Twenty Nine

Genshin Impact character Qiqi at level 29 and almost at level 30

When did things get so hard?

Yours truly:

With every year that passes, every birthday post that isn’t posted on my actual birthday because I continue to make up reasons as to why I can’t seem to post things on any sort of schedule that have nothing to do with the real reason I can no longer post on my actual birthday, I find myself becoming increasingly worried that time is running out. I don’t think it’s because I’m afraid of getting old, per se, it’s just that I realise have less time to do the things I might want to do.
No one wants to wait until they’re old and frail to travel the world, but when you’re young, you often have a different set of priorities which mean it can be hard to find the right balance between having a career you’re happy with and still have enough time to yourself to do the things you want to do. Everyone’s time is limited, and I get that, but it can be hard to find the balance between finding out who you are, and just being yourself.

But who hasn’t? Who hasn’t thought that they work too hard, and live too little? What, you think you’re unique or something?

It’s not as if I’m not doing things, either. I do things that help me accomplish my goals — executing strategies in real life, just like I do when I’m trying to destroy the other team’s ancient in yet another game of Dota 2 — but often, it feels as though I’m not moving fast enough. I know that there are no shortcuts a lot of the time, but it’s still frustrating to be moving at a glacial pace when you want to be sprinting. We’ve been through all of this before, so I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it’s something I think about when I’m writing melancholic blog posts reflecting on another year gone by.

It’s 2021 now. This post was originally drafted in 2020, but after that year that was, it’s only getting posted now for certain reasons I’m sure you’ll understand. 2020 was a heck of a year, and definitely not for the right reasons.

As if 2020 wasn’t already hard enough, I asked myself some tough questions. How do I become a person that I’m proud to be? How do I stop being jealous, obsessive, or so judgemental? How do I become a loving husband and dedicated father, should I ever find myself in that position? Is there a book for that? Some Medium post I can read? How do I know what I want out of life? Can I watch some inspirational YouTube video and instantly get all the answers?

Of course not. That would be too easy, and as I’ve been saying, life isn’t really like that. Besides, YouTube is filled with conspiracy theories and algorithms that are designed with engagement in mind but somehow end up you showing you videos from Linus Tech Tips, and Medium, well, Medium is paywalled to such an extent that I have not one, not two, but several different methods of bypassing it.

The way I see it, the problem I have with all of this is that a lot of the time, it’s so hard to know what side of the coin I fall on. Am I too shy? Do I come off as too confident? Am I too much of an asshole, or just the right amount? Do I look like a romantic, or the kind of person that you would want to be in a long term relationship with?

Most of this comes down to the infinite grey of the scale in question. Who decides if I’m hard to deal with? Does it matter if that answer differs, based on what day of the week it is? Should it? And especially, especially because it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time, why do I even care about any of this in the first place?

I struggle with comparing myself to others. I understand the concept of being your own person, but what, you think you’re unique or something? How do I not compare myself to someone who’s more successful than I am, who has what appears to be a more fulfilling life than I do? How do I not compare myself to someone about the same age as I am, who appears, by all outward appearances, to be far happier than I am, and far more content with their own life? Why do I feel the need to compete against others even when our personal circumstances are wildly different? Why do I feel jealous about people who have more disposable income than I do? Who can build more expensive computers, or who can afford to buy a new iPhone every year?

Why do I have to weigh the value of platonic relationships versus romantic ones? Are romantic relationships important? Does sex matter? Does it matter as much as society says it does? Is it all about finding someone that fulfils me in every way so I don’t notice every cute blonde that I walk past? How do I do that, exactly?

But it’s 2021. Why do I have to be thinking about any of this stuff in the first place? Why is this something I have to think about now? Since when did any of this become important, something that I have dedicate time and energy to think about, make decisions about, or otherwise waste otherwise valuable brain power thinking about, when I’d much rather be pushing lanes to create space for my team, joining good teamfights, and casting pixel-perfect Chronospheres?

No one told me I would have to think about any of this when I was growing up. Growing up as a kid, you can do whatever you want, and no one — besides, maybe, your parents — will tell you otherwise. You can make all the mistakes you want, and provided you’re not committing actual crimes, you can be reasonably confident that there will be no major long-term consequences. But being an adult is hard, and worse, no one tells you how hard it’s going to be. There’s no preparation you can do. Even if you have your entire life planned out, life finds a way. There’s always something that happens, always something that trips you up, throws a spanner into the works, and upends your meticulously-planned existence, scattering it to the proverbial winds.

No one tells you how hard any of this is going to be. No one says that you’ll need to make some hard-ass decisions, or to prepare for the certain worst that life has to offer. Maybe a part of that is parents want their children to enjoy their youth. I’m not a parent so I don’t know, but isn’t there some kind of middle ground? Some compromise between coddling and coaching? If so, how do you decide where it is, and once you know that, how do you reach it?

Like I said, there are a lot of questions, and I’m not sure I have any of the answers. Or even know what the right answers are, for that matter.

And hey, maybe that’s life, and that’s just how it is for everyone. Just as everyone gets to choose what they want to do with their life, everyone must decide the kind of person they want to be.

I just think it would be nice to know how to find out what the right answers are, sometimes.

Not even all of the time!

Just, sometimes.

It’d be nice.

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