if you think it would be useful.

I think I already know where a lot of it came from – it was just a feeling of being overwhelmed by having such a backlog of things to do, on top of trying to make life-altering changes. I have a bad habit of constantly second-guessing whether a choice I'm making is actually the right one, before I've even started it, but the reality is that even if it isn't perfect, it'll likely put me at a better place than where I am now. I do agree that there's a lot to learn from emotions, good or bad, but in this case, I'm pretty sure I know what was bothering me so much.

 

As for your tabs, why not try emailing them to yourself? They're probably killing your battery life. If you email them to yourself they will stay nice and bold that will remind you that you would like to go back and read them. If you run an empty inbox like many productivity guru's recommend, it will give you motivation to read them as well, or at least ask yourself, is this worth my time or is there a reason I keep putting off looking at them?

Yeah, I'm sure I really messed with my battery a lot over the past few months, but luckily, they're almost all cleared. The thing is, most of the tabs were genuinely interesting and taught me at least something, but having games just be a tap away on my phone always gave me something to do instead. I do have a problem with my email, though almost all of it's newsletters I accidentally signed up for. There are very few things I'd need to save, but I could delete almost all of it without needing to read it.

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Mate you're crushing it already. If you combine your self awareness with your willingness to apply tools to improve your life means you're months if not years ahead of many others.

I have tempted to go back to gaming while on the move because sometimes that is dead time, but I am worried I will fall into that trap that you mentioned - games are just one tap away. Sometimes it is really good just to do nothing too and watch the world go by.

I like your success rent quote. Very very true.

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Day 3

Didn't go too well today. I'm still working to get my backlog of things I've been sitting on, and am making progress, but the worst thing today was that I didn't wake up early, nor did I exercise. I definitely noticed that took a toll on my energy, so I'm going to be extra sure to go to sleep early tonight (which is why this entry will be short). I've been thinking about things lately, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow.

However, I did come dangerously close to playing games today, and depending on how you look at things, I already did. I downloaded the demo that just came out for a series I really enjoy, just to check out the voice acting for it, since for the first time, it allows you to make your own characters, complete with 40 voice options. I didn't actually get to the point where you can start playing the game, so I'm not going to count this as breaking the detox, but if I play another game for any reason, even if it's not to actually play it, I'm starting over.

Still, I don't think it'll be as hard. I noticed myself slipping into old habits even for those few minutes, and it felt like I was taking a step back. As in, I didn't feel guilt from not failing to do something I feel I shouldn't, but a feeling that I could be using this time better elsewhere. It's like stuffing your face with McDonald's. The food's passable in the moment, but you can just feel it taking its toll each second it's in your system.

Still need to get involved with other parts of the community, but I'll try to get to that on the weekend at the latest.

If you combine your self awareness with your willingness to apply tools to improve your life means you're months if not years ahead of many others.

Yeah, I mean, that's kind of the problem. It's not like this self-awareness just came to me the moment I swore off games. I just never acted on it, which, in a way, feels worse than not having it at all.

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Such a good analogy with McDonalds, I never thought of that one, but it is so true. Tastes great, but about 5 minutes after you've finished, the regret kicks in and you start feeling like garbage.

Have you tried exercising at lunch time instead? I really struggle in the mornings to the point that is not worth it, but I use my lunch break to work out and it helps overcome the struggles people generally have in the afternoon (the 2pm yawns etc). Depends on whether your schedule allows it I guess.

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Day 4

So, at this point, I'm gotten through almost all the tabs I've been sitting on (only 5 left), and I honestly think it was worth reading through all them, and "not just cutting my losses". Granted, I recognized way back when (some of the tabs were over half a year old) that they'd be interesting, but I especially found the long-form journalism pieces to be especially worth it, like these on how the Department of Energy has been mishandled beginning of the Trump administration and this recount of what it was like for one family to grow up secretly keeping a slave in modern-day America. They might not be immediately-applicable to my life or ambitions, but they were incredibly interesting, and I think my worldview's richer for getting through them. Other than that, I overdid it with the exercising, since I jogged for about an hour and a half today. Didn't feel too bad in the moment, but it basically left me feeling incredibly tired throughout the day, so I didn't get much done. Assuming I'm not completely sore all over tomorrow morning, I'm going to exercise again, but dial it way back.

---

As for what I was thinking about yesterday, I was thinking about Louie Zong, a certain artist I've loved for a while and who's the same age as me, and Paul Warren, who went to the same high school that I did, but was two years younger. Zong is interesting: he went to Tufts University, majoring in civil engineering and minoring in studio art, all while seemingly having good enough grades to get a full ride scholarship, if not something close to it. Post-graduation, he's basically been taking the California art scene by storm, becoming a high-profile storyboard artist and musician. So, he's not only book smart, but also incredibly skilled in a lot of creative pursuits. Paul's interesting, too: sophomores in high school didn't get superlatives, so he didn't get any recognition while I was there, but I can guarantee you he got "Most likely to succeed" when he was in his senior year. While in high school, he spearheaded one of the student projects that would be aboard the final NASA launch (and I'm pretty sure he did most of the work), and then went on to Stanford University, where he presumably did well, but then last year, he decided to put his education on hold.

I don't know what it is about me, but I really don't get envious too often. Whenever I see someone doing better than myself, I always see it as something I should aspire to be. But depending on the day, that might mean either getting motivated to try much harder or getting sulky and wondering what I've been doing with my life until now. It's a crapshoot, but generally, I can recognize someone else successes and even celebrate them. I'm not really envious of either of them, but I am comparing my achievements (or lack thereof) to theirs.

