I've had a busy few weeks of work. I'm just getting past Midterm in the semester, and as a result I've completed a ton of reading papers, grading (as some of my classes are accelerated 8-week courses), and doing internship evaluations. On top of that I'm contributing a chapter for a book coming out. As a result, I've done a lot of double duty on work related stuff, often taking breaks from doing one type of work to do another type of work. There's just not been a lot of time for some of my passion areas recently.
This will all work itself out of course. In the coming week my workload should level off again, and I'll be able to get back into some gaming. This ebb and flow of work is pretty common now, and in talking to several of my friends, I'm not alone. I remember a friend in college who would often paraphrase something he watched or read stating, "All this living up to my full potential is cutting into my sittin' around time." That's very true. But a worthy sacrifice. However, it's also caused a change in how I look at my gaming experiences.
I've grown up in a golden age of gaming. As I grew, the games were constantly evolving. I started with a vintage Nintendo and a Sega Master System (along with my dad and uncles' Atari). I got a lot of games as a kid, and during holiday and summer breaks, after my homework was done, and on odd weekends where my family didn't have any plans, I could peck away at games pretty regularly. I didn't always finish everything, but I was able to polish off quite a bit. And in some cases I would replay certain games over and over again, trying to unlock everything I could. In the age of Achievements and Trophies I found a new drive to try and complete everything I could in as many games as I could. Some Achievements were simply unreachable for me, but I would try and fully complete everything I could. It was important to me to try and reach "Fully Sync" in every Assassin's Creed, and pick up every Riddler Trophy in the Arkham games. I had to beat Halo on Legendary, and in multiplayer, I tried to unlock every customization for my weapons and prestiges before I felt comfortable moving on to the next title in the franchise. This, even in the early days of my career, was doable, though it has quickly become unmanageable.
As my career and personal life have evolved over the years there simply hasn't been the space to enjoy multiple play throughs of a title. Or, for that matter, to try and squeeze out every single minor piece of my favorite games. Admittedly, this has created a sort of anxiety for me. I had historically gained a sense of pride from completing achievements, or fully completing every title. So when I don't, I feel like I'm betraying myself. Sometimes that means I just don't play a title at all, because it feels disingenuous to be the person who doesn't achievement hunt every corner of the game. But this also means that I'm constantly behind, and never experiencing any of the great stuff that made being a geek and gamer a passion of mine.
So the long and short of this is that I'm in a state of restructuring. I'm learning what it is to be a geek who may not watch every single new series or film franchise that comes out, but I do watch and enjoy the ones I want to. And I may not reach the max level with every one of my favorite titles, but I can still enjoy the games I want to. It's like Carl Rogers once shared about the "real self" and the "ideal self." If our real self and ideal self are too far apart, we create discomfort. So this means we either have to move the real self closer to the ideal, or we move the ideal a little closer to the real.
In some areas of my life, like my health, personal relationships, etc. I try and move my real self closer to my ideal self. In the case of my gaming, I'm trying to move the ideal self closer to the real self. I don't have to be an achievement hunter, unlocking every secret to still really enjoy the franchises that I love. So that ideal self can can come a little closer to the real. I'm a work in progress with this. But I'm sure I'm not alone in trying to accomplish personal transformation.