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Fight for the future.
The simplest sentences can sum up the biggest feelings. Things feel like they've clicked a bit, and I wanted to talk about overcoming some purchase anxiety, and how I want to fight for myself.
I had a great conversation with a career mentor this week. I'm months into my full-time job, and I was feeling a bit nervous about where I was mentally, and how I was adjusting. I'm not used to taking time to adjust, and this meant that I had a hard time gauging what was okay.
Things seem alright; it feels good to have someone go “you’re fine, but here’s where you should look next.” I'm looking to be more structured around things outside of work, like hobbies, exercise, or learning more. I know that if I'm not structured, I'm going to struggle with doing anything.
The analogy he used was that I can be tired after work, and probably I’ll continue to be if I’m only looking forward to what I’m making for dinner (which I never plan) and “what’s on TV” (which again, I’m never choosing). I’m always letting myself be in recovery mode, and I have to be able to test my boundaries in a healthy way to avoid stagnation.
My greatest fear is that tired feeling, and it being permanent and never-ending. I’m scared that it will keep me from living a full life, and keep me from engaging with things and people that mean a lot to me.
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While I’ve struggled to self-care and slow down during these adjustment months, I’ve forced myself to do it, if only to learn a new skill. I know it’s valuable, and I know it’s something I’ll continue to learn.
But for now, that desire to fight is growing again. I want to fight for the future.
While sometimes I say I have trouble with large purchases, I find that when I actually rip off the bandage, that anxiety over whether I "really needed this" or whether "I'm doing things right" fades quick.
I had this feeling across two recent items: a gym membership, and Street Fighter 6. This piece is more about my decision to pick up the latter, but like with many gaming-to-not-gaming metaphors, fitness has a lot of common beats.
Starting out feels intimidating because you're submitting yourself to comparison. For both fighting games and the gym, ideally you're the type of person that can rationalize your starting position as "not an inherently bad thing" and focus on yourself and your progress. I have trouble with this, from a desire to take an overly-large amount of responsibility for "not being better, or starting sooner."
Beginning a routine feels clumsy, because there's a lot of learning to do. Every match played online or time spent with weights feels like you're hyper-aware of how much you suck, and how you can't make your body do what your brain wants it to.
Because of the lack of progress, it's hard to find motivation in this period.
That initial "black hole" period can be beaten, and I want to try to, again.
Street Fighter 6 isn't a replacement for other things that I can do to improve my life. The things I learn and the way I learn it, are applicable to other areas. This is what I'm most interested in.
My goal isn't to get a certain rank or level, or to play tournaments or go pro. My goal is to be able to stick something out long enough to feel progress, be passionate, and find a way to avoid the focus on wins, losses, ranking up or down. I want to be able to enjoy the act rather than looking at it as a means to an end.
I'm also aware of how it sounds to put this much pressure on one title. But I like fighting games (when my brain isn't bad about them) and I like the idea of forming and living my own narrative of training, improvement, and fun.
That was what Ranked as a section of this newsletter was supposed to be about. The pursuit of "better," and how we interface with those discrete numbers and signs that are telling us our worth.
I think I'm turning a corner in being aware of how much weight I'm giving that to determine my worth.
The aftermath of that conversation with that mentor was weird. I feel like I needed the small amount of validation that what I was feeling was normal, and where I am is a very okay place to be.
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What would normally be time spent deliberating, was time spent acting. I've gotten things off of my to-do list that have been sitting there for months. I've just... moved. This kind of energy is likely going to be temporary, but I want to be conscious of what I can achieve, and especially the benefits of structuring out those wants, goals, and how I'm going to get there.
This was originally supposed to be much more about the specific of Street Fighter 6, and how I'm going to be approaching it, and what I like about it so far. I'll have another post about that soon, but for now, I like where my energy took me here.
Right now I'm sitting in bed on my laptop, with my hair in a towel, waiting for it to dry before sleeping. While I'd planned to write a draft today, it was the one thing I hadn't been able to do. I was going to shove it until tomorrow.
But I didn't. And that feels good.
We'll see where else I can go with that.
Till next time.