Not your atypical title, huh? I wanted to put tons of other things, but to sound like a professional, I have to listen to a simple program. Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, and other authors don’t have to deal with this shit.

Anyway, let me tell you how I took back my last year and did a complete 360 in just a short amount of time.

Last year, I needed to get my head straight. I feel over the last few days I have had a process of being reborn. Like 2020 is going to be the start of MY decade. The decade where I decide, “You know what? Fuck you last decade! This is my time! I own this! I deserve this!”

My family had a setback last year. We became a “one income” family, which puts us in what America’s government considers “poverty level.” That sucks, but I realized this wasn’t a setback. Our “setback” was more of a “comeback.”

Allow me to explain.

I spent last year trying to get disability for mental health that, honestly, I never thought I would get. But, I listened to my family, who would watch all the manic episodes I would go through, and I started to believe them to a degree. Maybe I did need a disability? Perhaps I was losing touch with reality? So, I didn’t work on any projects. I would write in here, but I would avoid trying to do anything because I thought, “Why?”

I got into online gaming a few years back with one game. It was called Empires & Puzzles. It’s a match-3 game with role-playing elements added to it. When my family and I first started playing it, we loved it. We performed our tasks daily, loved collecting characters and items, and progressing through the game. Then the game told us that if we want to move forward in the game, we would have to join a team, or, in this case, an “alliance.” So, we searched out one that would take us in. They seemed nice at first.

When you join a group, as with any team, group, business, etc., everyone has to pull their weight. If anyone steps out of line, or if anyone does not help the group, they are removed, fired, let go, banned–whatever you want to call it.

My family and I made sure we stayed active in this group, but after a while, I was not too fond of this mentality of kicking people out of a group. Some people had legitimate reasons for not being online and helping for a period (which was a short period), and there were demotions and banishments from the group. Looking back on it, I understand the whole group mentality, treating it like it was an organization, but I wouldn’t say I liked it after a while. I defended the member, and, as most situations happen, other group members disagreed with how I felt. I think I remember getting into a little argument, not heated mind you, but a very heated debate about it nonetheless.

My family left the group. We didn’t like the structure or rules that followed this type of system, so we removed ourselves from the equation and started our three-person family alliance.

That lasted for a year before we realized we weren’t progressing as fast in the game. We weren’t bored. We weren’t getting the same things we would have if we were not part of a larger group, which brings us to September.

We joined a broader alliance. Over the last year, the game became more serious, more of an actual tournament of champions to people, like reenactors portraying famous battles in history, or LARP groups that would gather and have role-playing adventures.

This was real to them. And, I don’t mean “real” in the sense that these players thought they were these characters they collected. The actions players would perform in the game and the battles they would have with other alliances, and, once again, the organizational structure was much more cutthroat, dare I say much more dangerous to these people.

People watch others in their teenage years or their twenties with colorful hair record themselves playing games and even have esports teams that get paid to play games for a living. I felt that the people I was in company with were trying for the same goals. It turns out that some of them put lots of money into the game — some people in the hundreds, others in the thousands, if not more. My family and I were part of this group of people that put some money into the game. I think the most we spent was a little over $100. Would we do that again going on in this decade? Hell no. People become angry when a player who either didn’t spend anywhere near what they invested into a game. They are much more severe with their attitudes about this. I went through four groups in this game between September 2019 to yesterday because of people taking the game to a level that was unhealthy.

What changed? I saw the evil in people. I felt the toxicity of the seriousness of these people and the game. I took offense by things that were said to me, as well as defend myself from people who thought I was causing the drama. I had enough drama in my life that I didn’t want anymore to follow me, especially in the online gaming world.

A little over three months of arguments with people, being banished by people from groups, having people push you around–I couldn’t do it anymore. Honestly, we were behaving like children. And it made me ill.

After having a shitty day earlier in the week because of the drama of online gaming and that environment, I decided that I needed to snap myself out of my funk before I went down a path of darkness that would take a while to dig out. I looked at my bookshelf for answers. Surely something would be there (and, no, it wasn’t the Bible).

I saw Mark Manson’s book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living The Good Life.” I know that some people find self-help books malarkey, and I know some reviews have torn the book apart for its approach. But, I needed to read something. I needed answers on how to stop feeling like shit.

Twelve pages into Mark’s book and I was slapped in the face and reminded that life is too short to be giving a fuck about this. I needed to make the differences in my life, or I was going to continue to go through what he calls “The Feedback from Hell.”

Today, I’m still rereading his book. I need to reflect on the life lessons of honestly living a better life. I spent this last year feeling like shit, this online gaming world was the nail in the coffin, and I needed out.

I closed my account on the game. I deleted all but three games on my phone, two are casual solo games that I don’t have to compete with anyone else, and one other that is a competitive online game, but it is a racing game, and if I get kicked out of a group, fuck it. I’ll find another group to join and keep racing. I don’t have to talk to anyone. I can drive and be happy. A few of the people I befriended I told I could no longer go through this toxic lifestyle I was leading and that I want to be a writer, an entertainer, a photographer. I want to go on adventures. I want to write experiences, I want to be adventurous.

I don’t frequent certain YouTube celebrities, but I catch a few of them that document their life. Casey Neistat (I hope I am spelling his name right. I refuse to look when I type these posts) is one person that comes to mind. I’ve watched a few of his videos, and it is impressive that a man in his 30s with three kids has made such a grand adventure of life and has taken everyone, and I don’t just mean his family, I mean watchers and fans of his channel, every step of living the good life.

Do I want to be like Casey? Actually, yeah. Not for fame. Not for the money he probably gets from sponsors (I have no idea if he does). Not for any reason other than I want to live a fulfilled life. I don’t want to sit there and think, “Oh! I’m taking all these medications! I must be sick!” No! I want to approach my new psychiatrist, look him in the eye, and say, “These are what I feel are my actual problems. I don’t know why the other doctors felt that I have a multitude of other problems. I feel I have too many medications. It’s time to start weaning off some of these and tackle the real problems at hand.”

That is what I want to start. I already have projects that I am actively working on. I am in the process of a book (technically, I have notes for two full novels, but this first one I think is going to be just for fun and a good exercise before the two serious books) that I am going to be working on very soon. I have a photoblog that I started on a possibly dying platform (Tumblr), but I honestly don’t give two fucks. I’m going to utilize it until they either shut it down or it gets bought out by another company. You can find it here. I am writing on three different blogs: this public journal of my life and two others. One is a review blog of new ideas and innovative products, and the other is a comic book blog that I will treat more as a hobby. The posts will be more editorials rather than just reviewing a book or talking about what is currently going on with a character or their backstory. I want to try something different with it. Both of those will be up shortly as well. Okay, one will definitely. The other I need outside help. Lastly, for now, I changed my reading goal from 20 books last year to 30 books this year. Mathematically, I think I figured out how to manage my reading time with those.

I’m going to stop focusing so much on death and the art of dying by suicide. I’m going to focus on living my life. Not for anyone else, including my family, but myself. That may sound selfish, but I never looked at suicide, affecting anyone else but myself. And, I still have that mentality. But, everyone wants you to think about how it affects them. To me, that sounds selfish. I guess that is why I have always had that mentality. It doesn’t seem very warm-hearted. It means to me that I am treating this with some form of reality. It may be hard to swallow. I know my family doesn’t fully understand. I guess you have to be the person in the position to have the thought.

I’m sure I will figure out more things to do and to succeed in for 2020. But I feel like this decade is not only a fresh start but an escape from all that extra poison in life that was affecting me last year.