Predictions

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about predictions. Specifically, where you’ll be on July 30th of this year.  I have no idea, honestly. Everything’s so much up in the air right now, it’s not even funny. Suddenly losing my job near the end of 2013 kind of threw a monkey wrench into what little I had planned. However, it also forced me into actually making some long overdue changes; without such impetus, my growth as a person probably would’ve continued to stagnate. Now, the map of my life’s journey is entirely uncharted. And by no means am I in dire straits yet. However, I’m not naive enough to believe I can maintain this situation for any extended time. I can – and will – do better than that. The main priority for the coming months is finding another job.

To that end, I’ll most likely be in a classroom (physical or virtual) on July 30th. I’ve recently found out about an online technical writing program through the UC Berkeley extension, and to be honest, it’s very intriguing. Writing has always been my strongest skill, so it would only make sense for me to obtain the education and a second degree that best complement it. Going back for my M.A. isn’t entirely off the table, either. That being said, the prices for the individual courses are pretty ridiculous; I don’t want to sink thousands into something that’ll end up going nowhere. I’d much rather do self-education; information is out there, and I’ve done way more studying after getting my B.A. If I’m going back to school, then I’d better have at least some sort of meager income backing it up.

Assuming that my wishful thinking pays off and I find good work, then I might be traveling abroad on July 30th. A potential trip down to Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay was in the works last year, and I’d loathe to throw that away. I try visiting a new place every year; it gives me a chance to change up perspectives and have new experiences. And considering all the pictures on this blog, you can probably tell I’m a serious camera fiend. If I’m traveling abroad, it’s practically guaranteed that thousands of photos are coming back with me. If I can afford it, I’d probably pick up a better camera as well. But if my South America plans fall through, I might settle for Comic-Con or E3. I’ve been wanting to go to both for years, but never had the time. Now I have all the time in the world, and I don’t want to waste the money on them.

Funny how that works.

Regardless of how things turn out on the job and travel fronts (and I just noticed I completely disregarded any notions of romance, which is technically a possibility as well), I’ll be reading. At this hour on July 30th, I can safely assume I’ll be reading a book. Most likely something from Alice Munro, whose bibliography I’ll be tackling throughout this year. Gotta keep the time filled, after all.

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Daily Prompt: To Boldly Go…, Or: I DON’T Have A Dream

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about contemplation. Specifically, about goals for 2014. This one’s pretty difficult for me to answer, especially as of late. One of my biggest problems is playing the long game. You’ve probably heard the phrase; it’s about long-term plans or objectives. I’m really good with daily schedules and problem-solving – going from Point A to Point B happens in seconds – but the long term? It’s like this nebulous entity, an endless and terrifying expanse of possibilities. It’s like being stuck on a life raft in the middle of the ocean, with no paddle or land in sight. Or tiger, for that matter. What do you do when you don’t have a dream? I don’t know. I’ve never known; I never thought I’d live this long. I’ve just been existing. After college, tangible achievements seemed to vanish as I let myself be consumed by my career. The normal stuff – you know, a family, house, retiring, and the rest of the American Dream – seemed utterly alien to me. Years of dismally working to maintain some kind of overblown standard of living and stressing over finances, and for what? Retirement? Right. Maybe they’d give me a cake before I left the office. Taking care of elderly relatives left me disillusioned over the prospect of living to old age. Why would I want to end up like that, shunted off into obscurity, a forgotten character in a picture, a remnant of a story that only gets told half-truthfully at Christmas dinner?

Yeah, think about that when your elders visit for the holidays.

See, that’s the thing. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t fear death. I’ve long acknowledged and accepted my mortality. I fear living a normal, meaningless existence. Looking back at the last few years I’ve been doing exactly that. It’s very easy to let yourself become complacent and comfortable. To play it safe. Nothing changes, but nothing improves. You let yourself get mired in the daily grind, and you get by well enough. Maybe you get some modicum of satisfaction out of it. But there’s always that lingering doubt, the sense of frustration, the implicit understanding that you could – and should – be doing more. If that goes on long enough, it’ll consume and ruin you. I think Captain Picard and Q summed it up best.

So, how do I avoid that? It’s a matter of living with purpose…Or something. Sounds kind of bland, doesn’t it? I much prefer Nietzsche’s take on the matter. He basically argued that life was indeed meaningless, but that every person could determine their own meaning. The concept of the Übermensch has always fascinated me; how far can an individual go in defining their own morality and world view? It’s harder than it sounds. I’m not sure if it counts as a goal, as opposed to a long-term process. But how does that work in the everyday scheme of things? I think I need to stop worrying so much about the high likelihood of a bland, meaningless future, and start making my own. I don’t have a dream, but I can live and die on my terms. Improving and capitalizing on my skills, instead of settling for something safe but unfulfilling. Studying and enjoying things that interest me, not trying to meet others’ personal expectations. Developing and defining myself as an individual, not cultivating a wonderfully complex but ultimately fake persona…

Yeah, you probably get the idea.

It’s scary, though. As any writer will tell you, good character development is hard. Doing it in real life? Much, much harder. It’s also possible to go overboard with it, resulting in a loss of identity and focus. Rather than being stuck in a lifeboat, it’s like being on sailing ship in the middle of a storm. All you can do is hold on and hope you don’t drown…Okay, enough with the ocean metaphors. You were probably expecting a list of realistic goals, anyway. Here are some (in no particular order) for 2014:

-Find a practical, well-paying writing job. Marketing or copy-writing, perhaps?

-Further develop my writing skills. (This does include an honest, non-NaNoWriMo attempt at a novel.)

-Expand writing subjects (and thus audience) to cover all interests, not just games. (This blog has certainly been a good start.)

-Obtain reliable and affordable health care.

-Travel more. (Iguazu Falls is currently on my radar. Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay by extension.)

-Further expand my literary repertoire. (The fantasy genre and graphic novels are at the forefront.)

-Learn a third or fourth language. (I’m thinking Chinese and French. Esperanto and Latin as well.)

-Learn how to drive.

-Pick up a new skill. Most likely drawing. Guitar, perhaps.

-Obtain a better camera.

-Start working towards my Master’s degree, or at least a second Bachelor’s.

-Have more self-confidence and better maintain interpersonal relationships. Work on shyness.

-Stay introverted, but don’t reject people outright. Romance a possibility, though highly unlikely.

-Start a review/commentary channel on YouTube.

-Watch every Hayao Miyazaki film.

-Complete at least one more jigsaw puzzle.

…I’ll think up more later.