Life, the Adventure – Self-reflection

This post is something that’s been rattling around in my head for some time, but one that obviously hasn’t gotten proper attention until this point. Suffice it to say, some of the words have likely gotten lost or replaced. So it goes.

I have, in the past year or so, come to the following conclusion:

Simply put, life is an adventure. We are all equipped to some degree or another, ready to go forth and save our proverbial kingdoms by way of conquering goals, realizing (and, at times, rescuing) dreams, and slaying our own personal dragons and demons. Looking at anyone who has succeeded thoroughly and undeniably at their life’s quest, it seems like everything should be a linear series of steps forward. It’s also the easiest way to tinge your view with envy, fill your head with frustration, and make your heart ache for a place where you may not yet be – not out of personal failures, but because you simply haven’t arrived there yet.

When I think about life as an adventure, especially with regards to my writing, I find myself oftentimes discounting the steps back. The setbacks. The unexpected mishaps and misfortunes.

Life is an adventure, but hardly a linear one. The path may be blocked or broken, with long and circuitous detours waiting just out of sight. The weather will not always be fair, and the wind will not always be at your back. Sometimes – yes, sometimes – the dragons win and the demons get their time to gloat, but still I continue.

I have been ruminating on a lot lately. Some more personal than I’m willing to share here, and some that’s simply my want to become something with my writing while not making nearly enough time to actually complete my writing.

This is my reminder that the goalposts in the distance – the castle to rescue, the dragons to slay, the victories to be achieved – are all still very much in the distance, and the only way I will ever find my way there is if I stop letting my self-doubt, anger, and frustration stand as walls in my path.

Breathe. One foot, then the other, moving inexorably forward.

I can do this. I simply have to do this, if only for me.

And so it goes: surviving stress…sort of

I figured this post could use as much punctuation in its title as possible, and also I forgot about having to write a post still because I worked the closing shift at work and had all sorts of other things on my mind. None of those things are worth mentioning.

It is, however, worth mentioning that this week has kicked my ass in a way that makes me hesitate to sit down, albeit not in a literal sense. There have been plenty of problems and surprise-issues and so on and so on. I am, surprisingly, the least stressed about these things that went wrong that I have been in a long time. It’s uncharacteristic of me, but also extremely liberating. In a moment of I-wish-I-were-joking so profoundly stupid it might make at least one person’s head explode, the biggest concern on my mind is “I’d really like to get some more time to play Five Nights At Freddy’s”. This is because I’m still stuck on Night 4, and so help me God I’m going to beat that ****ing game. You’re on notice, Bonnie. No more sneaking into my goddamn office and murdering me. Subsequent thoughts are focused on wondering why places like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell don’t deliver this late at night, as I am both hungry and lazy.

These thoughts are worthy of note because I’m normally, especially during stressful weeks, prone to dwelling on shit like it’s not only my job, but my job, my favorite hobbies, and a surprisingly effective form of nourishment. I am so far removed from feeling stressed that being stressed and I presently exist in two separate dimensions.

I’m also tired, I still feel sick, and I have some more cleaning to do before tomorrow morning, so that’s enough of this post.

Phil’s Official Writing Challenge Guidelines

I would have titled this “How to Write In Ways That Will Make You Feel Like Your Soul is Dying”, but I realized that might be a hair melodramatic. Special thanks go to my college pal Andrew Webb for texting me last night with the following texts, as he was inadvertently responsible for this topic.

Phil, I have done a terrible job with writing since I stared working full time, how do you do it?”

I responded by saying I force myself to find time every day to write, even if it’s just a little. If I get stuck working on one thing, I focus on something else. Above all else, it’s important to find time for writing. That resulted in this response:

Do you force yourself to a genre or anything goes including journaling?

My phone had conveniently been switched to Do Not Disturb mode by that point, however, because I had to be awake at 6a.m. and those texts first arrived after 12:30 last night. Feeling somewhat guilty for not answering, and finding this to be a good blogging opportunity, I decided to give a long-form answer in the form of a proper writing challenge anyone can hold themselves to (for the sake of self-destruction, really). Keep in mind that I may be a subject matter expert of sorts, but I am by no means a be-all, end-all source of wisdom on writing and so this is mostly just issuing a challenge to help writing in the same way I’ve been keeping up with my writing. Feel free to adjust it in ways, and let me know what works best for you in the comments below. It can be a sort of note-comparing among creative folks who also like finding their limits and then using those limits to inflict torment upon themselves. I’m joking, mostly.

Also, I really should note how much of a gigantic ego-boost it is to have people asking me advice on writing. Holy shit, folks, that is awesome. Right. Moving on… Continue reading

All Aboard the Hype Train – FNAF Edition

Naturally, the best way to approach this horrible idea was to buy all three games.

Naturally, the best way to approach this horrible idea was to buy all three games.

Happy Easter, or happy Sunday if Easter isn’t applicable. Either way, I hope you’re all having an at least moderately enjoyable weekend. I’m distracting myself with buffalo chicken dip as I write this, so there are no complaints here.

