Tag Archives: birthday

Twenty Seven

If I had to use one word to describe how I feel right now, and how I’ve felt for a little while now, that word would be conflicted.

I’m 27 now, and decisions need to be made. Not just “what am I wearing today?” or “what am I eating tonight?”, but real, substantial decisions that will all have a major impact on my life, whether that’s for the next few months, the next few years, or even 5-10 years from now.

It seems no matter how old you are, there will always be someone to give you advice. Life advice, in particular. The kinds of things adults tell you when you’re young, but you don’t listen because, well, you’re young. When you’re young, people tell you to study hard. Get a good job. Earn real money. Buy a house. Settle down. Grow up1. And all before you’re ready for any of it, or really understand what it all means.

Now that I’m a little older, I get a slightly different set of advice. People tell me to spend my money on experiences, not things. They say everyone’s a little weird; nobody’s perfect. Everyone has flaws, but that doesn’t matter because everyone is capable of greatness anyway. People say it’s better to love and have lost than to have never loved at all. They tell you to aim high, shoot for the stars, chase your dreams, dance like no one’s watching, forge your own path, live your best life, love freely, and remember that anything is possible. Maybe not all in the same breath, but it’s all been said before. None of this is particularly new.

And now that I am a little older, there’s one piece of advice that I hear more often than any other: life’s too short.

I have a problem with “life’s too short”. Several problems, in fact, chief of which is it serves as a cop-out for the real problem: time is a cruel mistress. Youth is wasted on the young, and the advantages of being older don’t necessarily outweigh the negatives. Unless you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you’ll have to work like the rest of us, and unless you get lucky, a lot of the time, your dreams will remain just that2.

It’s enough to make anyone depressed.

“Life’s too short” makes me angry, too. Life’s too short… to what? To catch public transport? To wash your dishes by hand? To spend your days at a unfulfilling desk job, eating the same thing you had for lunch yesterday, doing the same thing you were doing a week, a month, a year ago? Perhaps, even, life’s too short to study hard. Life’s too short to get a good job. Life’s too short to earn real money, buy a house, or settle down.

Or on a more personal note, maybe life’s too short not to travel the world. Too short to have to reconcile giving up what you enjoy doing for the faint promise of career progression. Too short to not go to The International every year, or not get to one esports event in a different country. Too short to not spend time with family and friends. Too short to not talk to that pretty girl you like. Suddenly, you’re not sure what you should be doing any more, and all because life’s too short.

Congratulations, you’re now as conflicted as I am.

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Twenty Five

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Sometimes, when people ask me how old I am, I get a little confused. Especially when they combine it with questions like “so is that 23 turning 24, or 24 turning 25?” I don’t tend to think about how old I am all the time, so either I answer too quickly and get it wrong, or I think about it for longer than one might consider “normal”, get laughed at, and still get it wrong anyway.

It didn’t used to be this way, but over the past couple of years I’ve noticed it happening more and more. I’ve filled out enough online forms to know what my birth date is, so I should at least be able to calculate how old I am, but for some reason, deriving an answer to “how old are you” doesn’t come easily. Maybe I’m just over-thinking things, and I should add “I am 25 years old” to the list of things that I just know, like my (rough) height and weight. Maybe this is just what getting old is like.

Truth be told, I wasn’t planning on writing a birthday post this year. Or last year, for that matter. I had plenty of age and maturity-related thoughts when I was writing a birthday post from a few years ago, but when the time came to write about something last year, or something this year, none of the topics I had swirling around in my head wanted to coalesce into something of substance. No matter how long the bus or train ride was, nothing seemed pertinent enough to write about as the main topic of yet another birthday post.

Which is weird, because last year, more than any other, has been a pretty big year. Almost too big to write about, really, given that I accepted my first full-time job, which meant moving out of home and deciding what personal possessions I’d be bringing to another city in another state (computers, electronics, then everything else, in that order).

I made a trip to the US to watch The International, the biggest Dota 2 tournament in the world, as well as check out some west coast cities.

And so far, it’s been the first Christmas I’ve spent without any immediate family, the first New Year, and probably my first birthday. I can’t say for sure, obviously, but it certainly feels that way. Not that I mind about any of that. It was all going to happen eventually, and I’m glad it happened in at least somewhat positive circumstances.

If you’ve read any of my tweets from this year, you’ll know that growing up is, for the most part, pretty awful. No one’s talking about the freedom you get when you live alone, away from your immediately family, but when you work full time, people kind of know what you’re doing most of the time.

What they’re not telling you about is how awful it is having to do all of the washing up. Or needing to eat, but not wanting to do the washing up, and lacking the disposable incoming to eat out or get takeaway more than a few nights a week. Or how house inspections only happen four times per year, but even that feels too often. Or how having getting paid every fortnight feels great, at least until the bills and rent come in, at which point all your hard-earned leaves your bank account. The days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months, and a lot of the time, it feels as though I’m living to work, instead of working to live.

People ask me if I’d go back to uni to study, and I usually answer that while the actual study part was pretty awful, the lifestyle was pretty great. Not having to wake up early to go to work, not having to spend the entire day at uni, and occasionally being able to have entire days to myself. Now that I work full time, the only time that I really get is from evenings and weekends.

