Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Time for Friends

Time.  It fills up so fast.  Or so everyone seems to say.  I don't understand how that happens.  I sometimes ask people if they want to hang out and suggest a day.  They say no, sorry, that day doesn't work for me.  I say ok, no problem, when is a good time for you?  They kind of squirm and sigh and say I don't know, my time is pretty booked from here on out. 

...What?  You don't even know when you will have any time for me next?  That's not good.

I don't know about you, but I just can't live that way.  Rejecting time with friends because you are too busy?  That's bad enough.  And you certainly won't be in a position to help someone if they really need it.  You've already been written off as not having time for them.

Time by yourself and your immediate family is very important, to be sure.  To me, that's the default.  If nothing else is going on, which usually it's not, then we'll spend time together or alone.  That's great.  But if someone else wants to hang out, I will absolutely make it a priority to spend some time with them.  And I try to ask people if they want to come over every chance I get.  Unfortunately since everyone's so busy it's hard to make that work as often as I would like.  

How do people get so busy?  I still don't understand this.  I don't think it's intentional.  Maybe what happens is that you just get into a routine.  You go home and play with your kids and eat dinner and watch your shows and that's that.  It's hard to schedule time with someone else to intrude into there for some reason.  Maybe we don't want to let people intrude into that more personal time.  Seems like a missed opportunity to me.

Weekends seem to fill up with sports, hobbies, volunteer work, and some small time with friends. It's almost like when you're on vacation and you want to schedule every minute with good stuff so you don't waste any time or something.  That is crazy too.

Maybe it's just me, but I never really had a problem with finding time.  Maybe the occasional weekend will fill up with stuff, but that's pretty rare.  Even a whole day filling up is rare.  Weekends, weekdays, doesn't matter, I will move my schedule around to make space for you.  You are worth it.  Time with friends is more important to me than just about anything else.  Hobbies, games, work that needs done, all that gets pushed to the wayside.  If you can't do that, if there's just too much stuff to get done, well, stop doing so much! Your schedule is too full.  There are more important things you're missing out on.

Actually, if something needs doing why not call a friend over to help out?  It doesn't always have to be 'fun' time with them.  Working with friends is just as rewarding.  We forget that sometimes.  Friends are not there for entertainment only, they are there to help and share with all aspects of our life.

Tear down the walls and let your friends in!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Darkness Within

So here I am again.  Debating internally.  Do I go forward with this or not?  I know I shouldn't.  I don't even want to.  What I want to do is run away.  Get out of here and get back to safety.  Yet... I am still here.  Frozen in indecision.  The longer I wait here the easier it is to go ahead with it.  Rationalize it somehow.  I can rationalize anything given enough time to think about it.  I know this too.  Why can't I run?

There is an escape, I know there is, but it seems so far away.  Maybe I will even turn away this time, but it always comes back.  I could just go ahead and do this thing and get it over with and hate myself and forget about it soon after, until the next time.  I hate myself for even being able to be tempted by this thing.  I know better!  I want to be better!  But... no matter what I do, I just can't shake it off completely.

Temptation.  It's tough.  And it won't go away as long as you live.  This is the dual nature we live with.  Our sinful nature that we were born with, waging war against the holy nature infused in us by our savior.  This is great evidence for Christianity, it's the only worldview I know of that really tackles this problem of sin head on and makes sense of it all in this messy life.  I feel so bad for the ones that don't even have that, and are left to struggle on their own. 

There is some hope.  God always provides a way out each time you are tempted.  It is your decision to do it or not.  Sometimes he even interferes when we are making the wrong choice: a sudden phone ring, knock on the door, or cat knocking something over can be just the distraction we need to get away.  Although even when I have had several layers of this going on, at times I still pressed on.  Finally there was a point where God just let me go and find what I was looking for, but really didn't want.  Sigh.

We can take comfort that even the great apostle Paul struggled with these same things.  "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  This terrible thing may have a purpose in the end though:  it does keep us humble and reminds us that we need to turn to God constantly in this life, for by our own strength we are too weak.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Creative Guilt

So there's a opening of time on the weekend.  Suddenly I have a few hours free to do whatever I want to.  That's wonderful!  What should I do?  I could actually go be productive around the house a bit.  Sure.  I'll do that for a bit.  What else?   I could go work on creating my game some more.  Yes, I should definitely do that.  People will love it when it's done.  I need to work on it so I can show it to them!

