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BrassWolf

Memento Mori

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I chose "Memento Mori" for the title of my journal because it reflects on something that, 10 years ago, absolutely scared and depressed me - mortality. The fact that one day *snap* this life ends, and being 21 at the time that thought was scary. Needless to say, 8 years later and I can at least talk about it in a way that inspires me to create a better life for myself.

Hey! My name is Kris and I am a teacher in Colorado. This will be my public journal which will contain things that I am okay with sending out to the public internet space. I keep a more private journal that is literally written just for me to put myself and the day on trial for no audience but myself because I feel that is important as well!

Everyone around me says "things are okay" I know enough now to know that things are not okay. Pushing for competition in video games for the last 3 years has really heightened my touchiness/anger and my knack to follow the Myth Buster's motto of "If it's worth doing, it's worth over-doing!" on everything really did not do me any favors when it came to that kind of gaming. Add streamers and streaming into the mix and my last year was a huge mess, but I am coming out of those challenges a stronger person.

The last year I legitimately considered escaping the challenges of teaching and considering a career as a professional smash player, a game that I never played seriously until it came out last year. I looked at how much money I could potentially make doing it, tried to get feedback, and be serious about improving and everything. This went right in line with me trying to improve my times in speedruns in order to submit runs to events and get to play in front of a big audience. A part of me thought that was cool, but as time grew on this year (and some time in therapy this year as well), I realized that my priorities were way out of alignment.

I realized, more and more, that the whole gaming and online scene was not my life and the reason I felt like I didn't fit in was because I myself always fought to consider whether  what I was doing was of value or not (and to me, ultimately, it was not!) After feeling a huge sense of guilt over pushing for another personal best in a video game this last Saturday, July 13, I went to lunch with my husband and declared PROUDLY that I was going for the 90 day detox to re-evaluate my priorities.

In the end, I want to be the best person I can be but also be there for my husband and the people that are important in my life. No more training wheels! It's time to be the crescendo and aim for a journey that gets stronger and stronger every day! Memento Mori is about accepting that we could blip out and to not worry about it because the time for that is absolutely out of our control. What is in control is how we show we value our life and our time and find the beauty in the world around us!

I will be experimenting with a few formats before landing on one that I like, but I hope that these journals connect with some of you and offer you inspiration. We are all brave for taking a step to make a positive change in our life. Together, we are strong and can do this! The time to make a true mark on the world starts!

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Days Without Games: Two (2)

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: Two (2)

Morning

This morning I woke up and made myself some breakfast (Eggs with Peppers) and Tea (Earl Grey. Hot.). After this I created my morning journal to remind myself that there will be challenges, obstacles, difficult people, etc, but that I am strong and have the mental fortitude to make it through these challenges.

Afternoon

After eating some lunch we watched some of Fluffy's netflix show "Mr. Iglesias" which I do like because A) It makes me laugh and B) the episodes connect with me as an educator because I notice so many of these issues happening around me and am always striving to be the one that believes in all of the students.

We did some chores together, went for a walk and dinner as well today.

Evening

I spent some more time re-connecting with the piano, reading more Respawn and creating an agenda (with rough time windows) for tomorrow and worked out (I have been doing AthleanX's Xero program which requires no equipment). I am spending the last hour here reflecting on the day and preparing for bed.

Good - What did you do that was good today?

Today I stayed present and in the moment with my husband and didn't allow technology or other things to distract me from that as I have in the past. If there was a break in the conversation, I didn't reach for my phone to fill the time or search for a new topic, but let that pass naturally and without judgement.

Better - What can I improve?

I feel that I can improve being okay with the "what" we do sometimes. Sometimes we won't be able to be going on a grand hiking adventure or something similar, but meaning and fulfillment can be found even in the simple things.

Best - What do I need to do to be the best version of myself

I feel that it is important to smile and laugh. I still feel that while I am approaching that Stoic calmness, it would be great to allow myself to smile, laugh, and not take things so seriously!

Thanks for listening!

Kris

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Days Without Games: Three (3)

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: Three (3)

Morning

This morning I woke up and made myself some breakfast (Eggs with Peppers) and Tea (Earl Grey. Hot.). After this I created my morning journal to remind myself that there will be challenges, obstacles, difficult people, etc, but that I am strong and have the mental fortitude to make it through these challenges. I literally copy-pasted this from yesterday's journal because it is true. Today's Daily Stoic advice was about being okay with enjoying life and I felt that was a big thing to reflect on A) because it is a reflection on what this group is about and B) While discipline is important, taking a moment to enjoy things is totally great! In the end we will all be a skeleton... no bones about it!

Being an educator I get time off for the summer, so today was the first day I was home alone with no social obligations or obligations with my husband, so that created an interesting scheduling challenge. While I spent time creating my agenda the previous night, now I had the opportunity to test it out and see what it feels like.

In the morning I worked out (Week 15 of Consistently Working Out 5x/Week) and mowed the lawn. Then I packaged some games and consoles I had sold to my still supportive gamer friends (these two guys were completely supportive of my detox!) and got those sent to them. On the way home I got equipment for my bicycle so I can actually commit to riding a century (100 miles in one go) in two months! I've said "this is the year I will do the century" for the past 3 summers, but this time I need to commit to it. If it's hot, instead of making an excuse about it I need to schedule the ride in such a way that I won't have to deal with it as much!

