If you follow this site, you may have noticed that nothing has really been posted in the past couple of weeks, including podcasts. For that, I apologize. However, as I write this, I am drilling through a box of Kleenex waiting for the medicine to kick in. The weather here in Arizona dropped from highs of low 90s and lows of 60s to highs of 60s and lows of 30s within a week and a half. Couple that with kids that go to school, and you’re bound for sick town. Although the kids have bounced back, I have not.
Why do I go on about this? Hear me out, I have a train of thought, and it’s chugging away. The past couple of weeks I’ve felt like complete crap, but I’ve also gotten to have some pretty good times with the kiddos. When they’ve been in school, I’ve been rolling through the internet and reached the end a few times. There are A LOT of things going on politically, socially, literally, and metaphorically. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on where I stand on several different topics, and I’ve learned that life looks different as you get older. So, without any further ado, are 30 things I’ve thought about over the past couple of weeks about being a geek over 30 years old.
30. Being sick doesn’t automatically mean extra game time.
When I was a kid, the only awesome part of being sick was that I got to stay home and play video games or read some books from the couch or my bed while my awesome mom brought me apples and cool wash cloths. (Thanks, mom.) As an adult, this is not the case. The kids don’t really care that I’m sick. They still want breakfast, they still have to go to school and get picked up, they still need help getting things done. So, I embrace the suck, swallow some cold meds, and get to work. While they’re in school or after they go to bed, I’m too tired to play games. I just want to sleep. Speaking of which…
29. Sleep isn’t for the weak, nor is it overrated.
There was a time where I’d have full blown geek out sessions, either playing games, watching movies, or even reading books. This could lead into the wee hours of the morning, or even completely overnight. I’d get maybe an hour or two of sleep, and go on with my day. Other times, I’d make it to midnight showings or releases. This is no longer possible. I’m lucky if I make it past 11pm. And, if I DO end up geeking out later than that, I’m paying dearly for it the next day. Coffee really is the nectar of the gods.
28. Energy drinks don’t work as well anymore.
Unless you just want to be jittery or run to the bathroom a million times. Then they work fine. I haven’t even touched one in a couple of years, just because I couldn’t stand how they made me feel anymore. Bawls, I miss you.
27. Internet forums are irritating.
I used to enjoy getting on forums and chatting with random people around the globe. Although for the most part I still enjoy it, it quickly becomes dull and irritating when a bunch of trolls enter the fray. Flame wars erupt everywhere from social media, to Youtube comments, to Yahoo! Answers. If you know anything about the internet, you usually tend to stay away, but every so often it’s worth a look-see for the sheer entertainment. But then you have THAT guy. The one who’s taking the trolls too seriously and starts talking about how offensive everything is. Then there’s the other guy who brings in religion and politics. And then suddenly everyone has a PhD in debate, psychology, English, and a dozen other topics.
26. If I actually had money, I’d probably go broke.
I wish, so much, that I could just go on ThinkGeek or several other sites and buy everything they offered. Thank goodness for Free-to-Play games, or else I wouldn’t really play much of anything. Now that I actually have ACTUAL bills to pay, and not just gas in my car or a phone bill like when I was a teen, I realize how expensive games, books, movies, figures, clothes, and all other cool things actually are.
25. Coming to the realization that I will never be Wonder Woman.
Or Rogue, or Samus, or a dozen other kick-ass people. Y’know, because they don’t actually exist. I used to fantasize about getting mutant powers, or hitting a certain age and realizing that I was destined to be a hero because of the magic that has awakened in me. I watched Alex Mack and Sabrina and Sailor Moon, hoping that maybe, JUST MAYBE, there was a shred of truth and that could actually happen. Instead, it takes hard work and dedication to make your dreams come true, and even then, sometimes they’re just dreams. Reality sucks, sometimes, but it doesn’t take away from having fun playing superheroes or pirates or magical world.
24. Life isn’t fair, and that’s ok.
Wouldn’t it be great if you won every game you ever played? What if every book you picked up was great? Every TV show that you got into stayed on the air as long as you watched it? But, then, wouldn’t life be boring? You’ll never improve if you always win, because you’ll never have a reason to get better. If every book was awesome, there’d be nothing to compare it to, and reading would get pretty dull. No TV shows would try to outdo another if they all stayed on the air. It’s the same with everything else in life, too. Sometimes, life just isn’t fair. Not everything was created equal. We can do our best to even the playing field, sometimes, but other times it really does take unfavorable events to provide motivation to improve and grow.
23. Being yourself is more important than being trendy.
Geek is in right now, no doubt about that. But, just like other fashion and social trends, it will fade again. If you got into geekdom because it was trendy, then that’s ok. If you move out of geekdom when it’s yesterday’s news, then that’s ok, too. But, if you’re just following trends, you will never really discover who you are and what you’re into. I fought being a gamer geek for a long time. Once I embraced it, I was much happier. If you really love being a geek, stick with it. If you prefer being a prep, goth, jock, or a long list of other stereotypical cultures, then go with it. Do what you enjoy, not what’s “in” at the moment. More importantly, respect others for who they are.
