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The Impossible Journal


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Day 0

I called this the Impossible Journal because for me, life without gaming/social media/screen addiction while having a fulfilling career, hobbies and relationships seems almost unattainable.I suspect that others feel the same way and that's part of the reason we continue with these bad habits. But you're here and I'm here, and that's proof we have the determination to at least get started. I'm starting the 90-day-challenge today and also pledging to start move towards defining and attaining the goals I listed in my introductory post.

"I WANT
I want to start a rewarding career in marketing. I want to move out of my parents house, purchase a vehicle, pay my student loans, and start a retirement and rainy day fund. I want to master Jeet Kun Do and Tai Chi as forms of self defense. I want to write, shoot, and edit films at a high level. I want to express myself through music. I want to rebuild my body through healthy eating, exercise, and physical therapy. I want a life that is more than gaming constantly, and being glued to YouTube and Reddit 24/7. I really want to experience life at its fullest and have fulfilling friendships and relationships. That's why I'm here."

 

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Day 1

Mannn, today was an interesting one. 

I woke up around 9:30 AM. I wasn't feeling that great the night before, so I decided to visit urgent care. I spent a couple of hours there, and while they were pretty speedy, I had a lot of time to sit and think about life and what I want out of it. I've decided that in order to maximize the effects of the 90 day game quitters pledge, I'll also give up social media for the first 30 days of the pledge. No Youtube , no Facebook, no Instagram. Nothing. Then at the end of the 30 days, when I'm a little more objective, I'll build my life around my goals and use social media to benefit that.

I've quit gaming before, only to spend time on browsing excessively. I've also developed a habit of continually listening to YouTube videos. Usually these are voice to text Reddit videos, but I also listen to interviews, podcasts, or even anime and movie reviews. I enjoyed it at first, but after about a year of this I was beginning to feel trapped, not entertained.

I guess deep down, I was afraid. Afraid to be the bored, powerless and neglected kid with nothing but free television shows to watch. Whole summers spent alone, without a single friend. 

Well, today I faced that fear and it wasn't anything like I thought it would be. I'm energized to do things that will benefit me long term.

It's late, so I'll keep it to that.

Thanks for reading!

 

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10 hours ago, OptimisticMalcontent said:

I guess deep down, I was afraid. Afraid to be the bored, powerless and neglected kid with nothing but free television shows to watch. Whole summers spent alone, without a single friend. 

I don't have any friends irl either. I think it's okay to embrace this part of yourself. Life can still be good if you don't have friends and watch some tv. Welcome to the forums. Good luck with your detox.

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17 hours ago, Erik2.0 said:

I don't have any friends irl either. I think it's okay to embrace this part of yourself. Life can still be good if you don't have friends and watch some tv. Welcome to the forums. Good luck with your detox.

Thanks, man. I appreciate that!

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Day 2

Today was a pretty peculiar one.

I've noticed some subtle changes which I think are a result of abstinence from social media and gaming. 

1.Reading is a lot more appealing, and intense. The information is also easier to hold on to.

2.Tasks that seemed sooo mundane are way easier to get engaged in.

3. I've become a much better listener.

Applied for unemployment today and read a lot more than I usually do.

Tomorrow I want to focus on doing activities that support bodily health.

It's late, so I'm going to end this one early.

Thanks for reading!

 

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12 hours ago, OptimisticMalcontent said:

1.Reading is a lot more appealing, and intense. The information is also easier to hold on to.

Welcome to the forums @OptimisticMalcontent! This quote is one thing I wish I did when I first started. It was one of the most benefiting things I did for myself. So many stories I have missed out on and finishing a big book feels great. 

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Day 3*

Feel asleep last night without writing in my journal (hence the asterisk), but I thought I'd share what I learned.

My hiatus from games and social media is still yielding strange benefits. What I'm seeing mostly is increased enjoyment and interest in things that are on the more effort driven side. I can actually picture myself as a productive member of society! I also seem to learn and retain information more easily.

I had a therapy appointment today that was really intense. My therapist pushed me to buck up, be more confident and stand up for myself in social interactions 🥵. It was tough and I felt called out but I did my best to accept his advice and integrate it.

Day 4
Today was pretty routine. I made a few important calls, made an appointment, and did some career stuff. I also reached out to an old friend and had a pretty heartwarming interaction. I tried practicing some of the stuff I learned in therapy as well.
I'm still noticing positive effects from my games/social-media/tv hiatus, especially spiritually(I'm a Christian). I felt like my need to constantly watch content was getting in my way, especially since it wasn't good head food.