Afternoon

After eating some lunch and watching TED Talks, I moved on to more cleaning. Then I fired up Duolingo and rekindled my desire to learn Spanish (which will be great in so many ways) and practiced my defensive skills. After this I took Cam's advice to find an alternate space and went to the library and sat outside, enjoying the view and the quiet as I read and researched things to do to start up a side hustle.

Evening

We spent a few hours making dinner and then going shopping. I'm spending my last few hours here reflecting and will play piano after this to end the night on a good note (pun intended!)

Good - What did you do that was good today?

Today I persisted with the goal to experience this detox to the fullest. The equipment is still set up and in my space, and on my computer, but I do not touch them. I'll even look at them just to say "I don't need to touch you today, game console!" 

Better - What can I improve?

When my husband comes home and is feeling tired from the day, I'm still expecting this version of him that is as fired up as I am about things. I need to continue to remember that just because he is feeling that is nothing to do about me AND I know I have been there too. I don't need to come up with advice or feel like i know things just because I'm discovering a new self.

Best - What do I need to do to be the best version of myself

I feel that it is important to smile and laugh a little, and there is some of that. In order to be the best version of myself I need to allow other people to experience emotion in their own ways. Negative emotions are just as okay as positive emotions AND while I can be empathetic about other people's thoughts and feelings, especially those close to me, I can still remain uplifted and encouraging for the people around me.


Thanks for listening!

 Kris

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Days Without Games: Four

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: Four

Morning

This morning I continued developing the routine of reflecting on daily stoic wisdom. Today's wisdom was about the practice of premeditatio malorum, essentially playing the "what if" game but then planning on contigencies. I applied that immediately to the bike ride I was going on. "What if my tire goes flat?" Then I will do X. "What if it is very hot?" Then I will pack extra water and stop more frequently (Which I did!) This really helps you remember what is and is not in your control, because I cannot control if I get hit by a car but I can control what I do to prevent that from happening by being aware of my surroundings and adapting.

I repaired my tube, learned a trick to remove and replace the tight tire, and I did a speed ride meaning I had 6 bursts ranging from 30 seconds to 2 minutes where I'd go fast, then pause for double that time. I began the first steps towards training for a century ride (100 miles).

When I returned I continued learning Spanish, reading, and playing piano (Learning this Bach Fugue - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FSFqwdPiwE

Afternoon

After eating some lunch and watching TED Talks, I moved on to more cleaning. I listened to Nightwish while getting that done and before I knew it it was time to head over to my music lesson to teach one of my piano students. With this time I've gifted myself I was able to walk in there more prepared than usual and introduced the student to Bach and Chopin, which he really appreciated.

Evening

I noticed my husband was running late so had already prepared a Plan-B in case he said we couldn't make it to the range, so when he told me that we didn't have time I said "That's a bummer but I already figured that out. Let's do this instead" and we had a good night watching some Netflix (finished up The Ranch) and doing some maintenance on the motorcycle then we ended the day with a good talk about some politics.

Good - What did you do that was good today?

Today I persisted with the goal to experience this detox to the fullest. The equipment is still set up and in my space, and on my computer, but I do not touch them. I'll even look at them just to say "I don't need to touch you today, game console!" I had a few cravings today and my brain was already rationalizing that it knows I can make it so I don't get addicted again but that gives permission to skip the next 86 days. I said "Yeah, you are probably right, but this is what we are doing and we are sticking to the detox plan!"

Better - What can I improve?

I can continue improving the food I eat. While I am eating more mindfully lately, I need to continue to explore what does and does not leave my stomach upset.

Best - What do I need to do to be the best version of myself

In order to be the best version of myself I need to realize that plenty of videos, songs, and people have inspired me up until this point in my life. It is not my turn to be the inspiration for other people, to be the giver if you will. Completely relying on giving requires a strong mental fortitude and I will accept that "Thank Yous" may not come at all, but that is okay because I'd rather be inspiring the people I make contact with.


Thanks for listening!

 Kris

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Days Without Games: Five

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: Five

Morning

This morning after completing my breakfast routine and posting last night's journal here, I went on my 2nd or 3 weekly bike rides and adjusted my workout schedule/routine to fit cycling into the mix without taxing my body too much by doing that and then coming home to do a cardio workout or even a strength one on the same day.

During this ride I reflected hard on the day's stoic wisdom of not sweating the small things. I read this interview and felt inspired about how we are all on similar journeys (Hell, the same one) but go about those journeys differently. I made a huge realization that while not sweating the small stuff I needed to sweat the big stuff, and mentally made the realization about how my addiction applied to other areas of my life and just how it impacted my relationship.

Without beating around the bush too much, I watched the Great Porn Experiment TED Talk and realized just how deep the internet and gaming addiction was. I didn't realize the reasons why I was looking for more and more "dark" stuff in terms of porn, or tried to challenge myself more and more in games by playing them competitively rather than as a hobby/for pleasure in entertainment. I made a commitment to myself to talk to my husband and just say "I feel this is why I struggle to connect. Now that I am on the path to quit these addictions, I think it will get better but this is how addiction works and why it got so bad and weird in the first place" Mind. Fucking. Blown.

