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DAILY MANIFESTO

Editor's Corner: Have You Played Life Like a Game?

Posted on Tuesday, July 15 @ 23:27:04 Eastern by


I recently had some major changes in my life and each of them rocked me in different ways. You could say one acted as if it were an explosion that rocked everything backwards violently before courteously allowing everything to come back together. You could say another has slowly crept up on me over the years, especially in those moments you wake up out of the moment, into the next and the only thing you're left to realize is that you've wasted two moments.

I've panicked. I've gotten frustrated. I had a few months where road rage was my middle name in the only way screaming and cursing at the top of my lungs in the middle of downtown traffic could name someone. At least, I'm sure it got a few people to notice me and in that way I think I took it on as a title.

Thankfully, each of these issues has improved over time with a little dedication and my repeated attempts to organize thought processes in a way that made sense in my immediate reality. I play a lot of video games, so it makes sense that I could compartmentalize aspects of my daily life where, maybe I didn't earn a wanted level or a high score but I did bring things together and deal with them in faster, more efficient ways.

A lot of this had to do with awareness above anything else. With traffic or even comments from BigTruckSeries... who seems to have multiplied, I had to allow myself to understand and accept that things would never change, that these would certainly never change based on my input or action, that the best thing I could do was accept and understand what was really going on. The traffic wasn't going to stop me from getting to my destination, but it was going to keep me from getting as immediately as I would have liked.

Comments will always provide a few opportunities for anger, but I think the GameRevolution community largely deals with trolls and other less than savory users with class. I like to that that comes from having video game culture and knowing what's good and what's bad in this industry, but I think it has more to do with being human.

So anyway, I'm trying to ride my bicycle more, get out of the house more often, and generally treat each moment of the day as an understanding between me and time, or death, or Fred Flinstone, or whoever you're most afraid of in any given moment of the day. You want to think Fred won't ever blow his gasket at Wilma, but he does and then they have an entirely different set of problems so... this doesn't even make sense. Why are you comparing yourself to death or Fred Flinstone in the first place?

Life doesn't have a meter for special attacks where you get all your shit done in an hour. You can't enter a cheat code to sift through e-mail and you can't let Google drive your car for you (yet), so instead you have to tackle each moment like it really matters. But what does that even mean?

It can be easy to enter a cheat code that promises you a slightly longer lunch break or the few minutes it takes to brush your teeth in the morning by making that stuff habit, but how do you keep building habits on top of those? How do you layer habits? I'll tell you:
  • Games typically offer up achievements or trophies for accomplishments but that's not going to happen in your every day life. Instead, you have to create those rewards for yourself. You have to tell yourself what you need to do before you play a game or before you spend $30 at the movie theater... like, you know, pay the bills.
  • Once you know what you have to do, make the regular stuff into nearly habitual routine. You have to tell yourself that doing the dishes or taking out the garbage doesn't have to be a last-second thing. Knowing that you can take care of A, B, and C all at once will allow more time for the things you love in the end anyway. Keeping it all straight gets harder as you add on more steps or as you further the routine to accomplish goals.
  • This kind of theory can even be applied to video games. If you know you have several games to play, focus on one. Beat it. Get to the credits. Do whatever you gotta do with that one game before you say you need to throw another disc in the drive. This is particularly difficult as more consoles and devices get hard drives that allow you to switch between games without getting off the couch.
  • How about grocery shopping? Do you throw away food? It really, really sucks when you have to waste money (and more importantly time... think about how much time you spend earning that money!) Next time you go to the grocery store, try going with just a few menu items, like the meals you know you have to cook for Wednesday night and leftovers on Thursday. Know what you need for those, but try leaving room for yourself to buy other things, like whatever fruit is actually fresher. I know it sounds dumb, but you might actually find that you enjoy grocery shopping more and you have a better appreciation for the things you're picking up and taking home at the store.
I guess if you've read this far, you've probably given yourself enough time to browse GameRevolution at work or sitting at home ignoring the video game you could be playing. Good for you, now get back to it.
Tags:   Editor's Corner
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