Instead of dancing around today’s topic, let me get to the point: I finally caved and bought the Five Nights At Freddy’s (FNAF for short) trilogy (or, rather, the three games that presently exist in a series that could continue) on Steam. I’ve mentioned, at least on two occasions, that I have a strange fascination with these games and how much of a following they’ve accrued, but I’m also terribly susceptible to jump scares. Not exactly the makings of a good purchase, so I instead lived vicariously through YouTube videos of people playing FNAF. After multiple viewings of Markiplier swear-babbling his way through all three games, as well as seeing The Completionist’s videos on this trilogy, I finally decided to take a chance at being the night shift security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Continue reading

And so my vacation countdown begins

Yes, I know I sort of started said countdown already, but the official marker of “I’m almost on vacation” is really that I have one workweek between me and freedom. It’s not even a vacation about the destination so much as it is just not being at work for a week (and a few extra days), as I have reached a level of fried that is typically reserved for batter-smothered Oreo cookies and overheated hard drives. Sadly, I’m really proud of that joke because it came to me naturally despite my brain being all liquefied and so on. I’m constantly somewhere between high-strung and ready to pass out, which probably isn’t particularly healthy.

Thinking forward to vacation and bypassing this upcoming week, however, has also created something of a conundrum. In the same way many people yearn for the next weekend, I’m wishing away much of next week (including the drive to Pittsburgh next Thursday, which is further complicated by the Carnegie on and off ramps being closed on the Parkway; thanks for that, PennDOT) for the sake of next week, which could be excellent or terrible. It’s still just potential. I mean, I know seeing my family for the first time since Christmas will be fantastic and all, but there’s no guarantee the other bits of my vacation will have been worth this wishful bit of time traveling. That’s one whole week of time, complete with possible and probable good experiences, that I’m attempting to will out of existence. That, too, is probably not very healthy. There’s a lot to be said on the way many people live for two days of the week and exist the other five in hopes of making it to those two previously mentioned ones. On a related note, I’m beyond ready for my next tattoo…so that’s probably a strong indication that an addiction is a-brewin’.

Defending my wishes to bypass next week, and all of the hideous responsibilities it threatens, are the following: Jason, my brother-paladin, and Chrisy, my New Yorker sister who has accomplished far more than I ever will, are going to be home when I am. I will also get a chance to see my grandma, possibly my father, and some other relatives, so that, too, is wonderful. There will be much reading and writing in the later hours of downtime. At some point, I need to make stuffed french toast because cooking for people is loads of fun. I can’t, therefore, be completely damned for looking forward to these wonderful times, even if the bulk of my actual vacation will be spent cleaning up my apartment because there’s still shit in boxes from the move.

Ultimately, I’m going to get through the bad parts of this upcoming week by reminding myself of how much fun I’ll have with my family (and thinking about the impending Comedy = Tragedy + Time tattoo). I also vow to enjoy the good next week brings, no matter how limited it may be. Makes for a bit of a win-win situation until I’m on vacation, I think.

 

A return to making it a great week

I’ll not mince words: this week has been pretty Hellish in terms of stress, but I can’t really say much regarding that because a lot of it is my usual introspective bullshit mixed with my capacity for building vast ranges of mountains out of a single molehill.

The good news: I managed to take a nap earlier, and it was glorious…and it gave me time to think things over after waking up, which is that precious time when I have clarity but not so much stress. Good times. Granted, that’s also the window I’m most likely to fall back to sleep in, but now I’m just over-complicating things.

A while back, I posted about my District Leader and his end-of-conference-call mantra of “Go out there and make it a great week”. It’s easy to lose sight of that as a goal, and so I think I need to make it a point to sit down every Sunday (which, really, isn’t so much the end of the weekend so much as the start of a new, potentially promising or terrible week) and put together a list of things that I’m going to try doing to make it a great week. These aren’t goals that must be accomplished, but possible steps towards furthering myself and my week in a positive way. They could be as simple as writing down five things I’m happy about with myself at that particular time to larger changes such as, say, cleaning up the house or whatever. The rewards are built into the actions, making this even better.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have two more posts to write before I go to bed tonight because I’m a self-destructive jackass.

A much-dreaded holiday rant

I’m about to get a little soap-boxy, people, but I think the title said all that and more. All the same: brace yourselves. It may get a little preachy up in this here blog post.

Christmas season is in full swing. Yards, houses, street signs, and every imaginable surface is bedecked with bright and brilliant lights, holly and garland, and will soon be a January-long reminder that maybe a little less could be considered more for Christmas next year. If nothing else, it has definitely reached that point where everyone seems to be getting progressively more frazzled. Listen closely, and beneath the jingling bells and choirs of angels you, too, may hear the sound of fraying nerves ready to snap at any moment. I can relate. There are a lot of gifts to remember to purchase at the last minute, wrap, rewrap, get drunk while wrapping for a third time, and so on. That’s probably not the most common experience so much as a crippling reminder that I am utterly incompetent at preparing gifts, actually. Continue reading