Afternoon

I decided to have lunch with my mother-in-law and that was really pleasant. It was nice to be more present in the moment while conversing with her, rather than worrying about catching up on discord or waiting for the next game's race so not really paying attention. Listening and caring about what I was hearing. That was nice! Two of my students spotted me and the little one looked like she was seeing the most famous person in the world. "OH MY GOSH! MOMMY! LOOK! IT'S MY MUSIC TEACHER! IT'S HIM!!!" I may or may not have blushed because of her absolute excitement to see me. It was a beautiful reminder of how impactful you can be when you are there for people AND actually give a damn about them!

After some self-improvement activities I taught my lessons for a few hours. Those were really rewarding! I definitely noticed I've been less awkward talking with the relatives some of my clients want to introduce me to. That lack of awkwardness is quite nice!

Evening

After making dinner with the husband we sat and worked on his motorcycle some more. I have still yet to have the conversation with him but will let you all know how that goes in the morning.

Good - What did you do that was good today?

Today I saw an advertisement for a fan game I was absolutely excited about. I nearly clicked on it to look up more and see if there was a release date for it, but I stopped and used my craving strategy (which I also used so I didn't buy a Rockstar) and let it be acknowledged and move along.

Better - What can I improve?

It's been hard to take on this detox AND take it on for VARIOUS things. Most research says you start small with habit breaking and choose one thing, but I am trying it the Cam way and I'm glad I'm doing it that way. Rip off the band-aid! I feel that I can improve what I am doing to pass the time each day. Hell, I just said "pass the time" like I'm giving myself busy work. While I enjoy what it is I am doing, I also need to fit in my other goals like seeing the world. I'm not just talking about figuring a savings plan to go to another country or state but researching and scheduling excursions for myself AND both of us. I need to make sure I'm exploring my whole self and not just focusing on some parts.

Best - What do I need to do to be the best version of myself

To be the best version of myself I need to live with virtue. I did some things because of my addictions that I am absolutely not proud of and made the realization today that the best version of me would put all of the cards on the table even if it means losing something. I'm not sure how the conversation will go, but if stoicism has taught me anything it's that I can be prepared for every possible outcome I can conceive. Will I still feel the hard emotion? Fuck yes. But, I know I am capable of living through that emotion.


Thanks for listening!

 Kris 

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You're doing a really good job man. This transparency and vulnerability talk will go a long way to build an even deeper bond I think, if not also inspire your husband. 

I'm also trying to avoid multiple things at once, and have been from the start. I think depending on our emotional state at each time, quitting one thing might be difficult enough at one time in our lives, or quitting multiple things might feel just right at another time. You seem to feel stable enough to take on these things, so why not? It's really good to read your full perspective in this journal, too.

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Days Without Games: Six

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: Six

Morning

This morning I continued my usual routine and went down to teach one of my horn students. Been using the coaching advice from the book I just finished called The Coaching Habit and I feel like i'm continuing to have more impactful and deeper connecting coaching sessions with my students. The student was telling me, afterwards, about her ideas for the future and it was inspiring to hear that.

In spite of all of my progress, I decided to TREAT YO' SELF to a Monster Energy Drink. I don't need it but sometimes I feel it is important to make mistakes on purpose!

After getting home my father-in-law was kind enough to come on by and help me remove some trash and an unused couch. We spent some time chatting while we cut it down and had lunch together before I got home.

Afternoon

The afternoon was really nice. I connected with my piano a lot more today, scrapping the Bach Fugue (for now) and moving on to actually finishing this piece of music my Maksim MrVica (Composed by Tonci Huljic) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DKBKZ8Cxeo

I read more books and continued living the self-enrichment life!

Evening

We watches some of Gabriel Iglesia's comedy and worked on his motrocycle a whole lot tonight!

Going to skip my Good, Better, Best for tonight due to time. As you can see, we had a hard conversation last night but now everything is out in the open and we are going to get better from it. @fawn_xoxo thank you for listening and I am glad you are getting something from reading these journals!

I honestly exposed myself to some game things today (news) and I didn't feel the urge to play necessarily. I felt nostalgia for the characters and stories they are involved in for sure. I definitely have been wanting to learn some game music but am conflicted as I am unsure if that will help with the detoxing process (especially in terms of reversing the physical changes that may have occurred from speedrunning and streaming specifically).


Have a great night and Thanks for listening!

 Kris 

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    Days Without Games: Seven

 

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: Seven

Morning

This morning I went out for my distance bicycle ride and finished 21 miles in 1 hour and 35 minutes, well within the range for the goal of going 20-25 miles and had an appropriate pace for this part in my training. I am looking at doing a century bicycle ride as my bike goal and am thinking of signing up for a ride that is raising money for people who are in rehabilitation from traumatic brain and spine injuries.

After burning all of those calories I had an early lunch and...

Afternoon

headed to a local park to listen to my father-in-law and his band play. I was more focused on the aspect of going that involved supporting someone in my life and didn't really have my musician's judgement glasses on, except for all of the times his band mates would stop to do things and break the flow. One of his band mates was very particular about the sound levels. I can understand why my father-in-law is frustrated. Still, he appreciated me coming out to listen, especially given that he was performing so close!

I went home after a few hours and practice more Croatian Rhapsody on piano and the learning strategies are working well for this difficult spot in the song that I never got passed... until now! It's good to know the advice I give my own piano students is valuable to me too! After that I read some books and announced to everyone in my discord community that I am taking this detox journey. I encouraged the people who subscribed to me to find better ways to spend their money than a subscription to my channel.

