As is doubtless clear from this blog, for the last several years most of my time interacting with art has been spent with video games. And that’s been wonderful, no question. What is less clear from this blog, however, is the extent to which that wasn’t always the case: while I’ve played video games regularly since we got our first computer, I used to read a lot more than I do now, and music has been quite important in my life at times, especially during high school.
Music is forcing its way into my life again, and I’m very glad for that. But I keep on looking wistfully at my bookshelf, and asking myself why I’m not spending more time with them. For example, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jane Jacobs recently, and in particular it’s well past time for me to revisit Systems of Survival; or I’ve been talking with a friend of mine recently about Buddhism, thinking it’s time for me to revisit that. (I suspect I’m the only person in my circle of bloggers who studied Pali for a couple of years in college and who has 45 volumes of the Pali Canon sitting on his bookshelf; I’m particularly fond of the elephants on the spines of those books!) It’s not that I don’t read books at all, and in fact sometimes an author will still grab me and I’ll read several of her books in close sequence; but it’s far too common for me to go multiple weeks without finishing a book.
And that’s not good. So I have to make more time to read. Regularly carve out time in the weekends to read; but I should also carve out a weekday evening a week to read too, I think.
That, of course, means that something has to go, especially since I’m spending more time than I had been on music. So, the first step: re-examine my long-term ongoing projects. Do I want to continue studying Japanese, do I want to continue learning guitar? The answer to both of those is yes, so they’re staying.
Do I want to continue to read and write blogs? I certainly want to continue to write; in fact, I’m hoping that I’ll start blogging more about books! I don’t want to stop reading blogs, either, but that’s clearly an area where I can do more pruning, and constrain my blog reading more: I don’t want to have evenings where I start reading blogs, then do a bit of this and a bit of that, and end up feeling unhappy with myself. (I’m totally fine with spending evenings doing bits of this and that if I end up feeling happy with myself, though: sometimes I’m just feeling blah, and should recognize and embrace that.) That alone may actually be enough to help me carve out one evening a week.
Do I want to continue to play video games? That question gave me pause, but I think ultimately the answer there is a clear yes: Christopher Hyde I am not. But, as with reading blogs, I should be more aware of what I’m playing. It’s time to stop playing games just because I feel that I should, and instead to play games that I feel are calling to my soul in some way. So fewer sequels, more returning to old favorites (I just got a refurbished Dreamcast: here I come, Jet Grind Radio, Space Channel 5, Shenmue, and of course the PS3 Ico and Shadow of the Colossus remakes), and when considering new games, I’ll lean towards games that I hope will speak to something deeper within myself (Child of Eden, presumably preceded by Rez HD; Dragon Age 2). (Actually, if my brain is telling me to spend more time on music and on Buddhism, then Child of Eden is probably a rather good fit!) It’ll be a while before I start any games, though: I imagine I have at least another year of Rock Band 3 in front of me, Ni No Kuni DS will probably take me a couple more months, and one non-Rock Band game at a time is my limit.
And then there’s the possibility of new creative projects forcing themselves upon my brain. Fortunately, right now I’m at a bit of lull in terms of feeling that I need to program something at home (doubtless helped by the fact that programming at work is rather interesting); if that changes, though, I’ll embrace it and re-evaluate. Hmm, thinking about games, I wish I were spending more time playing board games, too; and I should be spending more time with non-family members outside of work. In college, I watched movies a fair amount; I miss that, but I’m comfortable enough having that stay by the wayside for the time being.
So: a balancing act. But it always is, and it always comes down to: what is my soul telling me to do? Right now, my soul is telling me to draw strength from friends, and that the friends I’ve been neglecting the most are books.
This post has not been revised since publication.