For the people in my age bracket, video games had become ubiquitous during our youth. Our older brothers and sisters may have been the ones who purchased the consoles and games, but we grew up sitting in front of a television, plastic controller in hand.
Though many of my peers have moved past that piece of adolescent behavior, and onto more important matters, such as jobs and social relationships, there are still a few of us who prefer the interaction of NPCs over our meatspace brethren.
It is not nearly as bad as it sounds, but it can truly be a problem when one of us is attempting to start a business, reconnect with our past friends, or even just function as a decent member of society.
“Go Outside and Play”
This was a common phrase around my house, one that I never liked hearing. My mom would push me to leave the house, go outside and interact with my friends and similar-aged neighbors. I did not have a problem with them as people, but I was drawn into the rich indoor life that I had created for myself.
I began at an early age on our old Macintosh Plus, and had never grown tired of spending endless hours in front of the eight inch black and white screen. I yearned to learn how to program, to create my own virtual worlds, but was unable to due to lack of software in our collection.
I spent an (in hindsight) unhealthy amount of time in front of that computer, one that would have probably been better spent outside soaking up the sun and getting some exercise.
Like any other kind of addiction, my addiction to technology grew without bound, and became a problem when it began to interfere with other aspects of my life. I was no longer willing to do homework that did not involve the computer. I spent time drawing with a mouse than I did with pencil and paper.
The fact that we owned a Sega Genesis did not help. Though my mother tried hard to get me to move past this strange obsession with gadgetry, I always found a way to get my fix. Instead of going outside to play, I would visit another child’s house, and we would then sit in front of their television and play video games.
The Information Age
Technology began to progress with leaps and bounds as I moved through middle and high school. As the Internet became more prolific, I spent a whole lot more time being a passive citizen of this world.
Fully embracing the role of slacker, I stopped doing my schoolwork altogether, relying on a small sliver of my attention to pass each class by doing well on exams.
I had stopped contributing to the world as a whole, but rather became a leach on society. I was not creating, writing, or even dreaming outside the confines of my reality. This is the one idea that pains me the most about the way I chose to play out my adolescence, and one that I am hoping to avoid in my children’s life.
Changing for the Better
Until the idea of being a father truly seeped into my psyche, I was plagued by this behavior that had easily become habit. Still to this day, I struggle with the constant barrage of information flying my way. There are always projects to work on, but never enough time, unless I learn to narrow my focus.
As my son is growing, and my second is soon to be born, I am learning how to be more efficient with my time, and attempting to be the person I really want to be. It may sound a bit New Age-y, but this is one of my newfound goals. Not only do I want to become the person I need to be, but also to become the father and provider that I would like my children to see me as.
This goal is not easily achieved, especially with my history of being easily distracted and derailed from my goals. Keeping promises is something that is new to me, and I have a long way to go before I can deliver on some of the promises that I have made to myself.
Focus, Focus, Focus!
There are so many things going on constantly around me, that I have a very hard time focusing on the task at hand. It has become difficult to avoid the near-Pavlovian response of checking my Android phone every time there is an SMS, reminder or email notification. With each new shiny device released, my attention gets fragmented even more than an NTFS drive.
I have yet to find a painless way to avoid these situations.
With all this shininess happening all over the web, who needs yet another in a long series of diversions?
The perfectly personalized productivity system would allow me the opportunity to focus on the task at hand in whatever way possible. Forcing me to avoid as many distractions as possible, and by properly prioritizing my tasks in a logical manner, I can get down to business without having to worry about whatever the new hotness is.