The support was overwhelmingly positive, so it's good to know that there are people in my gaming life that can see passed games and be behind me in this. I've literally not received any negative remarks about this journey.

The important thing to me about this journey is that it is my journey and I felt it is important to undertake it for myself. I do not pass judgement on people who are not taking this journey or are playing video games. This is just part of my overall philosophy that it's critical and healthy to have friends with different opinions. We can still respect the hell out of each other and have a great time!

Evening

We went to the range afterwards and I forced myself to practice off-hand, no matter how "off" it was. Going to get back into reading about that and doing some practice drills at home before the next time we go back.

Good - What did you do that was good today?

Today I supported a family member and made them feel special and important. Today I apologized for an over-reaction to a simple issue that was hard for me to deal with because I had just woken up and wasn't mentally awake.

Better - What can I improve?

I can improve the balance in my life and realize that life is full of ups and downs and we can take the ups with the downs and vice versa. None of them are world ending and so while it may feel noble to take on this detox journey, it's important to remember that each and every one of us is connected in that we are all human and we are a star amongst other stars. What we do may feel important to us, but in the grand scheme of life, is not as important as we think. This isn't to be a pessimist, but it is to put all of our hardships and everything in perspective. It most certainly is not a reason to not try hard. We must do our best to fulfill our lives and make an impact on our world! That is what these thoughts are about and improving that overall perspective that goes beyond just ourselves.

Best - What do I need to do to be the best version of myself

Some days I feel like this question is the same as the one above, but I know it isn't. The best version of me will be able to balance all the factors of life in a meaningful way. I need to continue taking this journey and accepting all the parts of it in order to become that best version of myself.


Thanks for listening!

 Kris 

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22 hours ago, BrassWolf said:

I felt nostalgia for the characters and stories they are involved in for sure.

Be wary of nostalgia it can be stronger than you think in the mind. Some thoughts of gaming from the past can recall the longing of those days and bring the mind into a place that gaming is ok again. Going cold from gaming media for me showed me that it was much harder to shake not checking the latest updates more than playing a game.

          I still find myself humming to gaming music so far in my detox but as of now I think listening to my favorite tracks still isn't a good idea as you think about the game the music is coming from. My most recent song was Pokemon red and while I was tapping away to the beat I also imagined playing the game along with the song. As a music teacher you know how strong music can be in any situation so just be careful if you decide to listen/play to game music. Great posts and keep going strong!

-Tzen 

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Thanks for the bit of additional perspective there. Whenever I like the music from a game I can picture the character art, but as far as gameplay I don't feel like it pulls me to want to play the game. Sometimes I'll imagine the level it came from, but again, I feel like the urge to play the game is much weaker than it was this time last week. I already find fulfillment in these new (but old) activities.

When it comes to music, practicing still feels weird for me cognitively. Learning to play piano again is fabulous, but today I spent an hour learning about 30 seconds of a song. That's 120 times the length. While this is perfectly normal for challenging sections, I wonder how "normal" it is overall. That repetition. Bit of an overthink, maybe. Hopefully that makes some sense.

Thanks for the thoughts!

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Days Without Games: Eight

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: Eight

Morning

This morning I went through the morning routine and we went out on a motorcycle ride in our area. My body was definitely sore from the 6 days of physical activity without a rest day so I was not being the best passenger on the bike, haha! It was a good time and a beautiful morning at that! We had an early lunch and decided to start watching The Chef Show on Netflix. Whenever we go to hotels I enjoy having cooking shows on so it was nice to finally do that at home for once.

Afternoon

We spent our afternoon taking care of our "homework" in the form of a 3-hour online e-course for the motorcycle course we are going to be taking later on this week. Each section was narrated so we were unable to move on to the next page until the narration was complete, and each module had a quiz attached. I took a break by practicing Spanish on Duolingo and we went to get some drinks (almost as if we were going to celebrate completing that tedious course together!)

A friend messaged me on discord after I finished and they themselves noticed the negative patterns developing in their life and asked me about fitness and quitting games (Why the 90 days). It honestly feels good to be giving to other people around me. I will come back to this thought later.

Evening

After getting dinner we sat down and started the third season of Stranger Things and definitely noticed they upped their production value and gore factor quite a bit over the previous seasons! We watched a few more episodes of The Chef Show which was great. It was really inspiring to see them travel and talk with other peoples through the different kinds of food and the raw joy and passion shared by everyone involved. I always enjoy seeing people in their element with each other.

Afterwards we talked about a few things and I am now officially going to be signing up for a 100 mile bicycle ride to take place in mid-September and informed  my colleague that I would be interested in covering some music theory classes over the next few week for a high school music and arts organization in another town. We will see if the latter comes to fruition given that I can only commit to most of the days they need a guest to take over.

General Reflection

     I am going to scrap the Good, Better, Best section from now on as I find it to not be useful. I internalize that so much that writing it out is more for other people's benefits really. Speaking of benefiting other people, I have been thinking about that idea of giving and it came from a tweet I saw on my professional network. I believe that, for a long time, we rely completely on our support network and being on the shoulders of giants in our lives. However, there does come a time where we need to start adding people to our own shoulders and carrying other people as well, and I feel that time has come for me.

     In those moments where I am sharing my fitness, eating habits, progress on hobbies and relationships based on reality around me and not the virtual world, I feel like I am ultimately trying to give. I would be lying if I told you there was 0 vanity in there. I know there must be a part of me that enjoys talking about myself (why else do people become teachers?!) (joking..!) But I really do appreciate getting the opportunity to be honest and vulnerable and impact the world around me, just as the stoic wisdom is teaching me.

