A couple of friends rightly expressed concern about yesterday’s essay. It was so bleak, after all. It came from a place in which I felt absolutely and utterly burned out, as if I had no energy whatsoever to write.
You should maybe stop writing for a bit, one of them said. If your car is out of motor oil, driving it will just cause the engine to seize.
I told them that in this case, I didn’t feel like a car without oil so much as a triathlete who’s hit the wall. I really wanted to get to the finish line, but just didn’t feel as if I had anything left. So I wrote, and after a while, was able to say that at least I had finished an essay.
The whole thing reminded me of a triathlete a whole bunch of years back who simply ran out of energy. Yet she wanted to finish. By the end of the race, she was crawling on her hands and knees, and lurched to the end.
I guess I want to know my limits. I’m learning them. It’s making it easier to write when I feel as if I have absolutely nothing in the tank.
Nonetheless, there is the rest of the day. On many days, after writing an essay or a story, I’ll keep writing, because the energy is there. Today, however, the energy just isn’t there.
This makes me think of the warnings that my friends gave me, and makes me realize a truth about this day, a truth so vivid and clear that I imagine my friends beckoning me toward that truth, having set a table full of Diet Coke and nachos:
It is wise, necessary in fact, to spend the day playing Guild Wars 2.
Guild Wars 2 is one of those Massive Multiplayer Online Games, or MMOG for short. Another better known game in the genre is World of Warcraft. And yes, these are the games in which a news story occasionally appears about someone playing them so obsessively that it takes over their lives.
Guild Wars 2 has not taken over my life. It will not take over my life.
I need to play Guild Wars 2.
Sometimes, as I contemplate my newfound obsession to write, it dawns on me that leisure and recreation is as important to my well being as work. There is a nobility to work in this country, a nobility that borders on madness at times. All leisure is suspect, and often, when someone spends their day on nothing but leisure, that person falls under suspicion.
A person who works 18 hours a day is a noble, diligent soul, one who devotes their life to labor. A person who spends a lot of time playing an MMOG or binge watching “Black Mirror”—a truly awesome modern take on “The Twilight Zone” that’s available on Netflix—is immediately branded as a slothful, lazy slug.
Forgotten in this paradigm is the fact that working all the time drives people insane. If you Google “Japan term,” the algorithm suggests “Japan term for working to death.” There is indeed a word for that, Karoshi. The term came into vogue when various workers, having devoted their lives to their desks, suddenly dropped dead at them.
I don’t want to be one of those people, and if spending a good chunk of my day playing Guild Wars 2 means that I will recharge my batteries so that I can write with a rediscovered zest and vigor, so much the better. Perhaps, for my soul at least, it is necessary to step back from my labors, and spend a few hours as my Asura Guardian, merrily hacking away at monsters in the virtual world.
No, I will not then spend my life at this, just as I will not spend the whole of my life writing. I will balance these things. And I will pick up my guitar, go for walks, read, watch cool movies and TV shows, and perhaps even take another stab at teaching myself to draw.
Yes, I admit it: there will be times, when I write, that I will be crawling on my hands and knees to the finish line. When I’m done, however, the last thing that I want to do is immediately crawl to the ocean to begin those two miles of ocean swimming that are the start of The Ironman Triathlon. I will get back to that, honest.
For now, though, the best thing to do is sit, and play. There are monsters to slay, and dungeons to explore. My soul is hungry for this, and I must feed it.