[Tripping On…] Easy Mode Living

My mind was so taxed that I spent hours – although not as many as this screenshot would suggest – enraptured in Pokémon LeafGreen. The idea crept in quickly. I stayed up too late playing. However, the need to play was so fierce that I had to comply. Were I not, then that harmless vice of playing videogames for some hours might be usurped by more dangerous vices. How can I play videogames… while still living my life?

Short answer: Budget my time to allow for videogaming.

The real answer is asking the question, “why do I want to escape into a videogame?” The last time I played a Pokémon game, I was similarly under the weather, and I remember getting bored and applying some cheats that gave me 99 level 99 Blastoises, or something like that, and through that simplistic escape, I must have felt better overall about the situation I was in.

My situation now is not that much better, so I can see why I returned.

I am acting toward fixing my current situation since I haven’t been able to row in too many days because my back has been too fragile. I think a majority of that is related to my current stresses, and so by playing games, that’s my way of avoiding those stresses, even if I write about how I felt later on like I am now. I thought of doing a Nuzlocke-style playthrough but after naming my Pokemon after characters in “The Story,” and seeing the Pikachu-Named-Sammohini defeated in a trivial battle I was too arrogant about, I decided not to do so. I will probably proceed with playing through the game just as a sort of fun exercise in re-exploring the past through a new lens, since I only played the original and not this “new” version, but I will do so responsibly.

I put in my notice to leave my job.

If I can point to anything in my life right now causing so much anxiety, it would be my job, and there’s a point especially with current events where I can’t benefit from fighting through the anxiety just to make it through a workweek. I’m on a beta-blocker which stabilizes my mood. That doesn’t help. I’m using every stretch I know and yet my back is still sore. I’m using every de-escalation technique I know to address the stress, and yet my stress is still at all-time highs.

I played Pokémon after taking too much diphenhydramine and I was not tired at all.

That session did let my spine relax long enough to recover from its days-long pain, but it’s still alarming to me that my body can essentially operate under that much stress for so long. It’s escalated quickly over the past few weeks. As I’ve written about in rowing essays, my spine curved enough to cause the start of my pains, and then proceeded to become unbearable days later.

I fear future career uncertainty more than current career certainty.

The work itself hasn’t become more difficult, but the expectations have increased such to the point where it’s becoming increasingly harder to do anything without worrying about making mistakes. We have work-from-home freedom now so we’ve been entrapped by new restrictions. It’s too much. I can’t handle the pressure anymore, so I’ve decided it’s best if I recover through the worst of my physical reactions to stress, and get on more solid ground. I don’t mind starting over again somewhere else, or having significantly less time throughout the day to write, but it has to be better than how I’ve been feeling.

Over the past four days, I only felt good about twelve hours of it?

12.5% isn’t a good percentage of feeling at all decent. That may be skewed to include sleeping time, but the necessity or inability to sleep is largely dependent on one’s life circumstances. If I’m feeling good in life, the need for escapist activities is less than when I’m not feeling good. So when I play games like Pokémon seemingly out of the blue, then I shouldn’t take that as a random happenstance, I should try to ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. Why play Pokémon? I’m already playing FF7, and soaking it in at my pace.

Pokémon, then, represents my need for wanting to live life playing on easy mode.

What I should do, then, is figure out ways to live life easier within my current means so I don’t need to worry about taking high-stress work. Even with the economy as bad as it is with COVID-19 locking down many non-essential jobs, I feel like there will be enough work in the future, even if it’s not directly where I want it to be. If not, and let’s say that I have to burn through a majority of my savings, then I’ll move somewhere cheaper, all the while figuring out my options. I may be able to take an extended leave, although if my job is causing me this much strain, is it really polite to string them along for the potential chance that things could improve?

I would rather gamble on better than accept mediocrity.

Many people would love my job, but I do not. I started off liking it but then with all the stipulations and redtape, it slowly became stifling for me. If I can find any work where I can maintain an even-keel or even do something I like, or gasp, love, then I wouldn’t have to worry so much about figuring out ways to escape reality. But since we’re here, where my back pain probably is caused by work necessitating extreme focus on esoteric concepts and possibly career ennui, here we are, considering quitting at a potentially bigger economic collapse than the 2008 Recession. All I’ve gotta say to that is ‘yeah? I’ll figure out a solution to that. I’m not beholden to any identity or process that doesn’t suit me.’

Sometimes, you’ve gotta live a little hard to live easy.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: Thinking about life and why we do what we do.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters. I suppose Media Meandry as well.
Screenshots: Modified with the title.
Written On: 2020 April 23 [From 1:18am to “dependent on one’s life circumstances” at 1:37am. From 1:44am to “What I should do, then, is figure out ways to live life easier” at 1:45am. From 4:05am to 4:12am. Gdocs.]
Last Edited: 2020 April 24 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second 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.