    I had one gamer friend applaud me for this journey but then say what I was doing was scary because reality sucks. I replied and told him "Well, I've been to your house, and we both know that is because you live in that town! The world is actually full of potential and wonder, and it's up to us to not let other people's shitty behavior be the guiding force of the world, but to counter that with our choices. We need each other, and none of us are better than the other!"

Have a great night and a fantastic week!

-Kris


Thanks for listening!

 Kris 

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Days Without Games: Nine

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: Nine

Morning

This morning I woke up a little earlier and took care of eating breakfast and going through today's stoic wisdom which addresses anger. I'll arrive at that later on today. After this I spent some time reading before we had some lunch together and watched another episode of The Chef Show. I am definitely finding more inspiration in the books I am reading, shows we are watching, and the people that are around me.

Afternoon

After spending some time looking at motorcycles we went up to another town to check out some so that I could get a feel for what it is to sit down in one and ask the important questions in figuring out what I am looking for in the one I purchase. After this we hit Barnes & Noble and moved back home, which involved an hour of traffic. Since my stomach was acting up I was definitely not always handling the major traffic in the calmest way. Internally I knew I wanted to be able to accept it and be calm about it, but it took at least 20 minutes for me to get there.

Evening

After finally returning home I sat down to do a little more reading and catch up on some business messages as well as connecting with a colleague from another state that will be sending me some resources on drumming for me to look at for my students this next school year (which is 3 weeks away!) I also spent some time talking with my parents which was good to connect with them over the phone and have as good a conversation as we could have given we both had to repeat every third sentence three times.

We prepared dinner and ate outside which was a nice change. I took care of the cleaning while he is working on his motorcycle, installing his light. Now I am sitting down to write this journal before getting involved in practicing my Spanish and Piano and maybe even read some more (the book I am on is just that good!)

General Reflection

     Today starting with the Daily Stoic E-Mail about anger and how we don't need it. They linked https://gen.medium.com/if-youre-angry-you-re-part-of-the-problem-not-the-solution-d50a74b119cb as a supplemental reading which I found to be powerful. Imagine having to look at yourself in a mirror when you are angry. Imagine someone recording you banging your control or making an aggravated sound at a video game or other little problem and how ridiculous it would seem to see someone else do that, let alone yourself.

    I absolutely loved this article because it mirrors so much of what I already believe about this life. Each side of the argument is making a villain of the other side as if not believing in what you believe to a T is justification to be angry at someone else and to call them evil. Truth is objective in so many things and to fill the world with hate towards someone else instead of having a rational, adult debate seems to not only be rare to find, but falling out of fashion for more empowerment towards 'being angry.' 

    I pride myself on the fact that I have friends whom I disagree with on some issues, and I have to say that I see beyond that and I still see a person I like sharing experiences with and, at the end of the day, I know these people would have my back just as I would have their back because we are good friends and that is how we adults do things! 

    I got angry at the accident that caused the hour delay heading home today, and it took me 20 minutes to accept that we were going to go slowly for a while. Sometimes problems seem so big but I kept breathing and reminding myself that the issue will pass and it won't matter later or tomorrow anyway. So instead of continuing to hold on to the feeling of injustice, I let it pass. I acknowledged it in the end and gave it less power by the end and we continued having our usual conversation on the way home.

Game Front

     On the game front, it definitely feels more like a choice now than a natural habit to go and pick up a controller. There isn't much of a pull to play the games and I'm even starting to identify issues in some media as well. I am a big fan of Marvel up to this point, but seeing the line up for Phase IV made me realize that in order to really enjoy the next Phase to the fullest extent, I'd have to give in to Disney's demand for more money by paying for another streaming service to see what could be important stories. I feel like Spiderman - Far-From-Home did a nice job summing up the story up to this point that I have come to love. I'll maybe see the movies I want to but in terms of giving in to what I feel is a business move to increase profits, I am not going to participate in Phase IV. Then again, don't video games try to rope you into things like this too?

Have a great night and a fantastic rest of the week! Don't just let it happen by accident, make it so!

-Kris

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Just a side note -- I am not trying to make a villain of the corporations or business. They aren't doing what they are doing due to some inherent evil. All people are trying to improve themselves and sometimes the scope of their influence doesn't always reach everyone in the best ways. This doesn't mean that, for instance, Disney's plan is to simply squeeze more money out of people. It could very well be a way to provide more entertainment to people who genuinely do enjoy their product. Again, you can dig this topic into a hole as deep as you want it to. I am choosing to believe that while there is evil and malice in the world, that isn't always the intent of the people committing those acts. The very side we think is evil thinks the same about us in return.

This puts a stop to this part of the conversation so that we can return to the focus of this journal -- the larger journey of self-improvement, fulfillment and the pursuit of 90 days without video games!

Regularly scheduled post this evening!

Edited by BrassWolf
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Days on the Path: 10

Late Post so I'll make it quick. Yesterday was great. Arranged to have lunch with a couple of friends so we chatted and played some board games before I headed to teach my music lessons. Getting home made dinner, went shopping, and got super angry in the middle of driving home from the store. Basically went to bed saying "Fine, emotions, you win this evening but I'll be damned if I let you win the war!"