But what makes Paul especially relevant to Game Quitters is this blog post I discovered from him a few months ago, where he reflects on his life up until the point he decided to leave Stanford. For some context, I'm almost certain that Paul's family is rich, so he's had opportunities that most people wouldn't even be able to afford (I remember him talking about his dad giving him $10K in cash to use on the stock market one birthday), but unless he's leaving out some significant details, almost all his successes (even though he would decide that he wasn't satisfied with their general direction later on) come down to one decision he made just before he started high school. In fourth grade, he discovered RuneScape, and all his previous interests and pursuits fell far to the wayside. Nothing mattered because he had another world to become engrossed in, with skills to master. He would eventually need to strike a deal such that he could only have unlimited game time if he got straight A's, but overall, middle school flew by for him quickly, with plenty of time for him to play games.

Then, the day before he would start ninth grade, his father made him a proposal: either treat high school as an extension of middle school, or treat high school as the new thing to be gamed. It would mean the difference between slacking in school and extracurricular activities and becoming the top dog in all of them, and a huge difference in how his college applications would be received. Paul chose the latter option, and from what I can tell, he kept to it religiously for all four years. He was even responsible for getting the board of education to start weighing engineering classes the same as Advanced Placement classes on report cards, so that students would no longer need to choose between the two, which is something I went through. As he described himself, in the eleventh grade, he was "busy, social, motivated, productive, and happy." And what's more interesting, the moment he had submitted his applications – the things he was working towards the entire time – he went back to games and books, because his grades and work wouldn't matter after that. But curiously, he now just views it as a lot of time spent doing nothing, as he didn't enjoy the games, nor does he really remember the books he read.

I don't want to cover too much more from the blog post, as he he summarizes his life better than I ever could, but at Stanford, he would actually end up helming other space projects, often at the expense of his grades. He managed to create an institution from the ground up – one with the stability and foundation to continue after he was gone –  which he devoted his entire life to for his first too years, but then he had a mid-college crisis. After backpacking through Europe for six weeks, he started to second-guess all that he was doing and had done, as this was when he started having a huge difference in mindset.

His entire life until that point was ruled by one schema: weighing all the options that seemed possible/feasible and choosing the one he liked most. But while backpacking, he did it in reverse: he considered all the things he wanted to do, and chose the one that seemed most possible/feasible. That one change filters and frames your options very differently: it's the difference between dreams and pragmatism. With the first way, you're limiting yourself to what seems practical in the moment, and finding what you gravitate to most (which, depending on circumstances, could what you like most or what you hate least). With the second, you're dreaming big, and choosing the dream that seems most doable at the time. There's still some compromise involved, but you have much more ownership of your decisions. And oftentimes, there's a lot of things you can do at a given moment, but few that you actually want to do.

Even though our life trajectories are drastically different, we're similar in that we want to get a good understanding of what we want in this world. In his case, he's identified a hunger and is working towards it. In mine, I'm trying to identify exactly what that hunger is, because while I can't articulate it yet, it gives me pangs from time to time.

There's no point in dwelling on the past, but I do wonder what I'd be had I been given a similar choice as Paul just before I started high school. My generation in my family is the first to go to college at all, with four of my cousins in Texas, and me and my brother in Maryland. One cousin floundered between different majors, dropped out, and jumped around between jobs before becoming an accountant. One completed an English degree, but didn't know what to do with it until she found a job doing technical writing, and another dropped in and out of college constantly, but seems to finally be working towards an English degree, though I don't know what she plans to do with it. My last cousin is still pretty young, but has gotten into drugs and is just working minimum-wage jobs. For my immediate family, my brother just graduated and is looking for any kind of job to afford his fashion cravings, and I'm just here. Out of the six of us, I don't think any of us have any clear direction, and it's not like any of us did especially well in school, though I don't doubt that we could have.

I don't begrudge my parents at all, but I think it's clear that they didn't really know what they were doing. So while they were willing to support me, they were also counting on me to figure out a general plan by myself. I think that was a huge problem, because I really didn't know what I was doing. I lacked experience, perspective, diligence, and drive that maybe could have been put me in an entirely different spot. Maybe I could have gotten that with stricter parenting or just finding someone to learn from. But, of course, me, constantly playing games, just became a recluse and didn't interact with anybody outside of school. I had "friends" – people I liked, but barely even knew. We were brought together by circumstance (being in the same classroom), but I didn't take the time or a chance to get to know them better outside that. For the longest time, I didn't even realize it was a choice, which also explains how clueless I was for the longest time about sex and relationships that were going on the entire time. My parents were a little too understanding, a little too coddling, and are those things even now, but what's done is done. My decisions and failings are mine alone. I can't pass the buck here.

When people say "things happen for a reason", I think that's partly a way of rationalizing a mistake, to feel less bad about it, but it also reminds me of this scene from the game Virtue's Last Reward (https://youtu.be/vyQaEB87DKE?t=5m31s; the clip I want to focus on goes from 5:31 to 8:51). It's a clip from the very end of the game, but it goes into what happens when something terrible or regrettable enters your life. Things went poorly, but life keeps going on. Maybe your life will continue to trend poorly, but rarely will anyone's be full of misery – it'll be full of emotions, because it's a genuine journey. So, while your direction might be irrecoverably changed, while opportunities might be gone for good, going back in time to erase the mistake will erase the good things that came of it, too. I wish I didn't play so many video games, that I had taken that time to learn new and different things, but I'm not going to vilify games to the point that I can't see the good things that came from it. I owe all of my current interests and passions to games, so even if I part ways with gaming for good, its mark on me will linger for the rest of my life.

I started high school around this time ten years ago. I'm not on equal footing with Louie (who also clearly worked hard) or Paul, despite the three of us being of similar ages. In a way, I have a bit of a handicap, because I'm not just trying to plot a course when they've already done some of that, but I'm also trying to combat the effects of my decisions during those ten years. I don't exactly feel regret (though I do feel some guilt), but I know that I can't keep going like this. It just isn't sustainable or rewarding. I know I have to be in this for the long haul, so I have to gauge my decisions over long periods of time, but I'm still not doing as much per day as I can and feel that I should. I'm just going to have to keep trying, and the only one who can honestly say whether I am or not is me.