At this point, I'm free. and I'm more afraid of losing the freedom I've gained from the hiatus than I am of never seeing another television show again.

Edited by OptimisticMalcontent
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On 7/8/2020 at 4:44 PM, Tzen1 said:

Welcome to the forums @OptimisticMalcontent! This quote is one thing I wish I did when I first started. It was one of the most benefiting things I did for myself. So many stories I have missed out on and finishing a big book feels great. 

Thank you @Tzen1. I was a big reader as a kid (partially because we didn't have cable). Now that I'm on a media hiatus, I can feel that youthful and virtuous curiosity starting to come back.

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Day 5

I'm not going to lie, today has been pretty difficult. My truck died, so I'm left without a vehicle and the claustrophobia is setting in. Job search isn't going well either. Both of these things caused me to reflect on my feelings of loneliness, and it's pretty intense. Ordinarily, I'd submerge my malaise in videogames or streaming, but not being able to do that makes me realize how empty escapsim is.

Like I spent years staring at a screen while my youth ebbed way.

It's painful but it's the truth.

*Update
Rather than numb myself with media or wallow in self pity, I did something that would affect my situation positively. I tweaked my resume, tailored my cover letter, asked a friend for a referral and filled out a job app! Now I'm off to learn about color correction!

Edited by OptimisticMalcontent
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On 7/8/2020 at 4:16 AM, OptimisticMalcontent said:

1.Reading is a lot more appealing, and intense. The information is also easier to hold on to.

2.Tasks that seemed sooo mundane are way easier to get engaged in.

3. I've become a much better listener.

I've found that video games lead me to have considerable brain fog. Like I couldn't remember things well and I just felt less intelligent in general. 

 

1 hour ago, OptimisticMalcontent said:

but not being able to do that makes me realize how empty escapsim is.

Like I spent years staring at a screen while my youth ebbed way.

It's painful but it's the truth.

*Update
Rather than numb myself with media or wallow in self pity, I did something that would affect my situation positively. I tweaked my resume, tailored my cover letter, asked a friend for a referral and filled out a job app! Now I'm off to learn about color correction!

This is the right way to deal with feelings of loneliness and regret. It's going to feel lonely and empty sometimes. It's also going to be hard with the quarantine and technically you can't see friends right now anyways, but I urge you to stay strong and keep this attitude.

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4 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

I've found that video games lead me to have considerable brain fog. Like I couldn't remember things well and I just felt less intelligent in general. 

 

This is the right way to deal with feelings of loneliness and regret. It's going to feel lonely and empty sometimes. It's also going to be hard with the quarantine and technically you can't see friends right now anyways, but I urge you to stay strong and keep this attitude.

I don't think our brains were meant for 6-8 hours of maximum simulation 7 days a week. I'm also beginning to realize the importance of relationships. It seems like at they end of the day, they're the only thing that matters.

Thanks for all your detailed posts supporting and challenging us newbies

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54 minutes ago, OptimisticMalcontent said:

I don't think our brains were meant for 6-8 hours of maximum simulation 7 days a week. I'm also beginning to realize the importance of relationships. It seems like at they end of the day, they're the only thing that matters.

Thanks for all your detailed posts supporting and challenging us newbies

I agree. We need freedom. 

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Good job doing something positive for yourself in that tough situation. Relationships I believe are the biggest factor in happiness. So yeah they are what matters most in your happiness.

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Day 6

Today felt easier than the day before.

I'm currently taking a hiatus from digital media (screens basically) and doing the 90-day gaming detox.

I've been having a bit of trouble with the digital media detox. I put on a show for my brother to watch and ended up watching 7-8 minutes myself while I was (supposed to be) doing something else in the room. I've also been looking over his shoulder and watching/ listening to some of the youtube content he plays. I'm not going to lie... I feel a little guilty about that lol. I'll try to limit future transgressions to 2-3 minutes. My brother is a really productive guy, in fact his example was one of the reasons I decided to start my detox. But he seemed a bit tethered to his phone to my newly unencumbered eyes.

I'm a little more bored than usual, but I'm still reaping cognitive benefits from not sabotaging my brain with dopamine.