Here we are in the morning. Combination of excited and slightly under-confident about going to the first day of motorcycle class. I'll be fine and it will be great, just working on using the mornings to mentally prepare more.

Bigger Post Tonight!

-Kris

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Days Without Games: 11 and 12

Days Without Internet Addiction of Any Kind: 11 and 12

Last Two Days
 
    The two of us were taking a motorcycle course over the last two days. The journey was absolutely incredible. In the last decade every time I attempted to operate a vehicle with a manual transmission it ended in some pretty big failures, and the old version of me would get super upset and let them overtake and I would just give up.
 
    During the class, first exercise on the motorcycle was to just get it moving. The problem was, I kept stalling it because I was popping out the clutch and I still struggled with that for a while. After some feedback from the instructor and noticing every other student getting the "power walk" I acknowledged that old emotion of "Oh shit!" I stopped the negativity right then and there, stayed neutral, and focused on what the instructor was telling me about getting it started. Eventually I got it enough to where I could get the bike moving but still popped it and stalled a bunch more times, especially when I got fatigued. The "harder" stuff was way easier but getting the bike moving in the first place continued to be a challenge.
 
    Over the first night I watched a few videos and my partner showed me some things about just how the manuals and clutches worked, and it clicked. "OH! You can get going from the clutch power alone if you give it enough gas and let the revs do the work!" "OH! If I go about half-way, I can play around with how much power is being used!"
 
    Today, Day 2, went SO much smoother and it felt great to be able to start off smoothly and stall at least 90% less. Took the skills test at the end of the morning and the written right after and passed both. Needless to say, we both have our motorcycle endorsements and I've been looking at different bikes all day. Will go out to test ride some of them tomorrow to figure out what kind of power I want to look at in terms of a starter bike!
 
     I feel like I have to force the bit about playing video games right now. Like, talking about them doesn't have quite the same pull. I don't even think about scheduling them, streaming, or "practicing a game" into it. I keep thinking about all of these new hobbies and how I now have something to talk about with my clients and inspire other people around me about when they ask me "How has your summer been" I have such a big list of things that have been amazing.
 
      I will continue this detoxing process. It will be interesting to see how this mindset plays out during the school year which begins again in less than two weeks now.
 
For now, I'm pretty tired and need to do some restful activities. As always, thank you for listening and, whoever you are, I believe in you and your journey as well. We are all on the same path, together. We go about it in our own way, but we can do this!
 
-Kris
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Great job with identifying that negative self talk and of course dealing with it! I don't remember how long you've been hooked on video games but I'd say if it's been anything over six months, stay vigilant. I've had many good moments so far myself, feeling like I'll never go back and such, but it didn't stay that way for every single day. Gratefulness for the good days and vigilance for the bad days, I'd say! Not trying to be a bummer, just a word of prevention in case you might need it. Well done so far!

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Agreed, @fawn_xoxo , it is part of the stoic practice called premeditatio malorum (Meaning "The Pre-Meditation of Evils.") We are always going to be met with adversity and challenge each and every day, and it is best to continue preparing for the possibilities. I find it harder some days, and easier on others (in terms of emotional commitment) but I always think about what I can do to adapt to the environment and what it is I am in control of.

 

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Days on this journey: 13

    I have almost hit the two week mark and what it is I am doing right now has definitely become more of a habit then something different. I've noticed that I am more willing to jump into social situations because I'd rather be involved in those than stay at home so those have kept me busy.

     Aside from returning to some of the hobbies I was unable to partake in over the last two days (Learning Spanish, reading, and playing piano) I went on to the motorcycle dealership to test out the bike I was 95% sure I was going to buy today walking into it. I had watched a few videos about it and that re-affirmed me that this was a good choice for me and, after taking it for a test ride on their side-street, I instantly fell in love with the motorcycle.

    Needless to say, I now own a  barely used Kawasaki NInja. The dealership was kind enough to let the bike sit in their store while I sorted out some extra space for storage at our home.

     Alot of the new habits I am trying to build are starting to move from the "conscious competence" to "unconscious competence" area so I do notice that, in some ways, there is less to write. Do you ever notice that, as humans we have an easier time writing about our challenges and struggles. We can fill books about those and how we've overcome adversity, but when our mindsets grow and we are able to adapt to that adversity with a little more flexibility and grit, I find it harder to write. It's like when I give feedback to people. I can advise on so many things, but the compliments seem to be harder to elaborate sometimes. Just a random side thought for now.

     Tomorrow will be a good day as I continue with my 2nd long ride out of the 8 preparatory long rides I want to complete before my 100 mile bicycle race. I'll move from that to my enrichment hobbies and getting some things picked up in the house before getting the motorcycle home and testing that out a bit more on the roads around here.

Have a great evening!

-Kris

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Day 14 and 15 Recap

This weekend has been a great weekend overall.

Yesterday (Saturday) I continued cycling and reached 25 miles well above the pacing goals in terms of speed (averaging 17mph). I have 7 more weeks of preparation for the 100 mile cycling event and I am on a good pace for training. Again, when work starts up again it will be important to keep this progress going and finding ways to work around the schedule to fit these rides in.

Upon getting home I spent some time watching Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse which, aside from the "Stylized motion" making it hard to watch sometimes, was a good story. Got caught up on some house work, reading, and learning more Spanish and practicing piano - again, keeping these habits in development.

