My Busy Evenings

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about being mellow. As in, how you unwind after a long, stressful day. The first thing I do is change into something more comfortable, like shorts and a shirt or pajamas. Not exactly the serious, aloof image I give out in public. I don’t have to impress anyone at home. Besides, it’s not like I’m having anyone over for dinner. I fix myself something something simple but filling, like a hamburger or sandwich. Maybe a salad, if I’ve got enough ingredients already chopped up. I’m usually too exhausted for anything fancy. If I’m home early enough, I head over to the television and get my Jeopardy fix. I’ll knock out the dishes and clean up during the first half of Wheel of Fortune, then peek back just in time to see the final puzzle. I don’t bother with prime-time television anymore – few shows appeal to me – so I retire to my room.

From there, it’s pretty much a matter of whatever catches my interest. The laptop is usually on all evening, though I’m not obsessed with social networks. I log into Facebook and other emails just long enough to see if there are any messages, then shut them off. I know that if I stay on something like Tumblr or Pinterest  for more than a few minutes, I’ll end up scrolling through pictures for hours. I check my YouTube subscription updates, as well as Nostalgia Critic and Red Letter Media. I’ll usually hit up WordPress and see if there’s an interesting prompt, then think up something to put on the blog. After that, I’ll just load up a movie on iTunes. I don’t watch it, though; I just need something for background noise. I’ll spend the next few hours either writing or reading. Nothing particularly glamorous or interesting, but at least it’s relaxing.

But if I really need to let off some steam, I play video games. Since I’m a reviewer, it’s *actually* work, but it’s fun as long as I pace myself. I’m a big fan of fighters, particularly Street Fighter III: Third Strike. I’m currently the 4th highest-ranked Chun-Li on the PSN leaderboards, which is a good indication of how obsessed I am. Check it out:

Because competing in one of the greatest and most technically-demanding video games ever made is great stress relief…I need a new hobby.

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Happiness Comes In Small Doses

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about happiness. This one’s kind of tricky, because…well, happiness isn’t something that happens too often to me. The things that people typically associate with it – other people, families, a home, etc. – have always been some of my most galling issues. Paying for and graduating from college on my own was arguably my biggest and most satisfying achievement, but it was triumph ridden with stress and a sense of emptiness and finality. Even my previous career in banking, from which I learned several skills, was an ultimately hollow and unrewarding experience. I wish I could’ve just played it safe and had that stable, 9-5 office career. I really do. It would’ve been so much easier. But it drove me nuts. For a dozen years, I went in every morning with my instincts screaming and begging me to turn and run.

Eventually, the decision was made for me.

So, what does happiness mean for me? This is going to sound really cheesy, but it’s the little stuff. Meeting someone whose kindness subverts my dreading expectations. Accomplishing and creating something. Exploring new places, climbing hills and mountains just to see the view. Being able to watch sunsets. Those quiet moments when I’m wandering far all alone, the wind in my hair and the sun on my back. Staying up late writing. Letting the thoughts flow out of me like a river of words, then crafting a narrative out of it. Seeing games, literature, and movies with an analytical eye, and enjoying them even more for it. Unlike some people who just brag about their book collections, I actually read mine. Finishing a book feels so good. So does completing a jigsaw puzzle. And mastering another language. And learning to draw with a tablet. And kicking ass in Jeopardy.

…And maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That sounds good right now.