consider this place

It’s get­ting harder to write.

Not that the spirit is unwill­ing, although that was the case for years, when the things I needed to talk about most were the exact things I needed dis­tance from. At this point, the flesh isn’t even that weak1, but a lack of cer­tainty in which to ground my per­spec­tives has become an obsta­cle. The biggest sign I’m get­ting older isn’t the white hair in my mous­tache, but the recog­ni­tion that I’ve shed some youth­ful arro­gance that used to feel like wisdom.

FTL: Faster Than Light decision

Do I let fate reward my brav­ery with an extra crew mem­ber, or give it the chance to fuck me over by killing one? Or do I avoid the choice completely?

It’s eas­ier for me to accept a bad out­come if I remem­ber that every deci­sion is made with the best inten­tions, and the only goal is survival.

HBO shows2 and games with con­se­quen­tial choices based on ran­dom­ized events3 have been a huge influ­ence on my think­ing. Media with mosaics of moral­ity, while char­ac­ters grow and evolve across sev­eral spec­trums (along with my opin­ion of them). Where deci­sions have to be care­fully made with lim­ited infor­ma­tion and resources, then bal­anced against com­pet­ing inter­ests from for­eign spheres of influ­ence. Situations where a per­son can make all the right moves, and still fail through circumstance.

It’s a safe way for me to under­stand my feel­ings in com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tions, as well as the per­spec­tives of those on both sides of dif­fi­cult deci­sions that are nei­ther heroic or vil­lain­ous. Part of my recov­ery is com­ing to terms with the past, and this explo­ration offers me a way to grad­u­ally accept things as they are, instead of try­ing to take respon­si­bil­ity for things that sim­ply couldn’t have worked out.

Jon Snow

Sometimes, the reward for being a good guy is pretty ter­ri­ble, but maybe being a good guy is know­ing you wouldn’t do any­thing differently.

As a result, the scale of my think­ing has started shift­ing. When I was a child, the world was defined as myself, and it was impos­si­ble to under­stand how some­one could do any­thing that wasn’t in line with my inter­ests4. In ado­les­cence, I saw it as oth­ers in rela­tion to myself. As a young adult, it became the world con­nected as a whole5. Now, as a man, I see the world with time as an added dimen­sion — the peo­ple today con­nected by the influ­ences of the past and their actions that will pave the future6.

It’s not that I don’t have any­thing to say. It’s that writ­ing becomes too much. My thoughts get lost on such a scale. Everything becomes exceed­ingly com­plex — peo­ple espe­cially — when they cease to be defined by a moment in time.

Maybe this is why there’s no sense of per­ma­nence with which to guide my hand at writ­ing. Everything changes so quickly that it seems like a futile exer­cise to write until some­thing is over. Except it’s never over. Things keep chang­ing, and I keep growing.

It used to feel like I went through six month cycles, when my brain cells (fig­u­ra­tively) replaced enough of them­selves to make me feel like a dif­fer­ent per­son roughly twice a year. Now, it feels like I’m per­pet­u­ally in the mid­dle of a transition…or one long descent into dotage. Every epiphany feels like it’s sim­ply a step on the way to a greater sense of under­stand­ing. I can’t even tell what music I like any­more; whether I’m drawn to some­thing cause I want to under­stand how it’s composed/arranged/mixed/performed, or sim­ply cause the tune is catchy. Writing has become work, and I’d rather pro­cras­ti­nate by clean­ing or cook­ing or tak­ing some kind of respon­si­bil­ity off Heather’s hands.

On top of all this, my need to express was often dri­ven by emo­tion. It was the inten­sity of my feel­ings that led to inspi­ra­tion. Nowadays, in my quest for equa­nim­ity, I tend to sep­a­rate myself from them. While it’s made me a men­tally health­ier per­son, it’s also left me mute, and won­der­ing who I am if not a writer.

  1. Thanks to a remis­sion in col­i­tis, and con­sis­tent use of a SAD lamp. []
  2. Game of Thrones, Six Feet Under []
  3. Europa Universalis 4, FTL: Faster Than Light, Moirai []
  4. Even if I was play­ing against them in a game. []
  5. Roughly the time I started to nur­ture a sense of empa­thy. I can’t tell which came first. []
  6. My per­spec­tive is still lim­ited to my cur­rent gen­er­a­tion. Someone like Shawn is capa­ble of see­ing the world con­nected far beyond the scale of what I typ­i­cally con­sider. I won­der if I’ll ever get there. []

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