---

Just for an example of things having huge ripple effects, I'll go back to December of 2008. This is when I discover and play Persona 4, which features some vocal performances (from actors who have basically become superstars but were relatively new to the LA area at the time) that were so good that it sparked a genuine interest in voice acting. Years later, this interest makes me interested in a series of videos called "How to Become an Online Voice Actor", by SoulBrothaNumbuh3. A year or two after that, the quality of the videos gets me to go back to them and check out the rest of the channel, which is how I discover its podcast, SoulBroRadio. And, as luck would have it, Cam was a guest about a month ago, which is how I learned about GameQuitters in the first place.

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(I want to do theater, too, but I'm broke)

All actors are broke, you go and do it :ph34r:

You speak wisdom sir. That was an amazing read.

Don't go too hard on yourself with the comparisons. People who start better off are expected to do more. And there's also passion involved, you may be smart, driven, rich, and your greatest ambition be selling T-shirts in the beach while sunbathing all day long. And who could say that's a waste of your life if you were happy? You set a goal for yourself and do that, and let the NASA guy and the artist do their gigs. Mindsets are things to look up to, learn from and imitate. Circumstances? Nah.

Same goes with your parents, I also suffered a heavy case of "Sudden life inspiration expectations", my mother would be willing to pay for studies and hobbies (for the most part) yet never gently encourage me (the opposite, actually). It sucks but... It passed. Same as games. It passed. We are here now, what is the next step working with what we do have?

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Sorry for not updating yesterday. Just kind of fell asleep early.

Day 5 – September 15, 2017

Didn't do too much. For some reason, I couldn't get to sleep the night before, despite trying to go to sleep on time, so I didn't wake up until 11-ish. My legs were much sorer after waking up, too, so I was in no shape to run/jog again. The only notable thing about Friday was that I went to the doctor to finally get a cyst that I've had on my head for over a decade removed. For the longest time, it was just tiny bump that I could've lived with for my entire life no problem, but it suddenly got a lot bigger about two years ago, causing me physical pain on and off, and I just never went through with taking care of it. I haven't had much pain, but it is keeping me from exercising as hard as I want to. For the next week or so, I'm basically going to have to walk.

Day 6 – September 16, 2017

I'm starting to realize that I'm doing something wrong. I didn't do much today, either, and I think that's why I got my first real craving for a video game. People always talk about cravings like hunger bubbling up because you're bored or anxious or compelled through habit, and I think all three apply to how I play games nowadays. But the problem is that I need to replace these behaviors with better courses of action. If I keep trawling places like Reddit, then that's not really much better. The site can definitely be used to learn new things or become active in communities related to your passions, but looking at dogs on r/rarepuppers is merely a distraction. I'm also noticing that I'm procrastinating on some of the things I set out to do this week, showing that I'm just falling back into old habits. I gave myself a week to do all this, and while I figured I wouldn't be able to do one of them, the majority of my goals still aren't finished. I'm just in a weird purgatorial state. I procrastinate because I realize I still have time before my self-imposed deadline is up, but I don't do anything meaningful with that time. It's like I'm practicing brinkmanship for its own sake, even when it doesn't make sense.

At the very least, I could have started learning the topics I put off so I could do these things, but I didn't. And that's making me wonder if this whole "take a week off to get through my backlog of stuff" deal wasn't itself a form of procrastination. It's kind of scary: procrastinating is one thing, but doing it while thinking you're accomplishing something is much worse. I think I can still complete all of the main ones by tomorrow night, but the question is, will I? I'm really good at putting things off, often past the point of being too late. I'm going to have to rethink my approach, trying to be more mindful of when I get the urge to wait for no good reason, so that I can better fight against it.

But as for the craving, it's interesting. It didn't seem so obvious in the moment, but I think I was trying to rationalize playing a game, in any way I could. I wasn't doing anything else, and it would only be for a few hours at most. So what's the harm in it? In a vacuum, not much at all, but that's why it's important to look at the big picture. Pretty much every negative habit can be thought of like that: what's the harm? A single cigarette is obviously bad, but its individual effects are small. If you were to smoke only one in your entire life, it wouldn't make a dent in your lifespan. Same for junk food: you're consuming more calories and likely more nutrients than you should in a day, but they won't leave that much of an impact. The real damage comes from making these things a habit. Then suddenly, all the little damages start accumulating and quickly. 50 extra calories per day amounts to over 5 extra pounds of body fat per year. A few hours of gaming suddenly costs you days, then weeks, then months, then years. This is how addiction persists.

Luckily, effort and positive contributions to your life compound in exactly the same way. Burning 200 calories per day burns 20 extra pounds per year. Spending 20 minutes per day learning how to draw amounts to over 120 hours in a year. Those are big changes that you you wouldn't have had you decided against it, either because you wanted to do something else, or because you thought it wasn't that much time. Consistency is key, yet building that consistency – creating those habits – is much easier said than done. I have a bad habit of dragging my feet for the things that matter most, but I'm going to have to learn how to bite the bullet soon.

Ultimately, I didn't play a game. It was tempting, since I ended up using something related to games to learn how to make color palettes, but I stopped myself. Something I've been thinking about is the value of delayed gratification. This is the first article I could find on the subject, since I originally read about this in the book called How We Decide, but one of the biggest predictors of future success lies in one's ability to delay gratification. I haven't been able to do that for years, which I imagine is how I got to this point. But I did it today by pushing back the urge to play games, and I'm going to try being more mindful, so I can delay the urge to procrastinate, even if it's for something I'm not enjoying that much. Delaying gratification for one little thing might not mean much by itself, but I'm hoping that a series of such choices can snowball into some big changes.

I've been messing up, but I can change things. I just have to follow through. Oh, and I saw the Netflix Death Note movie. It's real bad.

Don't go too hard on yourself with the comparisons. People who start better off are expected to do more. And there's also passion involved, you may be smart, driven, rich, and your greatest ambition be selling T-shirts in the beach while sunbathing all day long. And who could say that's a waste of your life if you were happy? You set a goal for yourself and do that, and let the NASA guy and the artist do their gigs. Mindsets are things to look up to, learn from and imitate. Circumstances? Nah.

