June 17, 2020

Tokens, Part 2

4:12 AM

I don’t really want to write this. What I want is to be productive, which is why I’m using this little bit of time to create content so I can consider this day not entirely wasteful. Which doesn’t really make sense, because this is just a blog post and not anything actually worth making a big deal out of. I suppose you can consider this practice of some sorts, as the more of these I write, the more comfortable I get with writing in general and creating stuff, etc.

But what do I actually want? Do I actually want to do these things because I actually enjoy them, or are they just a means to access the finished product? Do I really like playing music and practicing jazz, or do I just like to be able to play something that in itself is pleasing to me? If it was possible for me to just click a button and have a completed project right before my very eyes, would I opt out of the arduous hours and long weeks of actually getting things done? Would I be okay with just having my achievements and creations manifest out of thin air, or do I actually find enjoyment in the journey and process? I don’t really know. Another good question that follows a similar sentiment is this one: if I was told a project was destined to fail in the future, not just by speculation but by pure clairvoyance, would I still work on it? Would I even want to spend time on a project that would never succeed?

Probably not. But for the first question, I really don’t know. Perhaps part of the gratification that comes from creating something and achieving a goal is the long and frustrating path that must be walked to get there. But it’s not like any of the hypothetical scenarios that were listed in the previous paragraph are actually possible, so everything that I say about them is purely speculation and probably useless in the context of figuring out what to do with my time in real life.

My tokens aren’t running out. I’m 19. I have the whole world ahead of me. I have a life to live and there are so many opportunities to take advantage of and things to see and places to go and stuff to do. But I have to check off a certain number of things off a list before I get “too old”, or I’ll always have regrets about not spending more time on this or that. Enjoying my youth and getting ahead in life are the two polar opposites that everyone always seems to say. Spend more time relaxing! Spend more time practicing this and do this early so that you won’t have to deal with this later. They are incompatible. But picking which one of these to prioritize is not the real issue. The real issue is figuring out how to enjoy life and be happy, whether I’m 13, 19, 24, or 51. Because right now, the projects aren’t really cutting it. I’m just going through the motions and trying to get stuff done so I don’t fall into a hole of despair, frustration, and disappointment.

A little dark, I suppose. But I spend far too much time thinking about how I should be spending my time more wisely or what I’m going to work on today or the options I have to be productive within a certain timeframe. But do I actually care? I have no idea. If I was told that none of these side projects and hobbies would never amount to anything substantial and that my college degree and extracurricular activities related to my major would secure me a nice cushy job that was able to financially support me and my future family for the rest of my life, would I just give up on everything? Would I be content with playing video games and watching TV shows and just watching the days fly by, trying to get the most enjoyment out of my time?

I don’t know. But I think that if I continue to do work just for the prospect of success in the future or big opportunities to open up, I will inevitably burn out. And long before that, I will begin to despise working and trying to improve my skills.

I wrote this because I rolled a 12 and took it upon myself to write something. Now I’m going to roll again, because I’m finished writing. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I want to just not worry about it. I’m allowed to be bad and I’m allowed to waste time. Just because it was not part of the original plan does not mean it should be stressful or unenjoyable. I should just relax.

Relax, please. Life is an arcade, and time is the tokens. Stop worrying about the possibilities and just play.

- Sam