I love this article. I feel it encapsulates a lot of the experiences and life lessons I’ve learned in my 28 years:
In short, it’s a summary of how to tackle life, address failure, constantly improve yourself, and move forward in the face of uncertainty. Some of this the author intended, some they did not. Of course, leave it to a post on gaming for me to derive meaning.
The article is written in tandem with Leigh Alexander and Quintin Smith, but it’s Alexander’s portions that inspired me on a few different fronts. First, it reminded me that I can always be a better writer. Check out this brief paragraph:
“I don’t like to play new games in front of people. I want to learn them first. My memories of falling in love with the medium are of a private congress, sitting in the dark, in a silent meditation with a screen. Worshipping at a square of light, eyes aching past bedtime. When young I could play Tetris for hours, sorting tumbling chaos into tidy lines, watching them disappear.”
My word. It’s literary ecstasy. The description, word selection, adjectives … it’s art. I know what she feels, how she feels, what she sees, how she sees. I connected with her despite, really, only looking at a set of zeros and ones.
I read that paragraph and resolved to improve my writing. I don’t ever feel “bad” about my writing, but I am constantly reminded that I can achieve more with it. I’m trying to do so right now as I type this. The overarching lesson is to never stop improving. You can always be learning something, and you should always be learning something.
On the point of addressing failure and tackling life, I offer this bit of prose:
“I have always feared losing. To be seen to be struggling — to experience frustration, to have to say, numb in the face of overwhelming information, things like “I don’t get it” — disrupts me bodily, disassembles my composition. Even the prospect of failure is humiliating.”
Everyone struggles with something. It’s part of life. Even the greats in history aren’t infallible. Napoleon? Ali? King? We all have setbacks, and we can all be a little shy in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. But while you, personally, have the entire film reel of your life in your head, often time playing both the defeats and triumphs you’ve had, most people are only watching your highlights. Your failures will only be as detrimental to your success as you allow them to be. Learn from them.
The final paragraph that I took to heart was this:
“Try on this definition of “mature” and see what you think of it: Maturity means running toward new things, to see what you can learn, where before you ran away from them. That’s one of the tricky little itches video games have always scratched for me: You have no option except to move forward.”
I’ve lived my life in a similar manner for a while, but it’s great to put it to words, to give it tangible existence so I can share with others. Being scared is no reason for inaction. It just means you need a better plan. Embrace change, leap at opportunity with vigor and enthusiasm. That’s what this chance in California means to me.
“Maturity means running toward new things, to see what you can learn, where before you ran away from them.”
There is only forward. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends” … again, and again, until we get it right.