Level Up

I don’t write about it much (or ever really) but I enjoy the odd video game in my downtime. When I need to relax or spend time with my daughter, the controllers come out and we play. When I don’t have the mental energy for a book or for writing, I flip on the PlayStation. And I usually go in for either puzzle games or, when I’m feeling ambitious, role playing games.

The conceit of most role playing games is experience gathering.

The idea of “leveling up” comes from taking on the role of a character in a game who needs to practice skills or abilities over and over again as the story progresses to become better, stronger, faster, more agile, or smarter.

Real life doesn’t often work much like a video game at all, but I do tend think one trope from the realm of digital entertainment translates quite succinctly from the real world in a way that is useful. It probably goes without saying that practicing any skill can make one better, stronger, faster, more agile, or smarter.

What was your biggest
achievement of the last year?

I could make a list of all the interesting skills and abilities in which I’ve challenged myself to “level up” this past year, but one only needs to scroll through the archives of this blog to see the writings I’ve already left here about many of them.

Instead, I’d simply suggest that the very act of trying to become a better learner, the notion of taking on new things, digging into interesting problems, tackling the unknown, and diving into literature and documentation to figure out stuff I didn’t know before, that act itself was a grand achievement of a sort.

It is notably easier to sit on the couch and watch other people do interesting things on television.

Heck, I often click over to YouTube and watch some other outdoorsman or culinary amature share their video blog of adventure, exploration, and investigation. It really is mindless to watch someone else cook a great dish. It is absolutely simpler to let the video run as someone else pitches a tent in the wilderness and roughs it in the winter weather while they narrate their camping trip to the camera. That’s basic.

What is far more difficult is writing down that recipe and trying to prepare it yourself.

The real challenge lies in conquering one’s own wilderness, be that deep in the woods or a campfire out the backdoor.

So what is my best achievement of 2021? I don’t want to brag, but tackling some interesting challenges has definitely left me (at least a little bit) better, stronger, faster, more agile, and possibly even a little bit smarter.

Thirty one topics. Thirty one posts. Not exactly a list… but close. In December I like to look back on the year that was. My daily posts in December-ish are themed-ish and may contain spoilers set against the backdrop of some year-end-ish personal exposition.