A blog about games, gamers, and various and sundry geek culture-related ephemera and paraphernalia.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"And when everything's special, nothing will be..."

Okay, that's not the exact quote (which would be - I believe: "And when everyone's special, no one will be.")

But it fits the mood, so I'm going to run with it.

I've been thinking lately. Well, maybe "thinking" is too strong a way to describe it. "Subconsciously ruminating until the feelings bubbled through to my conscious thought process" might be a better way to put it. However you package it, the end result is this realization:

Nothing seems fun anymore.

It just seems that the deluge of over-saturation provided by the internet and the massive beast that is entertainment media has washed out the feelings of joy and/or excitement that I used to get from the things I love, be it gaming or genre media. There's just so much stuff out there, it no longer feels special like it once did. I don't get excited anymore at the prospect of something new coming along in the pastimes I once loved. Worse, I often approach gaming sessions with what could better be described as anxiety or dread than anticipation.

Maybe it's just my old age. I've just recently passed the 45-year mark, and I know I'm not the wide-eyed kid I was once, no matter how hard I try to keep that inner child alive. It seems like it's my destiny to become a jaded cynic, and it would just be easier to give up than to keep fighting it.

Maybe it's life in general. Things have been pretty stressful these last few years. I feel like I've been struggling just to keep my head (and my family's heads) above water, enduring seemingly endless worry over bills, concerns about everyone's physical and mental health, turbulence in the workplace, and what feels like incessant waves of people who - regardless of my own calm and relatively harmless nature - keep trying to make my life miserable, whether intentionally or otherwise.

Maybe it's my inability to find friends. I've been struggling for quite some time to find new blood to re-energize my (and my fiancee's) social life. But man, it seems like most of my effort to that end has resulted in nothing but a disappointing waste of time and energy. In my experience, around here it's next to impossible to find people whose hobbies and interests are anything like ours. I can't believe that we're surrounded by so many people that are mind-numbingly mundane. On the very rare occasion that we have found new potential friends, they've generally turned out to be some combination of: controlling, antisocial, mean, rude, persistently negative, socially retarded, divisive, intolerant, self-absorbed, and/or judgmental.

(I know the preceding is hard to believe, and that by saying what I've just said I come across as some sort of elitist jackass. Surely, you may think, you're the one who's broken in this scenario. But take, for example, my place of work - a microcosm of my larger world: I've been working for just shy of 10 years at the same job, and I have made no friends from among my coworkers. Even the IT people, with whom I should logically have at least something in common, have been among the most mundane, uninteresting (and uninterested) people I've ever met. That stereotype of the IT guy/girl being a geek, enthusiastically interested in geek-stuff? Yeah, right. I have a lava lamp on my desk and I drive a New Beetle; these two items alone make me a subject of interest among the people where I work. How sad/scary is that? I'm afraid to even mention that I game - they might put me under glass and charge admission for others to look at me.)

So, yeah, maybe it's not that nothing's special anymore. Maybe it is just me/my life (dis)coloring my perspective. Or maybe it's some combination of the two...

Maybe, to misquote another movie:

"My life needs an enema!"

(It may not matter, because - according to some folks I know - the test of the Emergency Broadcast System that's scheduled to occur in 15 minutes is part of an Obama-led leftist agenda that will result in the US being exposed to attack by Islamic terrorists and the Chinese. I kid you not - these are the sort of people that congregate in my life...)

. . . . .

19 comments:

  1. Just to re-enforce the it's not you it's everyone else around here. He's right about where we live. I have always had tons of friends to do stuff with and hang out with where ever I've lived. Whether it's back in my native Ireland or in California where I used to live. People here are just weird. Well, not only just weird but back stabbing, mean and vengeful with the victim mentality thrown in. Chris is a good guy, and I'm a lot of fun usually but it just seems that everything is just shades of grey now.. I know from talking to some internet friends of mine we are not alone. It makes you wonder if someone hasn't put something in the water.

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  2. I'm feeling much the same way at the moment; and, to be honest, if it wasn't for these blogs that I read and the pseudo-social circle it creates, I'd feel even worse.

    Oh, and with winter closing in and the days getting darker, seasonal depression kicks in too. I'm lucky I have this hobby and two games (one I run, one I play) to keep going; otherwise, who knows where'd I be.

    Basically: you're not alone. There's some comfort in that.

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  3. I know how you feel.

    No, really. The bitch of it is that a good chunk of my disconnect is my Aspergers. The other chunk is that I have had to start divorcing myself of a lot of the "gee-whiz" stuff that I once filled my life with. One of my co-workers commented that I'm almost a Luddite for being in IT. I had to laugh.

    I hope you can pull yourself out of the funk. Something that helped me to gain perspective and strength was to have my own vision question - hence a 14 day primitive survival school trip out to Boulder Utah. (BOSS field course). It bubbles up and keeps me going, even in the face of either TEOTWAWKI or the Obama-anti-christ-coming, whichever worst case scenario suits ya.

    Good luck.

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  4. My wife and I go through the same issues with meeting new people, we want a better social life; but most of our old friends pretty much dumped us when we took in three kids and had to stop being a childless couple with 2 incomes and plenty of spare time. Central New York is an odd place though.

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  5. @Simon: It's definitely good to know I'm not alone. (And that it's not just a case of me being negative.)

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  6. @Mike: Thanks. :) (And thanks also for edumacating me on a new acronym. Sadly, I had to look up "TEOTWAWKI" - I really should have been able to figure that one out from the context. I guess I really am getting old.)