My husband brought the motorcycle home and we went on a ride to his parents house where we had dinner. Afterwards I really should have said that I was feeling tired and wanted to head home but I pushed passed my mental limit and went into a busy parking lot so they could all get ice cream. On the way out I almost layed my motorcycle down due to me not straightening the wheel when stopping. I was determined to not let it fall, so I lifted it back up right, breathed deep and continued moving on.

After a nice relaxing evening we entered Sunday and we went for a longer ride. Today I really developed my ability to up-shift and understand those mechanics a little more fluidly. We had lunch with his family and then went home for a little. Unfortunately our friend bailed on us again (he has some significant mental health issues so I am no longer surprised when he texts us hours later saying he just woke up. I keep reaching out asking how we could help, but I think the ball is in his court. I'll still offer and be virtuous).

We went back to his parent's house for dinner and played Settlers of Catan after having delicious French dip sandwich mi esposo made. Delicioso! Had a good practice in handling negativity because everyone kept targeting me in the board game because I was doing well and they were complaining about what is going on and I kept saying "Part of the game, just have to adapt now." Was fun regardless but it took a long time to complete.

Just rode the bike home in the dark for the first time and that went fine after I figured out where my blinkers were by feel, without being able to glance down to see them. Needless to say the horn works! Going to relax with a book here and get ready for our busy morning of chores tomorrow and probably more motorcycle riding!

Have a fantastic evening,

Kris

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Day 16

     It was hard to process/figure out why I felt irritable yesterday. Was it because I was trying to force myself to say yes to something I wanted to say no to? Was it because I didn't work out and ate a little more than I should? Was it because I have 7 more days before returning to work? The point is, I really couldn't pinpoint exactly why I felt the way I did.

     Highlights of the day were watching the Chef movie, which was really good and made me want to cook real meals. The motorcycle ride went really well. Did 25 miles on that and getting more of a feel for riding it every day. I'm glad there are some quiet roads to practice in around here.

 

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Day 17

Brass's Log, Supplemental

Today I got back into the groove of my own hobbies. I'm experimenting with combining my normal Athlean-X Body Weight Workouts with Bicycle Training. This week I want to see if doing just the endurance ride and doing strength/cardio through Athlean X the other 4 days is helpful training or if should make a 3-2 split in one direction (or the other) to really prepare for the September 14th event. The good news is that, either way, I just hit the 4 month mark for consistently working out 5x/week. In 2 more months I will look at myself in comparison to when I started and make the significant changes to workout routine as I then make my next goals.

In learning Spanish with Duolingo I feel that I'm looking forward to getting back to work since the majority of the people in my building can speak Spanish and it would be good to get the chance to talk that language and apply what I'm learning in those lessons into a real conversation. I've been attempting it here and there with a friend in my Discord but that can only help so far!

In today's TED Talk plunge I was inspired about different kinds of lessons I could do with the students at some point with https://www.ted.com/talks/meklit_hadero_the_unexpected_beauty_of_everyday_sounds#t-52158 as a springboard for talking about different sounds/inspirations. There was one about how media uses sounds to make you believe the narrative they want you to feel. That speaker highlighted that point by showing a baby but they kept changing the sounds, completely changing the context of the SAME clip. Could be a powerful project.

I went to lunch with my husband and checked out some potential motorcycle shoes before heading back home, reading and cleaning and then getting into another new interest - cooking. After watching the Chef Show and then the movie Chef I've become fascinated and interested in learning to cook so I've been trying to search around for different recipes, or finding recipes from the movies and seeing what I can do with those. I think the first one I am going to attempt is Pasta Aglio e Olio which only has 6 ingredients and seems to combine skills I already posses and may enhance them a little bit.

In terms of the emotions from yesterday, I think the Shame Wizard decided to pay me a visit and I was mostly ashamed for not working out and letting myself eat and drink without restraint for a couple of days. Then, as a result, I didn't feel good about myself nor did I physically feel good so I started to beat myself up. I talked it over with myself and the husband and, with some help from Brene Brown learned (again) that this vulnerability is okay. Again, this echoes what I saw in @fawn_xoxo's beautiful posts. Being vulnerable is SO dangerous feeling but I am starting to not only believe, but feel the belief that there is strength in vulnerability and it's important to be able to show that.

Anyway, I'm going to look at some more cooking videos and get a feel for where I want to start with that adventure. Have a great night and remember, falling is not important. What is important is that you get up when you do fall. That is what counts!

-Kris

 

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Day 18

Yesterday I continued to start the day with some reflection (The day's thoughts were centered about choosing carefully who you try to impress and how trying to impress the wrong kind of people, such as those with questionable morals, would lead you to having questionable morals as well. In fact, it's how the philosopher Seneca by being involved with supporting Nero and having his influence and reputation get torn down over the years until he was thought guilty of a conspiracy which he was innocent in, but was forced to take his own life.) I've definitely had people in my past that I tried to impress but it got me into trouble or aided in making me feel worse about myself. The only person I try to impress is me, as much as possible. (Maybe the husband too 😉 )

After working out (I hate leg cardio days that are not on a bike! OUCH!) I watched some cooking videos to gather some ideas for my first recipe attempt. Tomorrow morning I'm going to try a little harder to make a better omelette and over the weekend I'm going to attempt Pasta Aglio e Olio. Really excited about unlocking that side of myself!