I've accomplished 1/3 of the Color Correction Course I'm taking on Skill share. I took notes and watched each video twice, and also practiced applying some of what I was taught. Took me 2.5 hours. Focusing that long before game quitters would have been a small miracle. I'm planning to create questions on Quizzlet and then link my questions and notes in the comments section for future viewers.

I had a great conversation with a group project partner from my entrepreneurship class last semester. He encouraged me and gave me tips on the job search and, I helped him out with a survey for his master's thesis project. He loved my answers and said that 'the way I put words together was magical.' This really made me happy as a writer/creative.

I'm thinking about what I want in terms of gaming long term. I just can't see it benefiting me over all. I have a younger cousin that I used to game a lot with. I even promised to get him a new w multiplayer battle royal game so we could play together once I have a full time job. Now I'm thinking I'll take him to the basketball court on Saturday morning and we'll run some drills instead.

My friend agreed to refer me to his company today. I'm encouraging myself to find a job by researching the car I want to drive once I get a full time job.

Sorry for the choppiness. I'm exhausted😅. Good night😪!

 

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Basketball sounds good. It's normal to see others as being glued to screens when you're detoxing. Try to just accept them as they are and do your own thing. Focusing on what you want to do is more productive than focusing on what you want someone else to do.

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Day 7*

Day 7 was good. Found myself connecting with family and old friends over the phone. I had a conversation with a friend who was working together with me on a video project before he gradated and left the city 6 months ago. We had only reached the conceptual phase of the product. Yesterday I was editing some footage he featured in and decided to give him a call. He was glad I called and we shared an intense conversation about the socio-economic race-wealth and equality gap. We later talked about continuing the project, and making it more raw and authentic. I was reluctant to call him because I felt like he was too 'cool for me' if that makes any sense. I also sometimes fear that people dislike me or want to avoid me. Its led me to let a lot of relationships die a slow death. I faced these feelings by calling him out of the blue and the pay-off was more than I could imagine. I spent the rest of the day making multimedia to support the project.  

Day 8
Today was a little different than usual. I got up around 5AM to help my dad with a task before he went to work. He had an accident in his vehicle and is forced to drive my younger brother's car while my brother works from home because of the quarantine. My brother doesn't maintain his car well, at all. There are multiple serious issues he's neglected to fix, because 'It's a cheap car, I'll just spend another $3K and replace it. Here's the list from most dangerous to least: No Anti-lock Breaks, Faulty Turn Signals, Windows don't work and are taped shut in +80 degrees F weather(No air condition either), Massive oil leak, Sun roof is broken and open. The result is my dad who's just over 60 years old having to drive this vehicle while boiling alive. I took it to the shop early that morning but they could only look at it and tell me to make an appointment for a later date. My dad hand waved it and said he'd be fine driving it until the weekend. I'm honestly distressed by it, but my mom and brother don't seem to be bothered... I just don't want him to get hurt.

Other than that, day was pretty good. Saw my therapist and got to surprise her with my gaming detox and media hiatus. She was thoroughly impressed. I also visited my ortho Dr. for my repetitive strain injury caused by gaming and things are looking good.

I had a cousin call me today for a favor. He's in the UK and asked me to register on a US stock platform so he could make trades in my name. He agreed to offer me a percentage as payment. Seemed a bit shady. A year or two ago I would have gone along with this because I just couldn't say no. Today I told him pretty clearly, "That doesn't sound like its for me." It's nice to see some growth.

I'm trying to be a bit more assertive, outgoing, and expressive in public as well so I'll see how it goes!

Thanks for reading!

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Day 9*

Thought I'd start the day out with a quote that stuck with me

The number of funerals is going up because of the Coronavirus. I find out about these funerals and invest in them - My younger brother describing his investment strategy

Today was mundane and unusual at the same time.

I spent the majority of my day helping my mom with mortgage paperwork. After that, I cleaned my bathroom. My younger brother had a hernia and I myself have had repetitive strain injury in my wrists which makes cleaning our shared bathroom difficult. The place was a mess and I couldn't take it anymore so I just started cleaning. Later, my mom showed up for help sending an attachment and helped me scrub the tub, which is the hardest task with RSI. Bathroom was practically sparkling and I'll be cleaning it weekly from now on along with my brother to keep it that way.

Still feeling bored at times, but that disappears once I really get engaged in a task. My younger brother caught me reading a martial arts book and praised me for keeping my gaming/media detox. I told him I'm glad it's changed me so much in 9 days, but I'm afraid to slide back into addiction/escapism. My brother suggested that I never consume digital media again, which seems a bit...extreme. My plan is to set up guidelines with my therapist so that I can learn to use media in more beneficial and healthy ways.

