Chaos Attraction

A Lack of Gamification

2014-02-13, 4:05 p.m.

So at the most recent library book sale, I picked up a copy of Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal. This is a topic I've been off and on mildly interested in. I'm really not much of a gamer because I have short attention span from hell and focusing on just one thing going on at a time for a long period of time is not my bag. But.... I totally agree with her concept that essentially, real life is boring (or "reality is broken"). Games get you all excited, get you in a flow state, give you fun challenges and get you engaged in life and being the hero. Real life is almost always not like that. We prefer games because in real life work, we're probably not making measurable progress or impact on the world.

If depression is defined as suffering from "a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity" (all quotes come from the book), then gaming is the direct opposite of that because you don't feel inadequate and you are doing things, that you can do. Activities that give you flow have clear goals, established rules, they can get more challenging, and they're fun. But most of real life--especially things like school--just doesn't have that.

"Satisfying work always starts with two things: a clear goal and actionable next steps toward achieving that goal. Having a clear goal motivates us to act: we know what we're supposed to do. And actionable next steps ensure that we can make progress toward the goal immediately.
What if we have a clear goal, but we aren't sure how to go about achieving it? Then it's not work--it's a problem....In the absence of actionable steps, our motivation to solve a problem might not be enough to make real progress. Well-designed work, on the other hand, leaves no doubt that progress will be made."

Later on in the book, she talks about how severe depression can kick in when we continue to pursue goals we can't attain, without paying attention to what our real skills are and what we are actually capable of doing.



I don't really HAVE easily achievable goals, or a set goal, or easy ways to actually achieve said goal. One of the things I tend to whinge on about is how that if I say, wanted to be a doctor, there's a sequence of requirements that I would know that I have to go through. in order to get to be one. If you want to be a....well, what is it that I want to be again? Whatever it is, it's not clearly defined or definable. There's no specific hoops to jump through. There's no way to know if I've "made it" or am making progress on ANYTHING. It's luck of the draw or something? Who the hell knows? It's a fuzzy mess?

Meanwhile, I keep going on in here about how all I want to do is knit. Well, knitting is its own kind of game: you can tell how far along you are, it can be vaguely competitive if you are say, doing the Ravellenic Games or trying to have it done by a certain date..... So my actually working on knitting is the one thing where I can prove some achievement here.


I'm not that far into the second section yet, about how she's turning real life into a game by playing Chore Wars and designing her own game to get her over her concussion symptoms ((I just sent a link about that to Merry) and the school that's based on gaming and airplane/airport games. I'm still not quite sure how to adjust that into my real life, maybe that will come in later as things go on. And I sort of wonder how that would work for me since I am not into the idea of enlisting others to "play along with me" and I've never been super competitive about things.

But it really clarifies something here for me as to why I'm a moping asshole with no point. Because I have no point! Duh!

Hopefully I will post more about this later. I do hope I get back to it after the drama of the con.

In other news, because I feel like I should cover these topics and now is the time when they have come up:

(a) I have decided that when I run into my various ex-friends at the con this weekend, I shall completely and utterly ignore them, even if they are right in front of my face. (And sadly, I will run into them several times a day because the con ain't that big.) Yes, some of them are still friendly and nice to me if the one that super hates my guts isn't around. But given that the last few times I have run into all of them en masse and said hi, they were barely polite to me and then basically ran as far as they could away while sending death glares.... I guess they are behaving that way because the one that hates me wants them to and she was there? Or something. None of them would answer me on that topic so what do I know. know what, if you want me to be fucking gone, then I'll be gone. I'll be so gone I turn invisible. That's what you want, I'll give it to you.

I hate that my friend group has ended that way, but that seems to be what they want. I don't get it and I've racked my brains for years trying to figure out what I did that was so awful, but.... I give up. I'll no longer exist or say hi or acknowledge them if that makes the girl who hates me happy and makes it easier for them to deal with her. Which I guess is the case. She's "family" and I wasn't "family" after all.

Grr, but there it is.

(b) The Watch Drama, Round 2 has now officially ended. To recap: my aunt on my dad's side (you know, the side of the family that really hates us and stopped talking to us in 2007) started demanding the return of some railroad pocket watch of my grandfather's oh...over a year ago now or something. She has been increasingly insanely rude about it. Mom has been looking for the damn thing, found a watch and gave it to her, and then my aunt was all, "No, that's not it." Meanwhile, my aunt has been having screaming breakdowns at my mom in public and over voicemail on occasion about it, so she's been staying classy. What with the state of the house and nobody in my gene pool being terribly good at finding shit, it took Mom a very long time to find some OTHER watch in the house.

Finally last night she took the second damn watch over to my aunt's, and it was deemed The Correct Watch, and they were actually polite and nice to my mother. And my aunt said that Mom should ah, delete her voice mail before listening to it. AHEM. And they asked if I had gotten married yet. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH. And that they might ask my mom over to dinner. I'm thinking that's a "when hell freezes over" sort of thing there.

But at least my aunt won't be blowing a damn gasket about not getting the damn thing any more, so there's that.

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