Have you ever had one of those moments when you look around and wish you could selectively re-roll parts of your life? Swap out your class and do something different? Choose a new background to reset your thinking? Move a few points around with skills to pick up something you always wanted to do but never had the time to learn?
Or do you make the character jump into the metaphysical bottomless pit, crumple up the sheet, and start from scratch? I think this is the essence of the gamer's midlife crisis. Gamers are used to playing wildly different characters in a variety of settings, so totally reinventing a life seems much less daunting than it would to a non-gamer.
The challenge comes in keeping the life essentially intact while reinventing only pieces of it to improve the character.
"But Wombat, Why Are You Thinking These Things Now?"
Last Friday I celebrated my 43rd birthday. As of last week I'm no longer the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. I haven't been able to be trusted for the past 7 years. I'm sailing through the amorphous no-man's-land in the middle of my demographic age bracket. I don't know why this birthday hit me harder than my 40th did, but I'm having thoughts of changing parts of my life more often lately.
I've made some positive changes this past year. I'm coming to grips with my job and its commute and not treating it as a temporary inconvenience. I'm earning a decent secondary income editing RPGs, something enjoyable which challenges me as I learn new methods and ideas while still sticking to a deadline. I'm reconnecting with my family. I'm discovering the sources of my frustrations and learning to control when and how they come out. I'm starting to plan again after convincing myself there's no point in even trying to fight the Cancellation Monster and his Bag of Endless Monkey Wrenches.
"Cool. What's Next?"
I have general things I want to improve. I need to start a routine to get in better shape than I am now. I could stand to lose about 20 pounds and add some muscle mass to stop the annoying creaks and pains. I have no stamina, and I blame sitting at a desk in front of a laptop for two different jobs for that. I need to carve more time out of each day to meditate. I feel guilty when I take time for myself, like I should be doing something productive instead of staring off into space or stealing a few minutes to write up a blog post like this. I know it's time spent sharpening my axe, but I still feel those pangs of should-ness. I've read a total of three pages from a book in the past few weeks. I read to feed my head, and this perceived lack of time to spend on reading makes me crazy.
These are all side projects that will make a better me. But the big question remains: Do I want to continue in my current vocation at my current workplace or should I figure out how to jump tracks before it's too late to change? Do I stick it out for a few more years in hopes of earning a feat and a few more skill points that I can put into something else?
We each get roughly 11 lifetimes. I like this idea. I hope this year will be a year of little deaths and great rebirths for me. Options spread out in front of me as far as the eye can see in Life's Intentional Buffet.
I think I may have advanced as far as I care to in my Programmer life. The question is, what do I focus on next? And how do I make ends meet during and after the transition?