[Media Meandry] Focus On Something

When life has been its most difficult for me, where I can’t even find relief within rest, where all I do is wake up to whatever is tormenting me, those are the times where I find it most productive to focus on something. Anything. Just to calm my restless mind. It’s helpful for me if that something is more instantaneous. The less of myself and my situation I have to think about the better overall.

I’ve found videogames to be the most helpful for overwhelming situations.

I suppose that’s why we play videogames, somewhat. When life is good, we might meander through videogame stories or gameplay to augment our realities with fun adventures. When life is bad, we might rather meander through videogame stories or gameplay to forget about our own realities. I think the only problem is excess. I played Gems Of War here for nearly four hours today. That’s excessive, yes, but when faced with a three-pipe problem, or here a four-hour problem, then sometimes that’s fine.

This morning’s essay is about the media; tonight will be about the malaise.

I’ve wondered, as I’ve gone through recovering my life again after my spine problems are now at a point where a daily tailbone problem and overall lack of physicality are the worst of my problems, how can I restore the vocational, avocational, and relaxation balance in my life? That I’m even asking this question is a good start. One must work in this society [I wanted to write corrupt before society, so I’ll write it after]. Avocation refers to hobbies or things that help self-actualize. Relaxation is what we do to manage the stress of life and our vocations.

One might ideally suppose the ideal job balances all three.

I think an ideal job might allow for two of those three to happen simultaneously. A relaxing vocation would be one where the stress of life and work don’t interrupt matters. An avocational vocation might be like my writing aspirations – if I wrote fiction and were paid for it, then I’d cover my obligations to society and self. I suppose there are stressful avocations, such as if you’re studying for something complex, or, stressful videogames without rewarding the stress.

When my life feels upended, that’s when I’m more likely to want to meander through media.

Relieving mental stress in that form is where everything about the current situation goes onto my mind’s backburner to simmer, as I did today when after being completely overwhelmed, I went to sleep, woke up immediately to the same thoughts, but with more clarity of mind, and allowed myself the time to explore where it wanted to go. When I worked the night shift of my first job, one of my coworkers introduced me to Bejeweled. It, along with 2048, served as worthwhile timesinks, but only to an extent. I found that if I didn’t play with a purpose, like I did today to let my mind settle its restlessness, or if I needed to think through a problem so I wanted to play some casual puzzles, then I would dump hours of time into either game.

Videogames should, sometimes, help fix three-pipe problems.

They might be the relaxation pipe, where thinking about the vocation and avocation might be the other two pipes, or maybe it’s something else. I think having a little time daily for videogames is something that will be helpful for me, since even now in my long-term disability, I’m dealing with extreme stress from my own body to all the companies that- well, that’s for the next essay. I shouldn’t overdo it, though. I’ve been playing Viridi almost every day for months now and it’s a nice little calming escape throughout the day.

I’ve been playing Chip’s Challenge but it sure isn’t a relaxing puzzle game.

Will Gems Of War join those other games in my daily rotation? If the “puzzle of the day” in Chip’s Challenge, since I only play one puzzle per day, is too overwhelming, would I skip over to Gems Of War? Well, then I won’t be able to practice the mental endurance of dealing with frustrating puzzles. On days where I don’t feel like practicing that, I shouldn’t. I think, though, that as I try to get my life back on track, I should allow myself more room for relaxation.

For one, I’ve been doing that by not constantly feeding my mind information.

Throughout each day, I’ll allow myself the time to sit in the moment, where, in previous months or years, I wouldn’t or compulsively couldn’t. While I’m waiting for some food to cook in my skillet, rather than look at my smartphone to keep mentally focused, I will rather let my mind wander – including there, where I let a mild distraction interrupt my writing for less than a minute.

My mind sometimes has a problem with detaching from difficult problems.

Whether it’s something at work or in my writing avocation or even in a videogame, those thoughts linger longer than I imagine they do for most people. I don’t know why, and I’m not sure how much this has negatively impacted my life – probably significantly – but I don’t know how to fix it, short of implementing changes like this. Adding more time throughout each day as almost like a mental buffer to process thoughts or even just to be ‘bored’ and adding more deliberate relaxation time should help.

I find it hard to relax, though.

I always want to be moving onto the next thing. Today, for example, I spent most of the day ‘not being productive.’ Well, I’m on long-term disability and there’s a pandemic going on, so these aren’t the ideal conditions to ‘live my best life,’ but rather to practice holding my life together when everything seems to fall apart. Like now. I thought I was going to be able to sit through this entire essay without my tailbone hurting.

I guess I’m pushing through the pain yet again just existing.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I suppose I always like writing about what I’m doing as a way to practice my writing each day. I wouldn’t say that writing – an avocational activity – is the same as “just existing,” but the pain happens regardless of what I do, so I might as well be productive, right? Well, sometimes that’s a bad habit to get into.
Related: Other Media Meandry essays. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Screenshot: I didn’t have a good shot in-game, so I booted into the game, into my next level, and after taking the screenshot, thought about playing “just one game.” That’s how they get you in. This game is also a free-to-play game with lootbox “pay-to-win” bonuses. I’m rarely interested in any of the loot they offer, so there’s no point in that for me. But I will say that despite all of my addictive tendencies, I did avoid playing “just one game.” Good on me for that.
Written On: 2020 October 16 [10:24pm to 10:56pm]
Last Edited: 2020 October 16 [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.