I use escapist media most effectively to augment or de-escalate the emotions I’m feeling. If I’m feeling indifferent, finding something that reinvigorates my interests helps. If I’m angry, something to blow off steam helps. I like finding some new world to get lost in, and when I can name those sensations or at least approach that naming, I can quietly think, ‘yeah, let me just go punch a whole bunch of flowers for a while.’
In Project Winter, you can mine for resources, like flowers.
As I read through the tutorials, I realized there was much more I wanted to learn than I wanted to do in a free-weekend romp, and I’m not interested in dragging down a multi-player team by just getting up to some wild hijinks, so I was ready to uninstall it. It was that sort of frustrated mood, where I wake up to feeling not-quite-pain but not-quite-comfortable where you’re impatient, that I found myself in as I booted into the tutorial stage I could play around in. In these stages, you can break whatever you want and it won’t affect others.
We don’t have many avenues for that in life.
At work, we have to work within rigid frameworks. It’s all so stifling for me. What I like about writing is that I can approach an idea from any angle, use any word or concept at my disposal, and mostly arrive at something decent. I don’t always write good essays, but overall, I’m happy enough with them. I don’t get that same pleasure from going into work or even my work-from-home situation. Is that a general satiation in life that I reach after building up enough of a nest-egg to where I don’t have to worry about bills for a good few months?
It’s like the low-level game challenges that add a new dynamic to old favorites.
A game like EarthBound can be made trivial just by level grinding for maybe 30-minute bouts throughout the game. If you don’t do that, which I haven’t done yet, I’ve seen speedrunners scathe by challenging obstacles. If I use that analogy for life, I’m not sure how interested I am in living an easy life. It’s not that I want a low-level lifestyle, but if I can minimize lifestyle overheads, then I can reduce stress in other areas of life.
My biggest stressor, causing me to want to punch virtual flowers the most, is work.
I had two honest conversations with management yesterday. The work itself isn’t substantially different, but I’m encountering physical pain because of the work. Whether the pain is caused directly because of ergonomic inconveniences or indirectly because of the weight of stress on my shoulders, upper/lower back, and therefore head… it’s still there. I’ll receive a phone call from a telephone-based doctor about my new and old symptoms and we’ll talk about ways I can reduce my pain sensations, whether that means medication, short-term leave, or long-term leave.
I would talk to Doctor-Number-Nine… but, you know…
My lower back has ranged in pain from being a mild nuisance to being an overwhelming pain. Yesterday, I had a pang ring out on the left side of my head for enough time to where, months ago when I first experienced that pain, I would have been worried. Now, I just wonder how much long-term damage that’s doing. This was sitting in the chair ergonomically fit for me at work, ergonomically fit for me months ago, under only mildly stressful circumstances. I’ve been thinking a lot about something Doctor-Number-Nine said off-hand during our conversation. He wondered if my job was too stressful. I was quick to say no, but after meditating on it over these past few months, I would have to say, yes.
Until I can make a career as a writer, I’d like a boring job.
When I called to schedule my appointment for -Thirteen, I noticed that the rep I talked to was just following scripts. He could have had it memorized. When I thanked him for his time and politeness, he didn’t respond with a ‘thank you,’ but instead hung up the phone. That sort of robotic work might do me well for a while since I don’t like working under vague uncertainties that change frequently. ‘Changes of the week’ are fine if those updates are clear, but if the changes occur daily under poor communication, it’s difficult to follow even when my head isn’t taking up my primary focus.
When it is, I can’t concentrate on anything I’m not interested in.
Pushing through that disinterest to concentrate on what I must do to complete a task has surely caused me a minority, if not more, of my headaches. Since my lifestyle has mostly stabilized from a financial perspective, the appeal of a paycheck and benefits has interested me less, so now I’m just stuck, daily, thinking about whether I’d spend the day going to work to get money to add to the bank account or doing things to progress my chances of living a lifestyle I’d prefer. No matter how I try to juggle both, where I might borrow time occasionally on breaks, “breaks,” or lunch to work on my self-actualization, I feel stifled.
Feeling professionally stifled is fine when the work is easy.
It’s nice to go home and not think about work. When I have more challenging work, I’ll invariably, involuntarily loan out parts of my imagination to work, leading me to later frustration when I’m stuck at home working for free. Maybe I can only work from home so long before those disparate thoughts, which should remain disparate, combine? Maybe my back can only take so much stress from thinking so quickly about so many weird scenarios, which is required for my current job? Maybe I just need to get into more games and punch more flowers and random things to relieve stress? Maybe I need an extended vacation from being a career-oriented, responsible professional?
Maybe all of the above?
|Sources: My personal and professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: Exploring my thoughts on my current events, which I suppose is becoming a multi-essay narrative, but this is how I address issues in my life.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters. I suppose Media Meandry as well.|
|Screenshot: One of my favorite screenshots from Project Winter.|
|Written On: 2020 April 24 [1:20am to 2:04am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 April 24 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|