Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Pensif

Maybe later I'll have the energy to respond to my first hate-comment as a blogger (see previous post), but I've had a busy day. After work and a quick but awesome dinner I went to watch Fallon Brooks give her talk for AOK/UCO Skeptics on gender identity disorders. While plenty of others in the world bowed to obligatory excess, I learned something interesting and important not only about a friend, but also about a part of the human race I admittedly was ignorant of. Thanks, Fallon.

Sophia asked me today what I was giving up for Lent. It sounds kind of odd coming from someone raised secular, but thinking back, everyone I've known who has taken part in voluntary informed abstinence for the sake of stoicism has gained something from it. I've decided, though. I will give up video games for a time. It doesn't sound like much, but the reason is twofold. First, World of Warcraft specifically has been my escape and stress relief for now going on seven years. It's comfortable and relaxing, and I've made good friends in-game with whom I enjoy a different social dynamic, so there will be a sense of sacrifice and loss which I will have to overcome. Second, it's also become my escape from reality, which is one of my least favorite parts of me. I have no problem using a thing to relieve stress, but of late I've used it overmuch to avoid responsibility.

That said, I will exercise a self-imposed abstinence from video gaming until after my return from Reason Rally, some five weeks away. I will give my game credentials to a friend (thanks, Alex) and instruct him to change them until at least that time. I do not do this as your classic Catholics may have as penance, but in hopes of giving up something I both love and lament to re-evaluate its place in my life, as I may do with many things in the coming months.

Of course, the idea is to focus my mind on important things and eliminate distractions, perhaps a selfish bastardization of the tradition, but I feel no remorse for co-opting its finer points while refusing to take along the emotional baggage that insists I am a wretched being. I am happy with myself as I am, partially because I, as I am, plan to continually improve myself. There is a sort of penance in that, though, proof against all the times I've failed myself before and all the times I know I will; in it there is also encouragement for all the times I know I'll forgive myself and move on.


  1. It's a worthy goal Travis. I struggled with that so much... the exact same thing you describe. I miss my friends and my interaction with them so much. We talk on Facebook sometimes and I randomly call the ones I can't get to online but it's not the same. I miss the community and the support I found there. But I think in the long run, it was a good decision for me. I play outside more. I meet people who live where I live. I'm making music again. There are a lot of really good things I was missing out on in my dependence on video games as an escape from reality. Mostly I was missing out on dealing with the problems that made me want an escape.

    I think I could probably play again and not have it consume me but ironically find I no longer have time. I wish you all the best in your self imposed exile and hope you find a balance between the enjoyment, community and friendship and the need for escapism.

  2. Thanks Hope... you touched on exactly what the problem is, I don't want to escape any more. I want to live and face every moment. And those moments I don't love will make me stronger and motivate me to better my situation until I love every part of it. This is all I have, and I damned well intend to make the most of it.