Maybe I do get around to working on it, maybe I don't.  Either way, the free time is usually well spent.  Sometimes you just need to zone out for awhile. 

Here's where I get into trouble though:  I end up feeling guilty for not working on my game.  In my head I feel like I have let these people down somehow.  That they are out there waiting anxiously for my next creative offering, and I just selfishly spent this time on myself instead.

What a delusion!  Unless you are one of the rare few who really DO have a teeming fanbase, then it's really just your friends and family who are going to humor you by checking it out.  And even then, let's be honest:  it will just be put on their lists to get to eventually.  There's plenty of other things going on in their lives right now to keep them busy until you are done.

So often we put this false guilt on ourselves that we have to do these things for others that, while they may be nice, are in no way necessary, and certainly don't have to be done in a hurry.  In fact, if they knew you were stressing out about it they would say forget the whole thing, it's not worth it!

This creative work, this hobby, this interest, whatever it is, you have to just do it for yourself.  Relax!  Have fun with it again.  If you get stuck or need a break, take a long break.  There is zero reason to feel guilty.  If you are passionate about it, you will come back and finish it.  And it will be great, whenever it gets done, because you have gained so much from it.  If other people like it too, that's just a bonus.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Drink?

I've always been the odd man out when it comes to drinking.  I just see no reason to indulge in that.  I have tried many various types of alcohol and all of them...well... taste like alcohol.  Yuck.  People say it's an acquired taste.  I guess so.  But why would I want to go through the trouble of acquiring it?

It tastes gross.  Lots of calories in there.  It's quite expensive.  You literally have to plan around it and designate people to drive you home. 

And if you drink too much.... well.  That can get you into real trouble.  It's fun!  Liquid courage!  Well... if you have to be drunk to relax and have fun, or to talk to someone, I'd say there's something fundamentally wrong that you need to look into.  I have lots of fun without any of that.  And if you need to be drunk in order to do something crazy, that's a pretty good indicator that you shouldn't be doing that at all.  Sometimes we laugh at things that look odd and don't make sense to us.  Oftentimes we laugh at what drunken people are doing.  Is there a connection there?  I think so!

I am quite happy and content with life as it is.  If there's something in my life that I want to do but can't seem to muster up the courage or willpower, it's far more satisfying and encouraging to just press on and conquer it under my own strength.  Or if I truly can't do it on my own, I simply rely on God and trust him.  Unfortunately some people put alcohol in their lives as the answer to things.  It becomes a god to them.

And worst of all is the addictive nature of it.  If you let it, it will consume you.  You can become dependent on it for some darker purpose, for running away, for numbing your pain.  Stop!  Deal with the issue!  It's the only way to make it go away.  God forgives you.  Deal with that, and the rest just melts away. 

But you're missing the point!  I get that one a lot too.  And I fully admit it, I am.  Maybe someone can help me find the point one day but I haven't seen it yet. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Downtime in Creativity

Creative endeavors are hard.  They seem to go in a cycle of a heavy burst of productivity, and then lots of downtime where not much gets done.  It's hard to accept that downtime.

I always want to be productive somehow, working on something that is important to me.  For example, I'm working on creating a game.  I would love to work on my game more, but I just don't feel like it lately.  So then I feel guilty and beat myself up for not working on it.  I feel like I should be working on it when I have time to.  Sometimes all I need is to actually sit down and look at it for a bit.  Other times when I sit down to actually work on it, I get nothing.  No inspiration at all.  Sometimes I will sit and force myself to come up with something but then I usually have to redo it later because it's just not very good. 

So instead I have no choice but to get away from it for awhile.  Sometimes even months pass where I don't even look at it.  Downtime.  Focusing on other things.  Letting myself rest for awhile.  I'm still very passionate about completing it, but I just can't focus on it anymore at this moment.  It took me a long time to figure out that downtime is ok.  It's just part of how things work.  You have to let go a bit.

It's odd.  Sometimes forced downtime like that is what drives us out of our normal routine or comfort zone.  I would like to work on this, but I can't.  Now what do I do?  At times this new difficulty ends up helping us grow so that when we come back to our creative endeavor we are even better able to work with it.  It's neat how that works.