I'll be back this evening with day 10. Thanks for reading!

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20 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

Good job saying mo to your cousin. That's wicked fishy to me. I'm glad you are healing from your injury. 

@BooksandTreesThank you! I love the guy and his wife and my nieces and nephews, but he seems like the type you have to keep at arms length. Honestly, these are the hardest relationships. Where you know somebody 'cares' but they're likely to attempt to push your boundaries if you're not attentive.

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1 hour ago, OptimisticMalcontent said:

@BooksandTreesThank you! I love the guy and his wife and my nieces and nephews, but he seems like the type you have to keep at arms length. Honestly, these are the hardest relationships. Where you know somebody 'cares' but they're likely to attempt to push your boundaries if you're not attentive.

There's always someone like that in the family. Multiple even. 

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Day 10

Thought I'd start the day out with a quote that stuck with me

You've got what it takes! - My therapist encouraging me : D


Today was a tough one. Not really as productive as I would have like to be, browsed the internet more than I wanted to (but no social media), did job research but didn't put out application etc. 

Feel trapped by my lack of vehicle, finances, job, and professional experience... but I still have just the tiniest bit of faith.

 

Thank you for the support. I love you all!

 

Goodnight
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 0

Quote of the Day - With your personality, ability to work on a team, and motivation, you will definitely find a job - My Career Coach

Hey, guys. I'm back.

I RELAPSED

Around day 11 or day 12, I realized that I would never be able to play my favorite games again. I have a love hate relationship with these online games. They kept me sane during my traumas, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. But, ultimately, they added to my isolation. I changed so much during my 30 day media fast and 90 day detox, that I wondered if games and media-consumption were REALLY problems in my life... Jokes on me they were. 

I plan to continue my 90-day gaming detox today & use media with the following restrictions.

Hard limit of 30 minutes per day of media use for purely entertainment purposes. This includes music, television, movies, fun apps, and etc

Reddit

-No browsing Reddit (It's okay to use Reddit for research purposes or for solving problems but not for entertainment purposes. I can get wayyy to into Reddit to the point where I'm opening 15 tabs from the front page and reading all the comments)

-No Reddit YouTube videos (Reddit has videos which read you people's responses to different questions on R/Ask Reddit. These topics can range from people writing about near death experiences or funny pickup lines. I've always loved to hear other people's stories and I'll listen to these way more than I should, without gaining anything of substance. Therefore I choose not to engage with this aspect of Reddit. I'll substitute this for audio books and podcasts.)

Youtube

-This is a big one for me. I have a habit of caching videos so I can listen to them while I perform certain tasks. The problem is most of the things I listen to are not substantive and add very little value to my life while dragging me down. So I'll use more edifying material instead.

That's what I have so far. I'll report back and tweak things as I go along.

Thank you for reading!

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Welcome back. It's ok. Don't be too hard on yourself. Just write down what you learned and keep on experiencing it all. Not every part of the day needs to be meaningful and not every hobby needs to be impactful. Just keep scheduling yourself to do things in and out of the house around the times when you'd be browsing. It can be as simple as cooking or something.

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  • 5 months later...

Day 0 - Wrestling With God

Today has been... hard. I'm having issues at work and wanted to numb myself. I decided to order and Xbox controller to play games on my computer. Ultimately I made the right decision, cancelled the order and returned here to get a sense of accountability.

I graduated into the worst possible job market with a Masters degree in marketing. But, I did myself a disservice by not looking as hard as I could and settling for a retail job(which i took initially just to survive). I've also robbed myself of opportunities to learn and grow socially, creatively, and academically. I did this by avoiding dealing with my mental health issues and numbing them with vices instead. I've got a psychiatrist as well as a psychologist I see regularly, and to be honest, sometimes it feels like I'm fundamentally broken and no amount of therapy will fix that. Ouch, hurts to read that out loud. Maybe some of you have felt something similar?

The quote is from the Old Testament, in a story about Jacob, who wrestled with God(or an agent of God) in human form, demanding to be blessed. I'm not religious but I do pray and have a relationship with God. I felt like I could hear him  telling me not to get the controller. Not to game. That he has better things for me. I ordered it anyway, but ultimately that voice won out, and I cancelled it. 

Thank you for reading. And all the best on your own journey to seize the best years of your life.

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