I’m gonna be straight with ya’ll. Originally I wanted to open this with a somewhat existential yet ultimately optimistic ramble acknowledging the flaws of New Year’s traditions while defending them from my personal experiences. Then the Australian forest fires happened, and the news cycle went downhill from there. I’m not going to elaborate on these topics any more than that because that’s far outside the scope of what I want to do with this blog, I just wanna be clear -- I know that crap’s screwed up right now.
It feels like life keeps getting harder with no real breaks, even during what’s supposed to be our real breaks. We’re another year more tired, another year more jaded… but most importantly, another year wiser. We are better equipped to make this world and ourselves better than we were the previous year. Sometimes it helps to have an arbitrary tradition to remind us of that with how much crazy BS is going on in this world. At least, it helps me.
So just like last year, I want to share what I’ve done to better equip myself in the previous year, and how I want to enhance my metaphorical loadout this year. But this time the rankings are Devil May Cry V flavored, even though I haven’t gotten DMCV yet. Yet.
GRADING LAST YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
FIND FULFILLING FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT -- Savage!
This one… this one has been a doozy. The first half of the year was very much more of the same as it was last year. Still fighting for interviews, still doubting myself a ton, still wondering whether I was even looking in the right field, still not sure how much of it was the issues with our job market at large and how much of it was just me. But everything changed when I got a job offer in May. Also, the Fire Nation attacked.
At first, I still didn’t feel like I had made it. Quite frankly I was expecting to be laid off again like I was a year ago. It was the only thing I thought I could expect from my experience in the full-time workforce. But then I didn’t get laid off. And I impressed my boss! And then I just… kept impressing him! I’ve already built a lot of rapport with my co-workers, who have helped me discover a new hobby playing board games with them. I’ve learned a ton more about programming and I’ve applied it to accomplish a lot in so little time. I’m getting a more solid grasp on my weaknesses and what I can do to improve them. And most importantly, I’ve gotten some raises!
I honestly feel like I’ve landed an excellent opportunity for my first sticking steps in my desired career field. I’m not going to pretend that luck has nothing to do with it, because… I’m quite sure it does have a lot to do with it. But either way, it’s been doing wonders for my bank account and my confidence to have a job like this. I don’t want to get complacent -- I absolutely will need to keep striving for even better as living gets more expensive, and I don’t know what bumps are ahead of me on this road -- but I’m extremely happy with the rate things have improved for my career so far, and I’m more confident in my professional future than I ever have been in a decade.
WRITE MORE FICTION -- Crazy!
This year I only wrote a few pages of fiction that I shared in cblogs. I’ve already reflected on the biggest of those attempts here, so I don’t have much to add this time around. To briefly reiterate, I spend much more time drafting up general concepts than actually developing the stories that use them. I’m very much the kinda guy who enjoys drafting new concept after new concept, which is okay as a hobbyist (which is what I am, really), but it prevents me from growing in the ways I wish I could grow as a writer. As such I don’t quite feel satisfied with my dabblings in fiction.
I’ve taken steps in the right direction last year and I’m proud of that… but sooner or later I need to settle on either accepting my projects won’t ever go “THAT” far, or successfully get “THAT” far. I want to keep working towards the latter option if only to seek the thrill of one day having such a passion project under my belt. Like I’ve been saying for a little while by now, it probably will be best for me to attempt one-off stories like Dakhan’s tale again if I want to exercise this without committing to something more ambitious.
DO MORE AROUND THE HOUSE -- Badass!
I never really explained this goal very clearly, have I? I’m living with family for now, but this goal is a vague and broad measure of how much I keep up with “adulting” on my own, as the hip young millennial generation likes to call it. Particularly in the context of “doing chores”, like cleaning and managing other life necessities. So… I think I’m pretty okay at general adulting, but I could do a lot better.
BUY/EAT LESS JUNK FOOD -- Dismal!
I am an all-consuming monster. My insatiable hunger only applies to desserts and sugar/salt loaded snacks though. I keep talking about this, I keep admitting this… sooner or later I need to change this while my body still isn’t all that unhealthy. At least the New Year is leading me to reflect on that fact, but I did the same last year… and the year before that. I might need to take more drastic measures. Probably should set me a junk food budget? That’s how I reined in my excessive game-buying habits, it could at least help me with this problem too…
PUBLISH A DISCORD BOT -- Dismal!
Yeah… that never quite happened. At the moment I wrote that resolution, it was something I wanted to do, something to help me practice my desired career skills that happened to be related to some ambitious shenanigans I was cooking up. By the time I got my full-time job, that part of the equation was no longer a concern (I’d be worried if the job somehow wasn’t giving me plenty of practice), and I was still wrestling with creative indecisiveness. I just kinda… stopped wanting to do this one halfway into the year. It might be good to revisit this bot someday, but for now, all my work on this one is shelved as I re-examine my spare time’s priorities.
USE TWITTER A LOT LESS -- Apocalyptic! … And then Dismal!
To be fair, I mostly created this goal in the context of wanting to dedicate more time to job searching. And during the first half of the year… it took me a while, but eventually, I did successfully kick my compulsive social media browsing! Shortly after I got the new job though, I started to fall back into old habits during my free time. And I’m realizing again how problematic this is.
