Age has quelled my lust for power. The two MMOs I continue to play are games in which numbers are of secondary concern. Guild Wars 2 offers moderately entertaining combat mechanics; The Secret World offers a steady stream of story that I have been drinking in slowly.
In Agartha’s overworld, I have finished the Main Story through Tokyo. I am now busying myself with strolling through the remainder of the missions in Kaidan and anything I may have missed elsewhere. The Side Missions are entries in the glossary in the back of the novel that explain people, places, and things. I’ll turn them into stories, eventually.
Tyria is the site of a second filth bomb: I lobotomized my account – I’ll leave you to figure out what that means – and am now leveling the third version of my Mesmer, this time a snow-white salad. (My erstwhile human protagonist’s name has been safeguarded on a level 1 character on a free account created specifically for that purpose.) She currently sits at level 73 with 73% map completion. Almost every night I fire up gw2navi and GW2 in borderless windowed mode, click on “show completion route,” and complete the map I’ve marked for that day in Microsoft Calendar. It’s steady and methodical. Once I’ve hit 100%, I’ll decide whether I want to leave her as a “tribute” character – in which I create a character, log her out in medias res, and uninstall the game – or continue playing with a set of concrete goals for each play session.
The currency of my gaming life has become stories, as they are for old Mosul who sits atop a bridge in The Shadowy Forest fishing from a river uninhabited by fish. Between autumn of last year and spring of this year, I stopped caring about numbers and the systems that encapsulate them. GW2’s most compelling story is found within the plethora of exchanges in brief among characters overheard while running by. Compelling enough for me to spend part of my time budget on fishing for them? Difficult to say.
In becoming a more responsible parent I have begun to delineate my gaming time. This is anathema for someone like me who does not like schedules. It is also somewhat strange given my Myers-Briggs profile type, ISTJ, the “Duty Fulfiller.” I thrive on having concrete, globally applicable rules; schedules, on the other hand, are a nuisance. Bedtime has been set at 12:30am, a compromise between early and late. Years of going to bed much later will take time to reverse. Gaming is no longer advisable when the children are awake – they notice how much time you spend and do not spend with them, even if you think they may not notice when they are very young. Sessions are generally 1-2 hours in length; more results in chasing the high highs that in my personal life are inextricably intertwined with chronic substance dependency. I’ve spent many of my off days trying to achieve a psychological orgasm of excess via food, caffeine, videos, audio, and so forth. It doesn’t satisfy.
So, in my advancing age, I have come to the point where my personal development has made moderation something that feels naturally desirable. It is not a forced philosophy. It is not a prison sentence. It is the simple realization that at this point in my life, sustainable and long-lasting happiness comes from moderation and the enjoyment of things in the moment. Twenty years from now when the children are adults I may find that 12-hour daily gaming sessions are the next natural step. (Pfffffft.)
A combination of caring and not caring is required. I must not beat myself up when I fail to adhere to my self-imposed limits; at the same time, I must care about respecting those limits. In the present moment, I am quite imperfect: I am using the computer during the day (as an exception) to write this blog post rather than cutting into the time I’ve “budgeted” for gaming. This budget is part of an overarching method devised by Sarah Knight (which I found out about via Jeromai) that comprises two steps:
1. Decide what you don’t give a fuck about.
2. Don’t give a fuck about those things.
Not Sorry is how you should feel when you’ve accomplished this.
Therefore, an abbreviated list of things I do not care about in the online realm:
- Games when I’m not playing them
- Writing think pieces about games
- Spending free time blogging instead of doing other things
Henceforth you’ll find me writing mostly stories à la Liling’s Adventures in Filth World and fluffy “what am I playing?” posts. What you won’t see much of are academic-quality treatises like some of the fascinating material you’ll find on sites like FemHype. It’s great stuff; I just can’t be bothered to write any more papers after having finished up my university degree half a decade ago. Any non-authoritative comments I have on related topics will appear in the comments section of other people’s blogs.
The separate writing site will be folded back into this one which is now a “me” site, probably the way it should have been all along.