Day 854: Game Substitutes

It’s been a couple of weeks since my big burnout day, and I think dropping video games (and podcasts) has been good for me since then. It’s a bit like food (and booze) — can I find healthy substitutes?

Unhealthy substitutes to date:

  • Garbage movies. I’ve dropped my Netflix subscription, so unfettered bad content is no longer at my fingertips, but I have have access to a friend’s Plex server and have been ravaging it for diverting, “nutrition-free” science fiction and comedy.
  • Comics, either on my iPad or from the library
  • Books! I mean, like, novels. This gets weird, because it dives right into literary snobbery and kind of crappy hair-splitting. I’m reading In the House in the Dark of the Woods right now, and I’m not sure whether that’s candy or a vegetable, or even if I should be trying to draw these distinctions.

Healthy substitutes:

  • Educational books! I really should finish Ryan North’s How to Invent Everything, because it’s great and I feel like I’m a better person when I read it.
  • Like, really serious novels for serious people, like I read The Good Lord Bird and felt like I was reading Important Books.
  • Non-garbage movies. My friend has Boyhood as well as Neighbors on his Plex server. Guess which one I watched?
  • Practicing a musical instrument
  • Working on figuring out how to make electronic music on my computer
  • Working on my danged book
  • A few other projects/hobbies
  • Canoeing / outdoors time

I guess I’m still hoping for a magic transformation where I become a doer of culture instead of a consumer of not great stuff, or at least a consumer of great stuff. How does that happen?

Planning, probably.

My wife’s also encouraging me to read “The F*ck It Diet”, which I’ve kind of read — it’s now in a category of books I think of as “Blinkists”, where there’s a good idea, and about 250 words of actual content in every chapter, and 10,000 words of anecdotes, repeating the same thing in different ways, and personal rambling to pad it out to book length. But the core is interesting. I’ll get into it another time.

Here’s an interesting question for me to ask myself: it’s May. What, in September, would I regret not having done this summer? It’s a good way to find focus.