I can’t cut out Twitter altogether, though. It’s my first contact with some friends I wanna keep in touch with, and it’s the easiest way to keep up with many artists I want to support like the guy who draws buff Frosmoths. Honestly, buff Frosmoths is Twitter’s best feature right now.
LOOKING TO THE NEXT YEAR
Despite most of these resolutions scoring lower than last year’s, I’m genuinely more happy with how I ended up this year than last year. After all, my most important resolution -- to find a good full-time job -- took me a long and harsh fight, but it’s been extremely rewarding for me. That, and I accomplished some other big life goals I didn’t have on my resolutions, like coming out as agnostic to my very Christian family.
Excluding that first goal, I want to bring back all of these agendas with me into next year. But I think I can re-categorize them and merge them under some goals I’ve been contemplating on adding this year…
SPEND LESS TIME ON JUNK MEDIA
By “junk media”, I mean any form of media that I can bring up at the touch of a button and mindlessly consume for hours. This mainly consists of browsing social media, watching YouTube, and playing mobile games. For the most part, all of these have become crutches I use to excuse myself from doing anything more meaningful when I’m bored, and the more I read through my draft of this very blog, the more I realize this habit has held me back from accomplishing the things I constantly tell myself I want to do. Like junk food, it can be nice to dabble a little in them, but “dabbling a little” is not “spending half of your weekend lazing and refreshing these sites expecting maybe one additional buff Frosmoth pic”. Seriously, someone needs to do something about Twitter’s monopoly on them.
FINISH MORE GAMES IN MY BACKLOG THAN I BUY
I think I’m finally making “buy fewer games” a personal life goal of mine because of two symptoms that compound each other. Firstly, it just doesn’t feel like it makes sense for me to keep buying more games than I’m playing. Secondly, I’m getting increasingly exhausted of exploitative industry BS, which makes me more hesitant to play certain games after I’ve already bought them. I'm not interested in boycotting such games per se, because the real solution to those issues requires something different than just shifting our purchasing trends. It's more that there's a lot of excellent games out there without messed up development histories or cruddy business practices behind them, so I'd enjoy limited gaming time on those instead.
I want to try harder to hold myself accountable for making purchases that truly feel like they’re worth it in the long run, rather than impulsively buying the hottest and newest stuff because I’m curious about it and I expect it to be “pretty good I guess”. Do I honestly have a reason to buy new games when I’ve still barely even played Breath of the Wild and I liked the tutorial section I played two years ago?
That, and I’d like to have more money to spend on tabletop games and/or buff moth art commissions. It always comes back to the buff moths, and sometimes to the new tabletop gaming hobby. I’ve also suddenly become enraptured in. I’m sure these other passion-driven industries don’t have any similar controversial BS swimming underneath their surfaces that I have yet to discover in my extremely limited experiences with them!
To define this goal more clearly, I want to only purchase half as many games as I beat from my backlog this year. I’ve got plenty to work with -- turn-based RPGs, platformers, action RPGs, adventure games, fighting games, strategic RPGs, and more! And RPGs. So… so many RPGs. Seriously, they can keep me busy for a long time, I don’t think I have a strong reason to buy any more RPGs until I beat some of these. Also, I’m counting an indie game as half of a "normal" game, partially because they tend to be more manageable to beat and partially to incentivize myself to buy more indie titles.
Coincidentally, most of the games on my list of last-year releases I wanna pick up this year are $60 RPGs. Heck.
COMMIT TO AN ACHIEVABLE CREATIVE PROJECT
This one’s defined more broadly than my previous “write more” and “code a Discord bot” goals because part of my problem with those goals is I haven’t decided which of those I want to focus on. I don’t expect to get far in either of these mediums or any other I’ve thought of toying with unless I make that decision.
In theory, the logical thing to do is to pursue a project that combines all of my interests, which is where I’m currently inclined to go by working on a gamier-than-usual visual novel in Ren’Py. But will I still be saying that one month from now? Or two? Or twenty? I probably won’t be able to answer these questions until I experiment more with tinier, more manageable project concepts as I said I wanted to do. But those are questions my ever-active imagination would love to have answers for.
PRACTICE BETTER SELF-CARE
As someone who constantly preaches and praises the values of self-care, I take pride in a lot of my habits… a lot of them. Not all of them. “Not all of them” mostly means matters of physical health. I don’t have any interest in becoming athletic, nor do I dislike my overweight appearance, but I would like my body to support my mental health better. That means I should commit to exercising more, eating less junk, and cleaning the house more often. When you have cat allergies, yes, cleaning more frequently is a matter of physical health… and it’s honestly already a matter of mental health. Wouldn’t hurt to save up enough MP to cast Ultima for a rainy day!
RESEARCH AND DONATE TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION CHARITIES
I’ve already been doing this one but I just wanna reiterate how much I dislike the planet being on fire, and it wouldn't hurt for me to do more research on what charities do the best jobs at preventing planet fires.
I’m holding myself to some lofty standards I’ve struggled to meet for a long time, to be frank. I have a long way to go to achieve any of these resolutions, let alone all of them. But I think wherever I end up next year, I’ll be better for having attempted it than I would be otherwise. Thanks for another year, Destructoid. Keep calling out industry BS, and keep being kind in your delightfully weird and cool way!