Sideways

Posted on November 17, 2012

13


I find I am having a hard time writing lately, and I desperately needed to get a few blogs ahead this weekend so I am not flailing to get one done every morning.

Lighter topics just don’t feel fun to write about at the moment (and they seem to get overlooked anyways), and I’m avoiding heavier topics because I don’t know how to say what’s on my mind while remaining purposefully vague. (I’m not generally opposed to being transparent, but due to career considerations, I have to be careful with specifics about my private life in such a public forum as everything I say can be held against me at some point.) A lot of the Lesson blogs I have written (and anything else in the “Deep Thoughts” category) aren’t regurgitated ideas from some book I read once; those are things I have worked out after much struggle. I’m certainly not trying to establish myself as some sort of guru. I find I am still struggling to figure out my place and purpose.

I got a sideways comment from someone I used to be acquainted with that hit me kinda funny recently. It’s the kind of comment from the kind of person that shouldn’t mean anything, but it got under my skin. I finally came to two conclusions.

1.) It isn’t really other people that hurt us; they only (seemingly) confirm our own doubts and fears of ourselves.

2.) There is still a part of me that doesn’t want to succeed.

My general lack of progress feels like a failure, in my book. I really wonder, as I take a look at my life, if I am doing what I should be doing. Is it enough? I’ve done okay with my profession, I guess, though if I were honest, it isn’t the field I really want to be in. Money is such a lame qualifier for… anything. It feels like, in all the areas that I profess to be meaningful, these are not the areas I am excelling in. The one thing I am focusing on feels like it’s just rolling backwards, and a well placed crack at my apparent lack of progress hit me right in the gut.

It is easy to try to smooth it over and say I am way ahead of other folks my age or that my hinderances were out of my control, but 1.) I don’t make excuses for myself and 2.) I’m not comparing myself to anyone else. Maybe I am too hard on myself or have unrealistic expectations, but I have an idea of my head of where I should be based on potential; it just isn’t the reality.

The Geek Anthropologist wrote a blog a little while back about why people get lost in video games and how to apply those same principles to real life. Not a new concept, I think even IGN did an article on this recently, but it is one I always found interesting, as someone who once got lost in Warcraft, a few years ago. The gist: it’s a lot easier to see progress in a game environment. You do something, you get XP (the de facto abbreviation for experience points) and once you have enough XP, you advance or “level up”. (Ding!) Even a game like The Sims, where you can live a simulated life that awkwardly resembles your own, progress = a fixed amount of time or effort.

Life is hardly that arbitrary. Translating that visually gratifying effect of achievement to real life can be difficult.

But I’ve at least gotten to the point where I know dwelling on my shortcomings isn’t going to accomplish anything. Pride compounds upon itself, if you let it. It was pride that held me back in the first place, and it’s pride now that points a finger. I won’t gloss over my failures, but if I can’t forgive myself at face value and move on, it genuinely will trip me up to a point I could never make a comeback from. I still have time to regroup and repush… the question is how to make so many changes at the right time while maintaining momentum.

I’ll follow up to this later. I’m going to publish this before I change my mind and delete it. 😉

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Posted in: Deep Thoughts