Lessons from a Game

http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/game-compulsion-part-3

I highly recommend watching the video linked above because otherwise the following post won’t make a lot of sense. Also, the entire series is just amazing and really discusses the significance and amazing power and potential of the video game medium. Moving on…

I have been fortunate enough to have just graduated from a postgraduate program from a recognized university. I say fortunate because of the opportunity provided from chance of birth into a country where such a possibility exists and to a family that cared to some degree about academic performance. Beyond those factors, I still worked my ass off (not literally unfortunately) in school to be able to obtain what I have. Of course, now I come to the cliched crossroads of not quite knowing where to go from here. I have followed the path I was supposed to by doing well in school, going to college, and even going beyond a BA. Granted I know studying the Humanities does not compare to obtaining a degree in the hard sciences, but there were supposedly to be some options. Now, I don’t know what to do because for the first time there is not a prescribed set plan.

I have tried to obtain employment in a myriad of fields and have been thus far rejected without any real reason other than the standard HR email. My peers, at least those few who I still on occasion speak to or see on a Facebook feed, seem to be leading productive or at the very least fulfilling lives. I don’t know if that is merely their choice in pictures or updates that gives this illusion or if they really do have their shit together. If so, I would much rather they post how they did that instead of the plethora of baby pictures, vacation photos, and random passive aggressive updates that no one understands. (Hmm…maybe those last individuals are not as together as I thought).

So in connection with the video posted above, seriously watch it, I fully understand the odd feeling of being totally lost. As a child, I had a projection of what I thought I wanted to do with my life, who I wanted to be, and what I wanted my life to be. For the most part, those seemingly foolish ideas never really altered. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a set plan or way to achieve those childish dreams. If you want to be a rocket scientist, you study rocket science in college and try to get a job as a rocket scientist, If you dreamed of being a gymnast, then you train your ass off to be a gymnast and see if you are skilled enough to compete and excel. I don’t really know how to obtain my dreams especially facing a not so insignificant amount of student loan debt. For those about to chastise me, it should be noted I maintained a 3.75 GPA or above and worked a full time job while attending college throughout grad school and also received grants/scholarships but school, especially a good one, is expensive.

So really at this point the purpose is to find and do something to achieve money and probably end up doing/being something that I may not want to in order to pay off shit. Is that all life has to offer now? The video linked discusses this concept in connection with video games and I can definitely relate to the experience of satisfaction and completion when playing video games. I suppose this rather long rant is, if boiled down, a fear of purposeless and worthlessness. After all, what have I really done and what can I possibly accomplish with the weight of my past choices quite literally following me around?

Older people at a certain age tend to become nostalgic for the good ole’ days. The common response from younger individuals, aka my generation, is “yeah it was awesome if you were a white, straight male”. Which admittedly is pretty true, but I think that criticism is too simplistic. Perhaps it is not the racism, sexism, gayism, etc. that these individuals miss, but the certainty of purpose and identity that the past held for them. They had a job to do, a family to care for, and various, admittedly external, stimuli and actions that gave them a purpose that is now kind of lost. Everything is now in constant flux with technological advances and major social upheavals that it is difficult to really put down roots and find a role in a community, much less in life. 

Obviously, these constant changes are not inherently bad, but they are at times nerve racking. I suppose all one can do is adjust or go the way of the dinosaurs. I wish I could end on a positive not here, but frankly that is not my current mind state and I am not really sure what a positive would sound like for this issue, so….

I apologize for the random and rather somber nature of this post. I realize I am kind of using this as a space for collecting my thoughts without any real major theme or thread. So I guess this is like some sort of journal or diary. Don’t know if that will change. Might try something different for the next post.

 

The Sentry Gathers…

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2 thoughts on “Lessons from a Game

  1. At the risk of using the word “meta,” this post was meta. To understand the “meat and potatoes” of the post, I needed to watch a video hosted on Penny Arcade, which is a webcomic notorious for humor being dependent on hyperlinked material. Whoa.

    I can definitely empathize with the pervasive feeling of meaninglessness, lost direction, etc. But being lost is a common problem and so the solution, while one that will need tailoring, should also be fairly common.

    Consider getting lost on the road. 1. Stubbornly, a man might deny (or internally accept) being lost and continue to push through until he finds the highway or runs out of gas. So you might embrace your feeling of loss and meaninglessness by pushing forward without a clear idea of how to get “there.”
    2. Humbly, a man might pull off to a gas station and ask for directions. Here, you might seek guidance from those who know this neck of the woods better; find people who have been lost and found their way out, be those people holy men, former grad students, etc.
    3. Defeated, a man might pull off to the side of the road and wait to die. This is probably the scenario outlined in the game compulsion video, a retreat from the world.
    4. Joyfully, a man can realize that his destination is meaningless itself but it is the roadtrip that matters. So, apply where you can, get drunk so often it doesn’t interfere with other aspects and celebrate that you are alive. Because even though your post ends on a somber note, it began with a grateful one: “I am fortunate….”

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