Real Life Character Building

The other week I talked about turning 24, the impending (but possibly mythical) quarter life crisis, and the life goals to tick off before becoming a ‘real man’. Grrr…

I’m getting there. One of Dad’s clients told me I was “getting my man face”. I never found out if that was a compliment… Just kinda said “yup”, smiled, then continued to look busy.

It’s odd. Myself and many like me are between places. Between uni and career, between being single and being married, between being a son and being a father. It’s the best time we’ll ever get to develop ourselves FOR ourselves.

In school, even college it’s obligatory to learn. You’re influenced heavily by parents, teachers, other students to find out what you want to do next. Now I’m at that next stage I realise how much freedom we have.

Ironically there’s not nearly as much time to learn and experience as there was in school. Hell, if you added up the hours I played video games and harnessed it you’d probably have enough time to do a bachelors degree, a masters, and a PhD. But even though there’s less time, it’sYOUR time do with as you please.

So how am I using my time to develop myself into a healthy, happy, functioning adult?

Well, for one thing, I never dropped the video game brain. Sure, I play less, but my Facebook is rife with gaming memes so I’m exposed 24/7. One video I saw – and you may have seen it too (by a Youtuber called Casually Explained) draws parallels between life and a video game experience (more specifically an MMO).

It’s fascinating, funny and brutally honest. I mean… from the off it shows a map of the world with difficulty levels (UK being EASY – Africa being HARD). Having to wait through a 9 month loading screen, living through 18 years of tutorial then being offered a paid expansion pack in the form of a University education.

It’s all a bit of fun, but it made me think about how I perceive progress. In the video they talk about three main focuses. A relationship meter, a currency counter and your skills and hobbies. The things you work at perfecting throughout your life. The progress bars you’re painstakingly building up.

And after an undisclosed amount of time, you discover who you are. You know your strengths and weaknesses, the areas you’re skilled in – to use a gamer term – you’ve got your character build.

So in this in-between time, I’m aware of my progress bars. It helps to analyse them from time to time so I can start to make some kind of sense of where I’m headed.

One area I’m enjoying working at is fitness. Whoever said gamers can’t have a gym membership. Seeing progress at the gym is a relief when all else can seem shrouded – yes I’m talking about my relationship and wealth bars…

Although thinking of life as a game sounds immature and potentially damaging, I think it’s helpful for remembering a key part of what I think life should be.


Why else would you play a game?

Even though I’m not moving at the speed of sound with a high flying career, a mortgage, and a clear future… I’m having fun right where I am, for now.

I wrote most of this post last week but didn’t finish it. In that time I read George’s post about going back to his childhood and rediscovering the part of himself he left for dead.

It’s one of the reasons for going travelling. Not to escape the game of life, but to move away from the daily grind. Explore a new area of the map, and come back with a better idea of who I am.

Plus, I love Thai food. Does there need to be a better reason?

Whilst you’re here, take the time to read George’s post. It’s my ambition to be able to write with as much evocation and imagination as him (and you’ll enjoy the read!)





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