I wasn't focusing on the circumstances so much as thinking that chances are, we weren't that different right at the start of ninth grade. Sure, his family might've been better off than mine, but I don't think that would have too much of an effect on my ability to learn or cultivate self-motivation. The thought didn't even occur to me, and neither did even thinking about the future. I hadn't even considered college until I took a mock SAT test near the end of my sophomore year, and even then, I wasn't thinking about the bigger picture of my grades until the start of senior year. It's not something worth dwelling over, but it is something worth bearing in mind. I now have the context and experience so that if I ever have kids, I would at least want them to be aware of their options.

Edited by Parkreiner
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Day 7 – September 17, 2017

Screwed up again, but I'm not giving up. Like I said yesterday, I feel like this past week has been nothing but a way for me to procrastinate guilt-free. So, for this upcoming week, I'm going to start incorporating the learning into my daily schedule, while still working on the things I didn't do this week. I really didn't need to set so much time aside for this, so I'm just going to try to be more efficient with my time and try to psyche myself out less when it comes to intimidating subjects.

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Day 7 – September 17, 2017

Screwed up again, but I'm not giving up. Like I said yesterday, I feel like this past week has been nothing but a way for me to procrastinate guilt-free. So, for this upcoming week, I'm going to start incorporating the learning into my daily schedule, while still working on the things I didn't do this week. I really didn't need to set so much time aside for this, so I'm just going to try to be more efficient with my time and try to psyche myself out less when it comes to intimidating subjects.

Start small and chip away. That's always helped me. Few ideas to help might be in this one:

 

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Day 8 – September 18, 2017

Again, didn't do much, despite going on about needing to be more mindful of when I get the urge to procrastinate, and I ended up drinking a few cans of soda, which I almost never do. This is something I've noticed time and again, no matter what it deals with: I always get hit with the motivation/resolve to do something, go through all the pains of making a plan for how I can get it done, but shortly afterwards (usually in a matter of days), I bounce back hard, ending up where I started or worse. There's something going on, and I need to figure out what, because otherwise, I feel less than positive that I can make meaningful changes to my life.

 

Day 9 – September 19, 2017, Part 1

Probably going to be doing two submissions today, because I need time this morning to sort out my thoughts on something. This morning, I happened to wake up early (I haven't been waking up as early following the head surgery, even though it would still be good to get in the habit on days off), and I heard my mom and younger brother talking about me. I only happened to come within earshot mid-conversation, but they were basically talking about how much of a failure I am. And I can't disagree with a single thing they said. Their problems were basically:

  1. That I was lazy – considering how little I've tried to job hunt between my only two jobs (which I only started getting in late 2015, despite being out of school for two years at that point), they're right. And to be honest, this whole agreement I made with them to start learning through Free Code Camp started as a way for them to get off my back about applying to places. At some point I had given up, even though they kept asking, and I always just said that I had no luck and probably wouldn't have any for the rest of the summer, considering most of the jobs would have to have been filled before then.
  2. That I was irritating – Again, completely true. I spend +90% of my time in the house, with the vast majority of that spent either in my room or in the basement on the computer. I don't talk with my parents too much, either, so my brother's basically my only in-person social outlet most days. That leads me to asking stupid questions and trying to start conversations about things he doesn't care about. And even then, I still might keep trying to push the topic, I guess because I need someone to talk to. We have a neighbor down the street, and while she and my mom get along well enough, my whole family gets annoyed because she keeps calling the house to talk about every little thing that comes to her mind. It makes sense, but I didn't even consider that I'm basically that for my brother.
  3. That I'm palpably awkward – I wasn't exactly a social butterfly growing up, but I'm pretty sure that becoming such a recluse has regressed my social skills even further. I'm like this with pretty much everyone, too. I kind of just hover around conversations, never really taking part in them. At this point, I'm not even sure how bad it's going to be once I start trying to rebuild my social life. And honestly, I can't help but wonder if I'm just on the spectrum, because that's genuinely the only way I can explain how I can become a shut-in for over four years, especially during the ages of 19–23, which is when I should've been out the most.
  4. I overthink things to the point that I can't even do the most basic things correctly – I found this most recently when I went through driving school for the first time earlier this year. All of the questions were ridiculously easy, but because I either jumped the gun on answering the first answer that came to mind or overthought the question, I hardly ever got a perfect score. I'm pretty sure that this is what cost me my job at a Safeway Starbucks (when I went to work at the Safeway grocery store, I somehow got a position running the Starbucks stand, but because I kept screwing up, over and over again, I was eventually moved to the bakery, and then to the front of the store as a courtesy clerk. I don't look down on any of the positions, especially considering what goes into the jobs relative to the pay, but I got there because I couldn't even function at the most basic level. This also comes up when I'm actually driving.
  5. I don't have a job – Ties into the laziness thing.
  6. I can't drive – I've basically been sitting on getting my driver's license for a year and a half now, and if I don't get it by April 2018, I'll have to reapply for a learner's permit
  7. I always have to have an excuse for everything, even when I clearly almost never have a good reason – This is a problem I've had for the longest time. Despite being deeply incompetent all my life, I have always hated admitting fault or being exposed as incompetent. I'm always trying to deflect the criticism or make things seem less bad. Again, though, this is something I've allowed to rule my life since I was a kid, going to to the times I photocopied my report cards to hide my mistakes. And the thing is, because my excuses almost never have any basis, I always sound either more incompetent or like I need to be committed to an insane asylum.
  8. I'm dead in the water the moment my mom or dad die – This is a problem that all members of my family have to some extent, but if either of my parents were to die right now, at least someone would be screwed. In my case, I still rely on my mom to do a lot of the most basic things, and if my dad were to die, I'd pretty much lose all financial security. I don't have the skills to keep going if either of those things happen, and if I don't develop my skills now, I'm as good as dead. Maybe I'll be able to keep myself for a few more years, but the writing will be on the wall.
  9. No girl in her right might would want to touch me – And I wouldn't blame her, either. I...
    1. Am overweight
    2. Have next to no friends and don't spend time with the few I think I could people I could rekindle a friendship with
    3. Have spent years with absolutely zero ambition,
    4. Can barely get through everyday life
    5. Constantly make excuses that stunt my growth, have no skills
    6. Waste all my time on things that don't actually matter
    7. Try way too card to seem cool and/or funny
    8. Have a fragile ego
    9. Have zero diligence
    10. Am self-absorbed and narcissistic
    11. Daydream about being able to release my pent-up anger and spite (even when the other person clearly doesn't deserve it)
    12. Make exceptions to routines all the time (I might not run one day because I wasn't feeling it)
    13. Constantly lie to cover for myself
    14. Am spineless
    15. Am manipulative
    16. Wait for opportunities to just fall in my lap, and even then, I might not take them.
    17. Have very little to offer other people
    18. Act like a know-it-all (tying into the fragile ego thing)
    19. Zone out when other people are talking

