My walk officially started about a week and a half ago now, and I haven’t really touched on how gaming relates to this. My ‘About’ page touches on that a little, but I’ll go more in depth here.
First things first; I think games are an amazing medium for various forms of art. It’s not lost on me that the preceeding claim isn’t exactly unpopular, but the disclaimer is important. It’s important because I managed to let a wonderful thing become a hostile element in my life.
You see, games are kinda all I know right now. Yes, I’ve studied plenty of other things than games and their mechanics that have interested me (physics, philosophy, other pretentious sounding crap), but in terms of filling the day with something all I really knew were games. Games, work, and sleep.
I only bothered going out when invited, usually by my awesome siblings. But any time I’d reach the destination, part of me wondered why I went at all. I don’t know how to talk to people, I don’t really care to learn, I’m basically out doing things because I think I should be. And I like spending time with Sam and Alycia (brother and sister).
So, if I was to ever learn something besides gaming as a medium to relate with people, where do I even start? Working out? Maybe I’ll look better, but then what I’ll know is games and exercise. Not a bad start, but it still felt insufficient for a starting point. Desktop games? Sure, I love the flexibility of what you can do in a game like Dungeons and Dragons, but do I really need to expand into even more games?
Okay, so all of this still begged the question; where do I even start on the front of being more sociable? It seemed that, no matter where I looked, my options might produce solutions later than I had the patience for. No matter what medium I selected, I wouldn’t really have that interesting thing to talk about or share that would make being social easier.
Which brings me to another realization prerequisite to my wanting to walk across America; of course anything worth talking about is going to take a lot of time, effort and pain. No matter what I choose, it’ll take a long time to get there and a lot of the path will kinda suck. If the path I choose has any chance of leading do anything greatly satisfying, at least.
Basically, I finally found in my Walk for Healthy Gaming a proverbial forge in which to refine my metals. All the forges I was willing to use all burned too weakly for good production, but they didn’t make me sweat when I worked in them so I didn’t care. Then I would see the forges of all those I held in high regard, flames licking from the hearth to nearly consume their users. Exciting! But I don’t wanna risk the pain.
That risk, that drive, the exploration outside of one’s comfort zone is exactly what makes people great. Through tremendous effort and willpower do we learn to take the valleys with the mountains by digging out our own valleys and building mountains with the gathered materials. I would get nowhere just taking the terrain as it surprised me, but I can make myself an expert in navigating it by trialing my path as I see fit.
All that said, the reason I want to raise awareness for the charities I chose (Extra Life, Child’s Play, Game Changer, etc) is to make gaming a positive element in the lives of others. I let it get in my way, but I can help it create a way for those who truly need it.
I also want to reach out to those who might find themself where I was: in a rut of a self-restricting comfort zone, afraid to move out of it. I want you to know that’s it’s every bit of scary that you may be imagining. But that’s good! Fear is a natural part of ourselves we should get to know and explore. It keeps us alive in unfamiliarity and hard times, which is all the more reason to face it head on and control it! It will never really go, so get a strong hold on how you naturally respond by carefully exposing yourself to it. In doing so, you prepare yourself for the event when fear bursts in unexpectedly!
It will be hard. It will be turbulent. It may even shake you to your core and reveal things about yourself that were never anticipated. But, it can also bring you to your peak. It can bring experience and contentedness, the ability to better support those you hold dearly to your heart.
Be strong! I know you can do it, because I did it even in all my self doubts. Keep being awesome.