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NEW VIDEO: I Replaced Gaming With Real Life (Nicco Transformation)

I don't want to settle anymore


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Hi everyone, 

Today was my last day of gaming for the 90 day detox. I'll start the blog tomorrow. I'm not procrastinating this anymore!

I started playing video games in 1979 or 1980 I think it was. That's when my cousins got the Atari 2600. My family got their own Atari in the Summer of 1981 with four games - Asteroids, Adventure, Super Breakout, and Combat. I had just started the fourth grade and I told my friend John we got an Atari. His eyes bugged out "you did??" and he was then over at my house after school every day to play. Fortunately we also started playing board games, Lego, Dungeons & Dragons, and other things as well. I'm grateful that he is still a good friend and we're both really into the board game hobby today. 

I was never athletic and I felt like I struggled socially. I am very extroverted though. I wasn't bullied, just harassed some for having really thick glasses, braces, and acne. I was labeled as a nerd by some. I was fine with that because I was absolutely terrified of anyone finding out I was gay. I had very little self confidence. 

My family didn't have a computer at home. I had planned on getting one after graduating high school but never got around to it since I started working part time. I continued to live at home with my parents when started Portland State University here in Portland while John and many other friends left town to go to school. This was the loneliest time of my life. I struggled to connect in meaningful ways to others at school. This is also when I really started struggling with depression. 

At PSU they had an arcade. I would go there during breaks and lunch. One day there was a new game that drew a crowd - Street Fighter II. I started playing it several times a day and occasionally skipping classes to do so. This continued through Street Fighter II Turbo, Champion edition, champion turbo, X-men Children of the Atom, and Marvel vrs Capcom..

I was able to do well in classes where I had to read a book and take a test. I started struggling really bad with sleep apnea. Later on in my college career when it came to some really awful reading combined with researching and writing papers I procrastinated so much that I started to fail classes. I was tired and depressed but I always had energy for video games. I ended up on financial aid probation and dropped out in my senior year. 

John graduated college and moved back to Portland. His brother had a PC so I started playing Civilization 1&2 and Master of Orion on his computer. In 1997 John and I became roommates and played a lot of Master of Orion 2, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, and Total Annihilation. I got my own computer in early 1998 that my first ex-boyfriend built for me. 

In 2001 I did something really stupid at work that somebody said was sexual harassment. It was, and I was terminated. I collected unemployment but often slept 12 hours a day because of the sleep apnea. I stopped taking prozac when I started going without health insurance. I played MOO2 and SMAC a lot. I looked for a job a little.  I started buying board games at thrift stores and garage sales and started selling them on Ebay and started hosting friends over for board game nights so this time of my life wasn't a complete disaster. Financially it took me a long time to recover though as I was unemployed 10 months and drained my 401(k). I had to sell my car to stop sinking further into debt.

I restarted my career by temping two years at a company and then was hired on permanent end of 2004. I started getting the depression and sleep apnea treated in 2005. I started going back to PSU in 2005 and finished my degree in 2007. I managed to get promoted at work in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2015. I joined 24 hour fitness in 2005 and went periodically but when I started working with a personal trainer in 2014 that's when I made some great progress. I knew I needed to make changes as I was still struggling with depression while even on medication. I was starting to have some back/neck/shoulder pain from sitting too many hours in front of a computer playing MOO2, SMAC, Civilization IV, a MMO called Astroflux, and Skyrim. My shoulders had started falling forward and I didn't have a chest really. I went from about 195 lbs to 181 in about 1.5 years and felt great for the most part. 

I was fired in November of 2017. I saw it coming for about a year but I did not have a good exit strategy because I was constantly depressed. I was able to work from home a lot but since I didn't have more than 4 or 5 hours of work to do I was often playing SMAC. I did go to Europe for the first time ever in April/May 2017 for 2.5 weeks and didn't play any computer games once during the trip. I was high on life the whole time so I didn't miss them! After I got back from Europe and having the time of my life I became even more depressed. After I became unemployed it's gotten really bad. I told myself I would do better than I did in 2001 if I became unemployed again. I have, but I really need to do better.

I read Johann Hari's book Lost Connections - Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions when I saw something about it on Facebook. I read it and it was really eye opening! In chapter 8 titled Cause 3: Loss of Meaningful Values he discusses the difference between extrinsic goals and intrinsic goals. Extrinsic goals are pursuits that you spend a huge amount of energy, time, and/or money to achieve them so that others will see you as successful. But once you've acquired one of  these objects of desire you often feel the same (relic weapon of incredible power, anyone?). Intrinsic goals are things that actually add to your happiness and quality of life. These include actually creating something, or perfecting a skill, or spending quality time with friends and loved ones. I realized that video games were creating extrinsic goals for me and not really adding any happiness to my life. They were just allowing me to procrastinate. I need to work on my intrinsic goals. 

I could tell you about how my former boss is a narcissist and was gaslighting me but ultimately it's up to me to stop dwelling on the past. I finally realized I was feeling victimized but it's now time to get over it, move on, and find that new job. It's hard because job hunting makes me feel unwanted and like a failure. So I need to do the things that will make me feel successful. That includes the 90-day detox, finishing the book I'm writing, spending more time with friends & making new ones, losing the weight I've gained in the last year, and finding a good volunteer work opportunity. I have so much to contribute and I need to get started. 

Thanks for reading and for all your encouragement!

Nate

 

 

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