The conversation didn't actually last that long, and I was able to get away without anybody noticing that I was eavesdropping, but while it makes me mad that both of them have been saying these things for years, not once coming to me to say what I need to fix, I can't disagree with a single thing they've said. If you look at point nine, I've basically created even more points against me than they could ever have.

This brings me to now. I'll be honest: this entire time, I've basically been doing this detox with the assumption that I would get back into games after it was over, albeit in a more healthy way. I think that's going to be off the table for a lot longer, if it ever becomes an option at all. I need help, and more specifically, I need to help myself. No longer is the detox a weird little experiment to see if I can last 90 days; it needs to become the foundation for my reinvention. Before, my thought process was "I can't play games". Now, it's "I need to abstain from games, possibly for the rest of my life." In another life, I'd be able to reintegrate games into my life no problem and be able to balance the two. But in this one, I'm not well-adjusted enough to pull that off.

Start small and chip away. That's always helped me. Few ideas to help might be in this one:

 

It's interesting, because I've basically had the same ideas and have even tried working more with a pomodoro schedule, but I didn't consider meditation. I guess it's because it feels like I'm constantly in my head anyway, but then again, it's hardly ever to reflect or recenter myself. I'll definitely give meditation a try, though. I also need to get around to reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I've basically been sitting on it for five years now, and apparently it goes into why attempts at removing or replacing habits usually buckle under times of stress or anxiety.

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The two themes that always seem to occur in every self-help/productivity/motivational speaker/book/blog/podcast @Parkreiner is - 1) meditation and 2) journalling. If all these entrepreneurs swear by those two steps at the beginning of every day regardless of the situation, then it must be effective and the "silver bullet" for getting in the right mindspace. I initially found it hard to get into meditation, probably similar to what you mentioned, but also because I tended to fall asleep because I don't allow myself to slow down that much usually, but if you set an alarm or timer or use a podcast to help you get started, you will find it beneficial. Now after some practice I can meditate several times during the day, even if it is only for a few minutes, to help me stay grounded. What usually spurs me to do it now is if I am faced with a difficult decision and/or feeling anxious, and meditation allows me to not only calm down but find what the root cause is. 

Journalling in the morning allows me to do a "mindsweep" of my problems, come up with a plan for the day, and attack it. 

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Parkreiner,

I read your last posts and there are a couple of things I would like to say.

a) There's a lot you don't like about yourself. That's fine, this is where you start. By clarifying these things and bringing them to light, you've already made a steady first step. We all, everyone in society, define ourselves, make us out to be a certain someone. In short, we are who we believe we are. Our beliefs about ourselves define us, quite literally. The problem is, that these beliefs often operate subconsciously, unbeknownst to us. Deep down we might think something of ourselves without even realizing, yet defining us and influencing our behaviours, resulting in dissonance and lack of integrity.

You've already made them conscious though. You know who you are, you're conscious of your own beliefs.

Even if these are negative, you're being open and honest with yourself. That's already more than a lot of people do. Let this self-honesty empower you. Hell, if you hate yourself, and you're honest about it, you can even let that empower you. Unconventional advice? I wouldn't be saying it if it hadn't rung true in my own life. At times, I've hated myself. But when it wasn't a subconscious hate, when the voice saying "I hate myself" rang loud and clear and matter-of-fact, the whole honesty and transparency of it really empowered me. Self-integrity, self-honesty, is the highest virtue. If you have full transparency with yourself, you're already ahead of the curve.

b) Most people just coast through life, a product of their background, completely unaware, without really any higher ambitions. If you're into this whole self-development thing, if you're thinking about how to improve yourself, or even transform yourself, and you're actively working at it, then you're already doing more than 90% of people in today's society. Give yourself props for that, and again, let it empower you.

c) Your family sounds very unsupportive and maybe even toxic. Your brother thinks youre irritating for trying to start conversations? Please. This sucks, I'm sorry. If your parents are willing to finance an apartment for you until you get a job, I highly suggest you speak to them about it. Changing environments and moving out would definetely be beneficial for you. You need to shake things up, and if your environment is unsupportive and beats you down (and links you to all sorts of past negative habits), you really need to get out there and start a new life. If that's financially possible.

Hope this helps and looking forward to hearing from you.

 

Edited by thehondasc00py
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Day 9 – September 19, 2017, Part 2

Day ended up going a lot better than I thought it would starting out. I finally committing myself to learning some of the subjects I've been sitting on, and I'm starting to make progress. At the very least, I've further along than I was yesterday. I woke up late, so I didn't managed to get to everything, but actually getting things done felt so good and rewarding that I think I'm going to have few problems doing it again tomorrow.

I considered confronting them about their conversation (not aggressively, though), but I decided against it. I'm just going to focus on improving myself until the results speak for themselves.

