I still feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time.
It’s easy to tell yourself that your future is still ahead of you while you consume it bit by bit, bite by bite. It’s easy to just keep chewing on the future until you don’t have any left, all the while telling yourself that there’s plenty where that came from, an infinite sea of days, each a bit better, on average, than the one before. Well, it’s easy at first, and then it gets harder and harder the further you go, and it’s time to understand that, no, you aren’t preparing, you aren’t training for the day your time arrives, you are just killing time, and the dead days are starting to stack up, starting to stink up the joint.
I see a lot of brilliant young people creating and writing about games. I try not to resent them. The lies I told myself, about how each day I was preparing for next year or next year where I would be the amazing new kid who made the amazing new thing, and kept thinking that until I wasn’t a kid, until I wasn’t new, until my ideas weren’t new either, if they ever were.
They didn’t prepare. They just worked, and made things. There’s no reason, ever, not to be actually doing the work. Training is not a replacement for doing the work, it’s just another time and place and situation to do the work in, hopefully in a setting where failure is more edifying and less devastating than elsewhere. Never trust an education that doesn’t consist primarily of doing the actual thing you want to be doing.
It’s not a disaster. There are people older than me with the same struggles, and people younger than me with different struggles that seem distantly related. It’s a regret, but not an unbearable one. It’s an imperfection, but it doesn’t shatter me. It’s a mistake, but one I hope I’ve learned from.
Maybe everyone needs to waste some time. Maybe it’s part of the process.
This year, I want to be less afraid of my own voice. I never talk into microphones: I hate calling people: I feel uncomfortable speaking to anyone unless specifically addressed. I’m not entirely certain why. I’m not sure if I have anything worthwhile to contribute. I think that most communication is a smoke screen for ideas and intents rather than an explication of them. I don’t want to bother anyone. Those are reasons. I don’t know if any of them are the actual reason.
But, this year, I’d like to speak, at least a little bit. Maybe I can make a video and put it up online. Maybe I can actually write a song with lyrics. Maybe I can at least play a game with voice chat. There’s a reason I express myself here through a pseudonym, a name stripped of identifiers, humanity, name, gender, black and white. It’s a kind of ventriloquism. It’s my voice, but it’s not my voice. I can pretend it’s coming from anywhere. I can pretend it’s coming from something distant, only somewhat human. I can speak through it.
Maybe, this year, I can speak for myself.
I feel okay about where I’m at now. I’m confident that I could be getting more done, but I have hard proof that I could be getting less done – That’s a scene I don’t need to revisit. And, as slowly as I progress now, each day I feel like I’m understanding how I operate a little bit better, like my brain and my motivation are a puzzle that I’m collecting the components to, here and there, and slowly piecing together. I hope that, even as I have good days and bad days, the average day will become a bit better, the bad days a bit more manageable, and the work I get done on each a bit more useful.
I know all of this will end eventually. It’s a slow, slow race against time. It’s so slow it’s easy to forget that the race is still going, but it never stops. Well, it does, but you won’t notice, because You stops with it. There’s a lot of other races going on, each one leg of the greater human race, and as each one that runs parallel to ours stops it becomes harder not to stop with them. One day we’ll all stop together. The music will cut, and we all sit down, or we all fall down. Hopefully not soon. We’ll see.
I think I’d like to write more music this year. Perhaps write a new piece every month, until by the end of the year, twelve months from now, I have a full-length album. That would be nice.
I would also like to write more and better words. I feel like many of the things I’ve written for this site have been redundant or inconsequential, either said better by someone else or by myself or ultimately of no real insight or use. The more important the words I set out to say are, the more trite and self-indulgent and ignorant they come out. I have no idea which of the things I contain within myself are of value to others, nor any idea how to express those things in a way that is easily digestible. But I’d like to keep trying. I think some of the things I’ve said have been good and interesting and useful. It could happen again. It’s worth a shot.
I will also continue to survive. I will keep doing work that earns me enough money to pay rent and buy groceries. It’s good for me, anyway, to worry about other people’s problems and satisfaction sometimes, instead of my own.
I would like to experience more art. Play more small, interesting games, read more books, see more movies and lauded television series. If they aren’t stretched out once in a while our dreams grow small and come to constrict us.
And I will keep making my game, EverEnding, step by step, piece by piece, byte by byte into the future. Someday it will be complete. It may be good, it may be bad, but at least it will be.
So long 2014. You were a rotten year, but precious nonetheless. You will be missed.