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  7. @zb: How's the gaming scene in Ithaca? I recently joined the Ithaca gamers Meetup group. It seems like there's a lot going on down there. But the drive is long enough without my car needing repairs (which it does). As a result, I've been reluctant to extend my search that far without some sort of assurance that my efforts will not be in vain there as well. (Rochester also has an active gaming community. The one trip we've made out there was great fun, and the people were wonderful, for the most part. Roc's just too far away to be a regular gaming destination, unfortunately.)

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  8. @Jagatai: Sorry to hear it. But I can identify - the gaming lifestyle definitely undergoes major changes when the family comes along. We're fortunate that our boys are in their late teens now. Not that it's improved anything, given our apparent inability to find like-minded folks with whom to socialize. :P

    And I'm glad someone else who has lived around here for a long time is willing to back up my comments about CNY. "Odd place," indeed. :)

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  9. Our kids are all teenagers now too, the oldest girl graduated from high school last June.

    Lived here long enough is right, I was born in Oswego hospital and still live in the same town as my parents, although I did live elsewhere for several years.

    Winter approaches and winter in Oswego county is bad, otherwise I'd suggest coming up here to game. I used to run a D&D game in Liverpool at an SCA buddy's house, but he moved a few years ago. My minivan is having troubles at the moment and you are having car trouble too, so the distance between us, while not great, is temporarily insurmountable.

    I take it as a good omen though, since I am of Scottish ancestry, that the word verification is "scone".

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  10. I'm in a similar situation.
    I've been in the navy for just over ten years.
    When you move every two to four years, you get kind of down when you have to leave your friends behind.
    I've been here in Virginia for about two years and don't have anyone I hang out with.
    Sure, I talk to the guy at the comic store every now and then.
    But it's hard for me to make friends when I know I'm moving again in a year.
    That's why I started blogging. I want to at least write about my hobby to someone who may appreciate my interest in it, even if they are anonymous.
    Also, on the whole aspect of maybe becoming a little jaded and not as excited about new stuff, I was feeling that for awhile.
    I have read so many comic books and games, I have become very critical.
    I've found that I need to start drawing again to satisfy this need for novelty.
    Sitting down with a blank piece of paper and making something appear still suprises me sometimes.
    Do whatever it takes to stir your imagination. Write a haiku or just random words. Doodle with whatever you have at hand. Sculpt with play-doh.
    You don't even need to have a goal, just create.
    It may sound crazy.
    That's what I'm here for.

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  11. This to me is what it's like to play World of Warcraft. LOL

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  12. I'm in a very similar spot. I've grown so tired of trying to socialize with people I can't connect with that I've become a virtual hermit.

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  13. @Jagatai: Well, once we've repaired our vehicles we'll have to see about getting together. :)

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  14. @Nemo: Actually, this was going to be part of my post, but I decided to save it for later discussion: I used have oodles of creativity. When I was younger, I would sit for hours and drew maps and sketch stuff. Later, I used various computer apps to create 3D graphics and animations. But I've seemed to lose those creative impulses over the last few years...

    And to misquote yet another movie: "My mother used to say: 'Crazy is as crazy does.'"

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  15. This must be a planetary cunjunction thing. I've been pondering doing such a post and here you've already done it for me. Thanks!

    I don't know if it's the time, the season, or that big asteroid that just missed us.

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  16. We live in a different time. We are the last generation of people who grew up in the 'before time'. You went to peoples homes, hung out, went out, socialized, gamed, went to clubs, played in clubs...now it's all about texting and twitter and the end of that type of social grouping.

    It has taken on a 'hive mind' appearance and it makes it tough for people to stand out now. It's just a constant background buzz.

    But I have to admit I'm a gear freak and if the world had to change I guess this wasn't the worst scenario. We could all be living under a Nazi flag if history had just hit a bump in the road or the weather had turned even worse at D-Day. I have read a lot of PK Dick and he had it on the radar before most people. What does it mean to be human. How do we interact with each other and the universe as a whole.

    I have went from having 30+ people a night at my house to not having anyone into the 'bunker' (my media room-bought the house because of it) in quite some time.

    I don't like to go on about personal things because I sound like I'm whining when there are people out here who are giants to me for the load they are shouldering, but if it wasn't for the internet community and the unique characters I have met online through these blogs (and some forums :) I would lose what is left of my mind. 6 years ago the world I had lived in for so long ended abruptly one Saturday morning and it has been a balancing act to just make it this far.

    So now that I have rambled on, chin up! I love winter time (I understand the seasonal disorder thing-the wife suffers badly from it-on the other hand I think I must have lived in Alaska in a former life cause I love winter days and staying inside, a fire burning and a good cup of coffee to sip on as I wind around the web).

    Boost your signal-to-noise ratio filter up a bit and dive in...we won't see times like these again. :)

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  17. Must be the age, and the turning of the seasons (as in "the autumn of your life" type season). I've been experiencing roughly the same thing at 47.

    I think that ADD Grognard has it right: We were raised in a world that has basically had the social rules rewritten for it. Some of us can easily adapt to the ever changing social landscape (e.g. Virtual), while some of us still thirst for that same face-to-face interaction that we grew up with.

    But at the end of the day I truly believe that the virtual / instantaneous ability to interact has reduced us. Our abilities as social creatures has degraded, and has unfortunately brought some ugly tendencies to the fore.

    Learn or pick up a musical interest...that's worked for me. Not related to fantasy or gaming, which seems to clear the cobwebs a bit. It might help.

    Good luck. You're not alone.

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