-Stuff-

c) Your family sounds very unsupportive and maybe even toxic. Your brother thinks youre irritating for trying to start conversations? Please. This sucks, I'm sorry. If your parents are willing to finance an apartment for you until you get a job, I highly suggest you speak to them about it. Changing environments and moving out would definetely be beneficial for you. You need to shake things up, and if your environment is unsupportive and beats you down (and links you to all sorts of past negative habits), you really need to get out there and start a new life. If that's financially possible.

That's really good advice. Unfortunately, I don't think renting out an apartment is going to work out. I already think my mom and brother don't have much faith in me, and while my dad's far more neutral, I feel like they'll be able to sway him however they want. Plus, I see all this as my problem. I've basically allotted nine months for me to complete the entirety of FreeCodeCamp and find a job using its support network afterwards. Given the cost of living in the area, renting an apartment would likely cost them a minimum of $7,200, and even then, I'm sure from their mind, they have little guarantee that I'd even be willing to pay it back or hold myself to my timeline.

My family's weird, though. The relationship's supportive on the surface, but we all have a bad habit of bottling up our feelings, which just leads to things like that or my mom yelling at our pets, or so many other "little' things. The kind of things that are probably really obvious to anybody visiting, but because I've grown up with this all my life, I'm just blind to most of it. Honestly, though, my brother's probably the most toxic member of the family. He's a total goon – completely abrasive and constantly cursing up a storm. He calls me "Dickhead" as a term of endearment. He also tries to do the same thing that he and my mom did today towards her with me, though I always try to back out of it. There are some things that annoy me about her, sure, but he does seem a little too gleeful about it at times. I'm trying to be understanding towards him, since he just turned 18 and actually tried committing suicide this past April (and the whole family was genuinely supportive while he was in the hospital), but honestly, I'd say he's the biggest damper on my self-esteem. I don't know how much of this is just because of the inner demons he's dealing with, though.

Still, moving out is definitely my first order of business once I have a job. Beyond being sick of just being in this house for most of the past four years, I'm just tired of my town. Even though there's a navy base right within walking distance, there's next to nothing outside it – not even a grocery store, which is why we always have to go to the next town over. The few times I've checked Facebook, I've seen old friends talk about how much of a difference getting out of my entire county, and while I'm not aiming to move as far as they have (the nearby cities actually have really good local communities for my goals and interests), I know I just need to move out some distance.

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Day 10, September 20, 2017

Continuing to do more. I'm making progress in FreeCodeCamp, figuring out how to put together a good recording set-up, and Harvard's intro to computer science course. I meant to do more graphic design and a little more coding on top of everything else, but I ended up not getting that much sleep and and then woke up early to exercise, so I had to crash halfway through the day. All in all, though, I'd say I put in about 6-ish hours of work. Still, I'm starting to understand the value of sleep. Before, it didn't really matter, because I didn't have anything to do during the day, but now that I have reason to pay attention, I can feel the effects of short-changing myself. I'm not going to make the same mistake tonight.

Other than that, though, I finally got around to taking care of my taxes. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is that I have a bad case of phone phobia – I've had it as long as I can remember, but I'm sure it's gotten worse in these past few years. What that means is that whenever I have to call a stranger on the phone, my heart starts beating much faster and I get a shortness of breath. It's so bad that I basically have to plan out what I'm going to say before I call. I never make a script or anything, because that would just sound super robotic and stilted, but I just try to organize a set of talking points. So, back in April, I did my taxes, but I must have messed up somewhere, because the filings got declined. Even though I got the amounts wrong, I knew that I didn't owe money (meaning no penalties for filing proper forms late), so I just kept putting talking to someone to fix things off for a month, and then two, and now five. I only got the state taxes situated today, but it took a while just to psyche myself up to make that phone call. I'm glad I did it, but I still have federal taxes to deal with. I'm hoping I'll be able to do that tomorrow, but I know I'm going to be uncomfortable throughout it. But it just has to be done.

Mate have you considered getting counseling? Having a trusted person to talk to face to face about your family, your progress etc could be really helpful too,if you can find one close to your town

I've had counseling on and off over the past few years, but the thing is, I somehow got to this point where my therapist and I got on this tangent years ago, and we've just been addressing that ever since, not really addressing the big things. And since she always ends up leading the conversation and goes off notes from the previous session, it just keeps going. It's helping me address genuine issues in my life, but all this time, we've just been dancing around the core problems. I considered just trying to make a fresh start by registering with a new therapist, but that's not really fair to my old one. It's not her fault I haven't been speaking up for myself. I think I'm going to schedule a new appointment soon, and just try to start from square one with her.

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Day 11 – September 21, 2017

Today didn't go exactly as planned, but I still managed to salvage it. I did get up and exercise at 6 in the morning, but I didn't get a real start on my day until about 9. Then the power went out, and by the time it had come back, I figured I might as well just spend the day learning, so I just forewent the taxes. I basically only did two things, practicing icon design and work for FreeCodeCamp, but I ended up taking more time than I thought I would on the icon design, and that was just for one that I don't really like that much. Still, that's to be expected when I'm new to it; I'll keep doing it whenever projects call for the skill. I also tried making a color scheme that came to me all of a sudden just as I was about to sleep last night, but I can't get the colors right just yet. I'm working with four colors, and there's always one that throws off the rest, which makes me change them all, and then there's another that's giving me trouble. It's oddly addicting, but it's also just another thing I'm going to have to practice, since I've barely done it. 

One thing I am noticing, though, is that by getting up every morning around the same time, days have suddenly started to feel a lot longer. Before, when I was just using games to procrastinate, it got scarily easy for me to lose track of entire days, and my sleep schedule was a total wreck. I would get up late in the afternoon, and before I knew it, it was 6 in the morning, I had done nothing with the day, and I just back to sleep, unfulfilled. I'm still messing up at some of the most basic things, but I feel that if I keep at them, I'll learn to deal.