What it comes down to is a lack of time. If I’m playing video games every evening, then I’m not cooking, or doing the washing up. If I’m on call on the weekend, then I have to squeeze in buying groceries into my “lunch break”, or go shopping after work during the week. Every time I decide to clean my tiny unit, do some ironing for the week, or whatever else needs doing that I didn’t get around to doing last week is another time I’m not playing games on the internet with friends, and as the old adage goes, all work and no play makes Benny a dull boy.

Of course, the solution here might seem pretty simple: give up video games. But games have been such a huge part of my life that giving up video games would be like giving up a part of myself, like trading in my childhood for a shot at adulthood.

And that’s kind of what this is all about. My friends have been moving out, getting married, and settling down for years now. Some times I wish I experienced those things earlier, but I’m happy enough with how things have turned out so far.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the work that I’m doing. But there are times I wish it took up less of my time than it currently does. Some of the time, I wonder what it’d be like to be mostly-unemployed and have heaps of time, or what it would be like to have no time and be earning an amount to make it not matter. Perhaps there’s not much difference between the two, after all, but I guess that’s why they call it life.

Here’s to another year, whatever craziness it may bring.

Here and Now

There’s a perk in Fallout 3 and New Vegas called Here and Now. When taken, it immediately grants you another level, complete with all of the advantages that brings. There are plenty of other, equally-enticing perks to choose from, all with similarly beneficial advantages, so why choose Here and Now over any of those? We’ll get to this in a bit.

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I wanted to write about a number of different things on my birthday today, seeing as last year’s post was so disappointing length-wise, but then I realised that as much as everything changes, it all just stays the same. As much as I want to about all the great things that happened last year, or some of the cooler moments, I’ve already done so. I’ve already posted about how I’m now a great photographer, and how I’ve played some of the best video games currently on offer. What else is there to write on here about?

Correction: what else is there to write about that won’t sound as depressing as it actually is?

By all accounts I should have finished my degree by now, but I’ve failed enough things to mean that this year will be my fifth year of a what is usually a three-year degree. We were talking about this in the car with a friend a few weeks after results came out, and he was like “that kinda sucks man, are you bummed about that?” My response was that I was pretty “meh” about the entire thing, because really, it’s not such a big deal, but yeah, it does kinda suck; therefore, meh seemed like an appropriate response. Not something to get too hung up on, but not something to be entirely ignored, either.

And that kind of describes my entire life, actually: all the bits that aren’t OMG amazing or FML depressing are just kinda, well, “meh”. Not overly exciting, but not exactly something I want to brag about, either.

But isn’t that the point? If I think about it, doesn’t life mean we take things as they come — the good, the bad, and the Things That Sit Squarely In The Middle? I mean, I’d be somewhat concerned if my life was all awesome, all the time. Concerned, or re-ordering my stock of valium, one of the two. In fact, I’d say having this good/bad/meh balance is as important as anything else in your life; too much of a good thing is a bad thing, as they say. And as much as we might want great things to happen to us all the time, bad stuff happens. All you can do is take it in your stride and learn from the experience.

It’s this learning from experience that I wanted to finish on today. Life throws a great many things at you, but as long as you come out the other side, you’ve come out on top. Because, if nothing else, you’ve learnt something along the way. Every time you die in DayZ, you learn to not do whatever you did to die. Every time you take a film photo, you learn to refine your composition technique. You learn to get in someone’s face. Every time you finish a Gun Master round in Battlefield 3, you learn to aim better with the guns you’re given. You learn how they work, how much recoil they have. You learn, for the hundredth time, that you hate the LSAT with the fire of a thousand suns.

Point is, you learn from these life experiences; good, bad, or completely mediocre.

Which brings us back to Here and Now. Because as nice as having all those experiences are, and as nice as doing all that learning is, wouldn’t it be easier if you could do all that learning without going through the experience in the first place? I mean, who really wants to know what having their heart broken feels like, or what losing a close friend or family member feels like? Wouldn’t you rather just know beforehand, instead of having to actually go through it and experience it for yourself? If you could just know what things feel like and what would happen if you did a particular thing, wouldn’t you? They say hindsight is 20-20, but wouldn’t it be great to have that kind of hindsight before stuff — good, bad, or otherwise — happens?

Hence the Here and Now perk in the Fallout series.

An additional experience level, complete with all the advantages that brings.

Twenty One

Another day, another notch on the ol’ belt-buckle of life. Wait, I think I used that analogy last year…

I don’t think I can write anything positive without spiralling downward into the abyss, so I’ll just say: look at these Derpy Cats and be done with it.

Here’s to more maturity, or something. If only maturity measured in age-years was linked to wisdom, then we’d all be in a better place. And yet, here we are…

Malaysia 2009 – Part IV

So we were at my Gramps 80th Bday bash (haha – now THAT’S an overstatement), and during one of the courses, I noticed there was something funny in the rice dish we were having. It wasn’t a rice dish, more like a rice dish on a platter of assorted Chinese delicasies, but whatever it was, there was, unmistakably, a fly.

Now, the way the rice was presented meant that the fly had to have been cooked into the rice bowl – or, at least, crushed between the plastic, rice, and whatever the nutty stuff on top is.

Needless to say, my cousins and I were similarly grossed out – we only ate the parts of that dish that we liked, and yeah – that was that.

The next dish came and went, and the night continued on…