I continued to work on my Spanish, moving on to the next tier of lessons in Duolingo. Since I haven't yet found a speaking partner I am just making fake conversations with myself sometimes just to get used to using the words in an organic way. I imagine I'm talking to the parents in my school's community but how welcoming I can make them feel by becoming Bi-Lingual myself. It's hard to do without kids, let alone having to raise kids and do the job thing!

I deleted my gaming twitter account and am still debating deleting the twitch account. I keep thinking about ways I could use twitch in a beneficial way (Like, if I were to make an instrument basics series and could then do a follow up on twitch where people could Ask Me Anything along the way of the live demo portion). I also think, while that sounds cool, is that something I really want to spend my time doing? Do I have strengths elsewhere that I could tap into more effectively?

In the evening I taught my music lessons and started to apply some of what I've been learning in this education book I've been reading. The hardest part of learning new ideas is the moment you try to apply some of the things and you become confused because you are trying to do the new stuff in an extreme way. Really important to focus on the process of incorporating small changes (one new habit at a time) and once that new habit is mastered, move on to learning the next one. I need that reminder for myself.

After getting home we did a quick motorcycle ride ahead of the awesome storms that were headed our way and got those parked and relaxed with some Netflix for the rest of the evening. Overall, another great day!

-Kris

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Day 19

Was a pretty exciting day today. Been going full on with my awakened cooking-self and watched a bunch of Binging with Babish, which I do have to say is a super useful youtube channel for getting into cooking. I started the day by making my first attempt at an omelette after learning how to do one properly. I think the heat was on too high and I maybe should have oiled the vegetables when I put them in before the butter for the eggs, because the bottom of the omelette stuck. Otherwise it was a very tasty breakfast and I enjoyed making it! Will try it again but this time adding mushrooms in the AM.

I continued my Spanish journey and then read for a few hours today and finished my 2nd book since quitting games and will be moving onto #3 tomorrow. For lunch I marinated chicken breasts in Mojito Lime and toasted the whole wheat tortillas on the grill and added the remainder of my spinach to it. Again, I feel really good about actually spending some extra time on meals because the pay off is wonderful and I feel like I can be proud of what I am doing on the food front, whether it fails or succeeds!

After getting some car maintenance and cleaning done we headed down to see Weird Al Yankovich and that was an absolutely amazing concert.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FklUAoZ6KxY He is super entertaining, knows how to own stage presence and just made us laugh the whole time. Really good way to end the night was catching up with some of our other friends after the show as we waited in the parking lot for an hour so traffic could disperse.

Great day and looking forward to tomorrow!

Have a great night!

-Kris

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Days 20 and 21

    The last few days have been pretty great as well. Yesterday marked the Dawn of the 1st day, 4 days remaining (of summer break) and I have to say that I am more willing to not complain, be negative about things and say that I am okay with work resuming on Tuesday. I feel more empowered to stick to who I am and stand up for what I believe in, which includes, dare I say it, enjoying getting to touch the lives of my low-income students. I believe that they can not only do great work, but they can invent and create and be the next big thing. I continued to do way more reading in my time which has been a blast.

    Today I woke up pretty late but decided against my gut feeling to postpone my 35 mile bicycle ride to tomorrow. It was already 80 degrees and humid but I decided to go for it anyway. The first 15 miles were fine but then I constantly had to manage my mindset. The heat was getting to me but I worked extremely hard to not only hang in there but to try my best to keep up the pacing. I stopped a little more frequently when my head began to hurt and kept on pushing and made it to the goal in 2 hours and 26 minutes (35 miles!) I believe there are 6 weeks left until I do the 100 mile ride. I know right now I need to research ways to combat the heat and part of that will be getting a head start on the days I bike, but also coming with some things aside from water to take care of myself when it is in the 90s and I'm pushing my body that way.

     I went to the store and committed to my idea of cooking dinner today which was Pasta Agnio e Olio from the movie Chef and it honestly came out great. I think I was most proud of it because it was something I got to be involved in from choosing to do it, to choosing the ingredients, and slicing them up and doing all the things. After resting for an hour we worked together to make pizza dough so that we can try out New York Style Pizza with my husband's own take on sauce.

     Living life to the fullest is hard work, but it is so rewarding. I love having a better attitude, actually being there for my husband and for the people around me, and taking on all of these great things. I look back on my past self, even from earlier this year when i was in therapy because of intense negative thoughts. I remember when a certain fighting game came out and I played it for hours on end and tried to "get good" at it. Even though my brain kept saying "What's the point of this obsession, even though you could become the best you don't want to commit THAT much time? Hey, why are you so angry and snappy at everyone around you. Isn't that a sign that what you are doing is something you shouldn't be proud of. You need to stop A) taking a GAME so seriously and B) Stop trying to Practice a VIDEO GAME) Took until 3 weeks ago to really listen to that, but so glad I finally did listen.

    This year has been such a journey of growth and this is only the end of Day 21 of this latest journey?! Oh my gosh, what's going to happen next!

 

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On 8/3/2019 at 10:57 PM, BrassWolf said:

actually being there for my husband and for the people around me

This line right here was the biggest realization of my detox so far. It's amazing how much more time you want to spend with your spouse rather than playing games. I felt like a stone wall when I played games around my wife. Now, we talk and do things together everyday. I feel like I have missed out on so much of our relationship due to gaming. Your journal has been awesome so far keep up the work! 

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