I'm also going to try to use tomorrow morning to be a little more active in the community. I feel so guilty that so many people have been commenting on my posts, offering help, yet I haven't returned the gesture yet.

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Day 11 – September 21, 2017

One thing I am noticing, though, is that by getting up every morning around the same time, days have suddenly started to feel a lot longer. Before, when I was just using games to procrastinate, it got scarily easy for me to lose track of entire days, and my sleep schedule was a total wreck. I would get up late in the afternoon, and before I knew it, it was 6 in the morning, I had done nothing with the day, and I just back to sleep, unfulfilled. I'm still messing up at some of the most basic things, but I feel that if I keep at them, I'll learn to deal.

@Parkreiner I totally understand this! I find that by the time it's 10am it almost feels like it should be dinner time. I've just got that much done in the 4 hours I've been awake. I don't think you're messing up at all. As long as you're not playing games, you've won the day right? Incrementally that 1% improvement adds up big. If you're starting where you are (100% of your current you) and you improve by 1% every day, after a year you'll be 3778.34% of what you currently are. Although it's impossible to give yourself a total value, I find it inspiring to think about. Just focus on today's 1% today, and tomorrow's 1% tomorrow.

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Day 12 – September 23, 2017

Woke up early and exercised, per usual. Other than that, I did all the things I've been focusing on these past few days, namely programming and graphic design. I did start on my first project for Free Code Camp (I'd be there sooner if I weren't trying to learn multiple aspects of programming at once), which is to create a tribute webpage for someone or something we like. Since I've been trying to learn color palettes lately, I chose Josef Albers, who wrote one of the most widely-read books on color theory, Interaction of Color. In the fifty years since it was written, some people (mostly scientists) have poked holes in the things Albers said, but he got the majority of it right. I'm sure that plenty of other artists were aware of what the book covers to some extent (especially Isaac Newton, who invented the color wheel in the first place), but it's crazy that it took until relatively recent history to consolidate all that information – information covering something that almost everyone perceives – in one book.

But working on the project is making me think about a few things. The first is that even if a program or website or application is ugly as sin, the programming itself can be amazing. There are so many computer scientists who have no aesthetic sense – and for good reason, since I feel like the idea of graphic design literacy for developers is relatively new – but their work is often a lot better than that of a great designer who's only a decent coder. A graphic designer can come in and give it a new coat of paint, but turning mediocre code around is a lot more work. Very few of the other tribute pages I've looked at are lookers, but I'm starting to appreciate the other kind of work that can go into these project, and how hard it is to do it well. It's humbling to see how much there still is to learn, and even more so to know how long it'll take to get good at even a few of them.

The second ties back into something I mentioned in the first point. Most people don't know how to make things look pretty. That's not because they're inherently worse at it than others – I think anyone could get up to speed after reading a few resources – but it's interesting how different life priorities can equip us with different skills. I'm guessing most of the coding newbies I'm seeing never learned graphic design because it either didn't interest them or because they valued other things more. That's fine, but it does me wonder about what skills I'm missing that to others is second-nature. How different priorities back then could have opened new opportunities right now.

The last thing is something that I can tell is going to be a big hurdle in the near future, if not tomorrow. That would be my bad habit of trying to go above and beyond what a problem asks for, and then getting discouraged because it turned out to be overly ambitious for my skill level. The first project isn't that hard, and if I didn't care, I could probably knock the entire thing out in less than an hour, but I just had to add a bunch of new elements and tricks that are beyond what the lessons have covered. I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm going to have to be mindful of how I react to that this time. Before, I would just give up a lot of the time, because what I wanted turned out to take more than I can give, but I didn't want to settle for something that I wouldn't even like. This time, I'm going to try working through it. This time, the project isn't that overly-embellished, so I'm going to treat this as something to bring me out of my comfort zone. I already asked from help at other places, which is something I've never done before. Still, even if it proves to be too much, I'm going to rein in the scope until it's something I can do. If I'm not happy with it afterwards, I can always come back to it later and redesign it with a new set of eyes/even more skills.

Edited by Parkreiner
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Day 13 – September 23, 2017

Didn't do a whole lot, honestly. I slept it and didn't exercise, but I did spend almost the entire day reading things about graphic design and practicing it. I spent a few hours making an icon for a web project I'm working on. Turns out it wasn't good enough when I tried fielding it around, but that's how it goes sometimes. I did get some feedback on how I might be able to improve the existing design, but I don't know if it's just a dead end and not a great idea in the first place. It was interesting, because while I was looking at guides for how to choose typefaces, I saw so many parallels with voice acting. The guides I read stated the importance of an emotional destination – what a designer wants the audience to feel, that complements the rest of the content. To some point, it helps to read the content or at least be aware of what it's about. This notion can then inform a lot of the design decisions, but it's all dressing for a core message. That's basically what voice acting for commercials is – you're picking up context clues from the text about how to create a believable performance. Then you figure out the right read and set of acting tactics to lead the audience on an emotional journey, hopefully placing them at a destination that leads to them buying the product being advertised.

A little later, I don't know what got into me, but I had trouble sleeping that night and ended up listening to a few graphic design podcasts that I had downloaded. The first one is special, because it actually involves someone whom I've know about for years, but never talked to, because we went to the same college, but he had graduated before I even started. While I went there, we both had a few mutual friends who were still in school. Plus, he was pretty single-handedly informed the aesthetic of the student group I spent the most time with – he made the logo (which is still used, 6–7 years later).

But it was interesting to get some perspective on this person I've never spoken to, never even seen, but who just has this interesting life. By the end of the episode, (1) I left with  the impression that he's just a really cool and likable person and (2) I  felt affirmed in wanting to get into graphic design, specifically UI design. That's what I want my job to be in eventually, which is why I'm trying to develop skills adjacent to it that can still make me money until I can break in. My work is genuinely terrible. I have the potential to change that – to become incrementally less awful with practice – but I have to work hard to do that. I have to work really, really hard. It's not a given that I'll ever be good, even with every waking moment poured into getting better, but if I don't do anything, my awfulness is a guaranteed lifelong constant. I just have to be comfortable rolling the dice.

