[Media Meandry] Catching What’s Next

Throughout these essays where I’ve brainstormed while playing Pokémon LeafGreen, I’ve discovered realizations about videogame mechanics/stories I like and my motivations in life. I might not have realized half these were it not for this challenge of figuring out why I like or dislike certain things while playing. How will I apply these realizations? Besides playing more videogames with the leveling up mechanics I like and positioning myself toward a lifestyle that’s more predictably satiating?

I think it’s a matter of catching myself while I’m wasting time on things I don’t care about.

If the project is sufficiently satiating, I don’t mind spending hours on it. What I do mind, specifically in vocational work, is having such ambiguity that I don’t know whether I’m doing something right or not until I’m punished for having done it wrong. When there are no managers to ask, and we do what we think is best based on all possible evidence and information, only for it to be a later point of contention? That’s when morale drops. I’ve seen this countless times throughout my career. Technical support is difficult enough as it is when you’re just dealing with supporting the customers and technology, but when you have to support your managers as well?

That’s what I’ve been thinking about most while playing.

It’s not that I hate management. I can accept constructive criticism. I just do not like it when the rules of engagement are not clear. It’s like playing a videogame where the gameplay mechanics change randomly. How can you develop a routine if everything is subject to change without warning? Some people probably love that sense of not getting bored with their work. I hate it! I want something where, even if I have to remain completely focused on my job throughout my entire shift, everything is clear.

As it is now, my job was so stressful that of course my back got tweaked from it.

If I’m under constant psychological pressure from the customer, the technology, and management, of course I’m going to remain tense for far longer than I should. I have to meet certain thresholds from management or they talk to me about my performance. What they fail to look into is asking why something might have taken longer than usual. Not everything is easy, especially when you’re being metaphorically suffocated. It’s the environment I’ve signed into; that sort of Theory X mentality is self-fulfilling. If I, a Theory Y Employee, am constantly metaphorically beaten by a Theory X Manager, I will become a Theory X Employee and scoff at as much work as I can before I leave.

But that’s only half the story.

I’ll keep on playing LeafGreen until I finish it. I’ll use it as a reward for having done tasks that will help me achieve my goals in life, whether it’s writing essays or doing other things in life. This has been an effective goal for me lately, because I enjoy my time in the game, and left unchecked I can play for hours. But if I let myself jump in, even for a five-minute exploration, then that can help ease my anxieties in life going forward. I may start a thirty-minute reward timer either before or after I do a task. Meandering through the media reward can be effective in lifting my mood enough to complete the task, especially if I hold myself accountable for that pre-task indulgence.

I’ll continue writing essays like this based around my media consumption.

It won’t be a one-for-one for everything. Maybe I’ll lump shows into multi-episode blocks, and movies, I’ll split up for as long as I’m able to concentrate. Since videogames tend to be significantly longer, I figure jumping in to play and writing about what I thought will be an effective way to remain productive vocationally, avocationally, and recreationally, because if I’m not feeling well with my vocation, that will affect my avocation and my recreation.

I’ll binge-play videogames to escape from a terrible vocational situation.

If I can be more honest with myself in terms of why I’m doing what I’m doing, then I can catch myself quicker. Let’s say I’m in my third hour of playing LeafGreen one day. I’m not feeling good. Let’s say I think through all my problems. I might assess Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in my current situation. Are my physiological functions being met – am I hungry, thirsty, or in pain? Do I feel safe with where I am in life – or do I feel dread that something could be taken out from underneath me? Am I encountering any external doubt? Internal doubt?

If all these core functions are being met, am I self-actualizing?

Is this videogame, or whatever, fulfilling any inane drive for me? When I write, I feel a sense of self-actualization through the process where, maybe, someone out there will appreciate what I wrote. There are times when I resonate deeply with what I’ve realized through the writing process and I feel this sense of pride, not arrogance, but this feeling that I am doing good for myself through figuring out these pains and also for others that might be feeling these pains as well.

What’s next for me, then?

I’ll keep on writing as I do, but in looking at events more critically – more in terms of whether ‘this’ or ‘that’ will yield worthwhile writing material – then I can say to myself “I’m spending too much time on this thing that’s not benefiting me in any way.” I am not interested in impressing anyone in this life, so why would I do things that don’t make me, or those I care about, happy? I like doing nice things for others because I enjoy their positive reactions. If I can’t do stuff like that, stuff like writing essays like this, or writing fiction, then I’m wasting time. If playing videogames can help toward those goals, then catch me in-game.

If not, I’ll stop playing and move on.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: The title popped into mind and then I just jammed.
Related: Other Media Meandry essays.
Pokémon LeafGreen Series:
01 – “Easy Mode Living
02 – “Real Life Grinding
03 – “Had To Play
03.5 – “Fiction Inspiring Fiction
04 – “Videogames Aren’t Ambiguous
04.5 – “Level Up Yourself
05 – “Catching What’s Next
Screenshots: I just caught Nils-Snorlax and renamed the Gyardos to Josh-Gyarados. I have many more Pokémon that don’t have names based on characters from “The Story.” I’ll probably start naming them after minor characters before arbitrarily making up new characters… Maybe?
Written On: 2020 May 03 [12:51pm to 1:27pm]
Last Edited: 2020 May 03 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.