22. Everyone is different, and also the same.
I’m not the only gamer girl out there. I’m also not the only mom, artist, writer, veteran, or person in my thirties. It is the culmination of my experiences and my tastes that make me who I am. There are some stereotypes that ring true, as they are stereotypes for a reason. Others miss the mark for me personally, but are generally true for others. I’m not a special snowflake like I was taught as an idealistic child, but I’m strangely ok with that.
21. Elders and kids always think they know better.
I’m at a strange age where I know enough to realize I hardly know anything. People older than I am always tell me how to do things better, or how things were easier/harder in the past, while younger people think I’m not “hip” enough to understand their lingo and tech-savviness. I know there wasn’t technology back in the day, because a lot of it made their debuts in my lifetime. I know what #YOLO means, even though I don’t use it because I think it’s redundant and dumb. I also know that it’s not worth arguing over, so I just let it go. Speaking of…
20. Picking and choosing your battles carefully is important.
People have differing opinions on lots of things. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong and you’re right, or that they’re implying the opposite, it just means that it’s different. For instance, I think it’s a waste of time and energy to get angry over red cups versus those with snowflakes, but if it’s really something that you’re passionate about, by all means, rant about it. Just don’t expect people to listen on more important matters because you burnt them out on trivial things.
19. Voting is really, REALLY important.
As an American, one of my rights is the ability to vote. While politics isn’t really in my wheelhouse for debating, I do have stances on several different issues that I just choose not to go into. That being said, I take voting very seriously. My views have shifted over the years as I’ve experienced life more, and have delved into different topics and attained greater understanding of them, but I make sure I actually do something about it with voting. This is topical since we’re starting to really get into nominations for President, but I’m also talking about LOCAL politics. Sure, voting for who’s going to lead our country next is important, but what about your mayor? Local laws? County bonds? Things that will affect you directly are just as important, if not arguably MORE important, than national elections. There are groups out there that you can join as well to help inform you on legislation that you may want to be involved in (for instance, the Video Game Voters Network).
18. Nothing says, “I love you” more than spending time with someone.
Sure, you love your phone, laptop, and TV. But are you married to them? Did you give birth to them? Are they of your flesh and blood? Remind yourself once in awhile that your family does not include your electronics. I know it can be tough to do with how plugged in we are as a society, but it really does pay to unplug and get back to human interaction. Twitter will be there when you get back, I promise.
17. Anything I say online becomes a digital tattoo.
Despite my best efforts to only put things on the internet I wouldn’t be embarrassed for my parents or my boss to see, I’m sure at some point I have said or posted something … undesirable. Unfortunately, the internet has a better memory than anyone I know, and Google is really good at getting search results. So far I haven’t found anything on myself, but I know some of my friends have things they’d rather stay buried. Just remember that the internet is a public forum, and things aren’t easily deleted sometimes.
16. People lie.
For various reasons, or sometimes for no reason, people just lie. They want to be seen by others as better than they think they are, or they want to mess with people’s heads, or they want a reaction of some sort. People lie, information gets misconstrued, pictures get photoshopped, and things get out of hand. You can either dwell on that, or learn from it. Don’t just give out your information because someone asked. Don’t donate to a cause you think might be legit because your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister donated and says it’s for cancer. Don’t throw your money into a project that’s just an “idea” and hasn’t shown any physical proof of coming into being after it’s funded. Use common sense.
15. It’s hard to stay positive in a negative world.
There have been so many issues in the news the past few weeks that it’s hard to wrap my head around. Just a few minutes of reading headlines and I feel like the world is about to implode. So, I step outside. I look up and all around. I try to remember that we are just small creatures in a giant universe, and that our time here on Earth is precious. One of my favorite sayings is, “If you can change things, why worry? And if you can’t change things, why worry?” which, if you really think about it, is one of the truest things that has ever been said. If everyone would just slow their roll a bit, and stop stressing out over the tiniest of things, the world would be an easier place to live in.
14. Really compelling content is not made for kids.
It’s hard being a geek parent sometimes (or, really, just a parent) because there’s so much out there that I want to share with my kids that I just can’t, yet. Just today I shared (I think for the second or third time, maybe) the Shia Labeouf Live video posted below. It’s hilarious for so many reasons, but there’s no way I could share that with my kids.
So many of the best gaming titles, books, movies, and videos are for mature audiences only. They deal with complex social, political, and emotional issues, which is exactly why they’re not meant for kids. Kids just don’t have the mental fortitude to handle things like that, yet, let alone any violence or suggestive themes that might be included. And still, I’m asked by my son’s classmates if I’ve played ‘Five Nights at Freddies’ or ‘Payday 2’. I mean, this isn’t new. I remember in Kindergarten feeling bummed because a couple of my friends were allowed to watch ‘The Simpsons’ and I wasn’t. There are always parents that either don’t care or feel that their kid can handle it. Personally, if I’m not ready to have a conversation about the content with them, they’re not ready. They can keep their ‘TMNT’ and ‘Frozen’ a little while longer.