 

Day 14 – September 24, 2017

I'm starting to hit what Ira Glass of This American Life calls "The Gap". It's the idea that whenever anyone starts at something they've never done before, they're going to suck. Hard. What's more, that person probably has a good idea of what work in that field looks like. They have some semblance of taste. That's the gap: the gap between what you're capable of right now vs what others are, that you know you have the potential to produce but just can't. But that's okay, because with time and practice and dedication, you can bridge that gap, you can develop actual skill. I've been following design for years, but I haven't done that much work myself, so now that I'm really making an effort to make things, it feels like the gap's even more pronounced. Were someone to work consistently throughout the years I was just following design, they'd be really good. If that were me, I could be really good right now. But I didn't, and I'm not. It's just frustrating, because I can't even produce a good rough outline for what I want to do.

Like, say good design's like cooking and can be broken into three steps: gathering the ingredients (the ideas that can fuel the design, even they're disparate), figuring out the recipe (deciding how to unify these ideas into a single, simple concept), and cooking it (realizing the concept into a real-world design). I'm generally good at the first step, below average at the third, but abysmal at the second. I lack the skill to see the relationships between ideas and draw them from imagination, so even if I can feel there's something good in what I have, I can't make it come to anything. At least if my problems only were with the third step – mostly mechanical skill – I'd be able to come up with a decent concept for a design and just flub the execution. Right now, I don't even know what to do. It feels like I've got good input, but I have no idea how to even begin to turn that into output. It's just one big mystery, and I don't even know how to begin addressing my problems. I have nothing but drive but no direction, not even an inkling of one. At the very least, this is making me realize that if I don't develop the skills essential to drawing – being able to see and break things down to their core components – I'm going to be dead in the water sooner or later.

I just don't know. Part of me's just tempted to get Megg's History of Graphic Design (about 700 pages), and read through the thing, hoping to get some context for how graphic design is done a professional skill level. Otherwise, I can tell I'm just going to be flailing around.

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Good job with not gaming!

If I may, I'm not much of a design person but I read though The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman, and it really was a great book. I just thought I'd recommend it to you, there's a lot of free pdfs floating around.

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Day 14 – September 25

I didn't actually do that much that produced tangible work. My little brother recently got a job at a grocery store, but because they're so short-staffed, he's been working 6-day work weeks, 8 hours a day. He's always tired when he gets home (especially since this is his first job), so he hadn't been able to use my computer in nearly a week. I basically let him have it all day, and just spent the day reading, especially on things I want to get better at. It wasn't a total waste, but I feel like I could have used my day better, at least to practice something. The thing is, all the things I'm learning and working towards professionally are pretty dependent on a computer. I'm gonna figure out something to do during days like these. If nothing else, I guess I could spend the day drawing.

Though the time did give me time to reevaluate where I'm planning to go in the future. I already said that I'm interested in graphic design, drawing, and acting. I'd also love to learn a second language and get back into translation (I used to do translation editing for a friend, but I was always iffy about the accuracy of my changes, since I didn't know what the original text said). So, taking all that into account, I've basically got two possible career paths I want to go down, both of which are equally appealing right now: UI design for programs and applications, and voice acting. UI design's got the highest possible success rate, but if I somehow manage to get a decent living with voice work, I don't know what I'll choose. Right now, I feel that meeting the right person at the right time could easily sway me. But for hobbies, there's whatever I don't choose, drawing, theatre acting, cooking, and translation.

I fear that all that plus actually going out and, you know, maintaining relationships with people is just going to spread my time super thin. So, I'll just be trying to do too much, and won't be especially good at anything. That's not really a concern right now, since I've got my short-term career goals figured out, but once I have the money to transition to something else, I don't know what I'll choose. Still, it's funny how much of my interests can be traced back to one game, Persona 4. I've been going back to menus of Persona 5 on and off over the past 2 years,and I still find new things in them. Shame the English versions are so bad, since I'm pretty sure they were done by a different designer who wasn't working with the original one.

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I also got my real first gaming craving. Pretty much the only game I had been playing the past few months, was a complete mess when I left it. The latest expansion had just come out, which I had shelled $40 for a bunch of card packs on, and one class single-handedly defined the entire game. The balance was in a really bad place, but I found out that they released a balance patch a few days ago, and while the jury's out on the long-term effects, my absolute favorite class is finally #1 for the second time in the game's entire history. It was always at least decent if you knew what you were doing, but it's almost always been middle of the road, if not worse, for three years straight. I do want to see what the game's like, since things are so topsy-turvy now, but I've made a commitment. I know the 90 days will be taking me past the launch of the next expansion, so it's possible this may never happen again, but that's just the sacrifice I have to make. I can play a game for a few hours and have short-term satisfaction, or I can work towards building something much more long-term and enduring.

Day 15 – September 26

I haven't relapsed, but I feel like I hit a bit of a slump today. I don't know if I was just feeling off, but I didn't exercise until later in the morning (despite waking up and staying up on time) and couldn't really focus on the things I was working on. I also quickly looked at gaming news to see if anything major had happened since I had stopped looking at them for the detox, and while there was pretty much nothing, I did notice myself creeping into the old habit of just looking at news, refreshing things in the chance there would be something new. I do not want to go back to that, but I'm going to work harder tomorrow to make sure that today was just a fluke.

Good job with not gaming!

If I may, I'm not much of a design person but I read though The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman, and it really was a great book. I just thought I'd recommend it to you, there's a lot of free pdfs floating around.

I don't know if it has much to do with graphic design, just going off the description, but it definitely sounds interesting. Thanks for the rec.

EDIT: Oh, wait, I actually decided to look through the table of contents, and this looks perfect. I was already interested before, but I'll definitely be sure to read it ASAP now.

Edited by Parkreiner
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