13. Time goes way too fast.
Is it seriously almost Thanksgiving again? Like, really? I feel like I just got my Christmas tree back into its box and shoved it into the closet, and now I’m supposed to pull it back out again and do it all over? … Good, God, I’m 31. When did I turn 30? WTH HAPPENED TO MY 20S?! I still feel closer to 21 than I do 31. Didn’t I just buy my kids new clothes? None of them fit! They’re all too small! What are you now, like, a size 4? What?! SIZE 8?! Oh, my. God….
12. I’m either getting older and out of touch or music and games have gone downhill.
I can still play ‘Super Mario’ for a couple of hours without getting bored with it, even though it’s a simple game with minimal controls. I’m done with ‘Warframe’ after about twenty minutes without anyone logging on, even though it’s beautiful and customizable. ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ was like the theme song of my youth, and I still get nostalgic listening to it today, (even though I know it’s a ripoff of the Rolling Stone’s ‘The Last Time’). Even knowing that music wasn’t totally original or completely deep when I was younger, I totally don’t get the appeal of ‘Dark Horse’. I still play newer games and listen to top 40 songs, but they just don’t give me the same euphoric happiness that some of the older stuff does. Older games lacked graphics, but had some awesome content. Newer games have great graphics, but most lack replayability or invigorating storylines. Older music lacks some of the polish that newer music has, but some of the newer music is just… well… watch the video and you’ll get it. (Some strong language.)
11. “Growing Up” means something different than I thought it did.
One of my friends posted something that struck a chord with me. She said, “Today I am thankful for grown ups. It’s not an age but willingness to be responsible. Some folks never reach it.” I love it. In some ways, I feel older than some of my peers, and in others I feel younger. Sometimes I listen to them talk about buying new makeup or cars or going out to the bar and getting wasted but they don’t have money for their rent, and I don’t understand how they live like that. Other times I look at the walls in my house displaying video game posters, signed headshots from voice-over actors, figurines and stuffed sci-fi characters, and I dread asking my friends over who have houses that look like actual adult houses rather than partial college dorms. But, just because you like to have fun and show off what you’re into doesn’t necessarily mean that you haven’t grown up in all the ways that count.
10. The couple that games together stays together.
That’s what my husband and I have said to each other several times over the course of our relationship. Really, though, the couple that does ANYTHING together stays together. I married my best friend, and though we’ve had ups and downs like any normal couple, I couldn’t be happier. I think it’s important that you find someone who shares your opinions and passions. Someone who will be there for you even if they get mad at you. Because when you’re older and you don’t look like you did when you were 20, it’s everything that makes you who you are and who they are that counts in the long run.
9. Kids change everything.
This is kind of a no-brainer, but when I say everything, I mean everything you haven’t even thought about. Need to run to the corner store but your significant other is out and the kiddo is sleeping? Have fun waking them up to run and grab a soda. ‘Fallout 4’ just came out? Sweet, guess I’ll get to play it sometime between the hours of 8pm and 11pm. Okay, for one, we don’t use watercolor paints on the amiibos, and for two, how did you even reach these? New episode of ‘Supernatural’? I’ll DVR it since the kids won’t be in bed yet, and I’ll have to stay off of the net in case of spoilers. Sure, I can listen to ‘Let it Go’ for the millionth time. So you’re actually into playing the recorder now, I see…
8. Kids change everything.
That’s not a typo. Yes, I wrote the same header for 9 and 8. There’s a reason for that. Some of the above listings seem pretty dour, I realize that. The hope is in our kids. We have the ability to mold them into beings of significance, teach them how to work hard and make a difference, how to realize their potential. In the meantime, we get to relive some of our own childhoods. Playing with kids rekindles our imaginations. Seriously, some of the things my kids come up with blow my mind. My son pretends he has a multidimensional teleporter so that he can have adventures on different planets and biomes. His words, not mine. He’s 6. And my 5 year old? I swear this girl is the Bug Whisperer. She catches bugs and names them things like, “Rick” before I make her let them go back to nature, after which she’ll follow them in the yard with her magnifying glass until I make her come in the house. Having kids means you get the chance to dream things outside of reality again.
7. Technology is amazing.
Every week I put together the show notes for the Computer Guru Radio Show, and every week I find some awesome new tech that’s emerging, whether we get to talk about it on the show or not. We are growing leaps and bounds technologically. Prosthetic limbs that can feel, self-driving cars, the hyperloop, 3D printed food. I know at some point I’ll get lost with everything that’s coming out, but so far I’m just amazed.
6. Education is a must.
Student loans have overtaken auto-loans and mortgages as the number one debt in this country. And yet, you have to have an education for a good job. There are hundreds of different angles to take regarding our education system here in America, but we all agree that people should be educated in the field they want to get into. The problem is, not every degree is going to get you a decent paying job. Moreover, kids are relatively unprepared for college. Education is more than just what you learn in school, it’s also what you learn about living life as a decent human being, and both of those areas seem to be lacking recently.
5. When everyone has a voice, no one does.
Don’t take the heading the wrong way. I’m totally for free speech, I just think that the ability to voice your opinion quickly to the masses has somewhat nullified the importance of the messages. It’s not fair to say one thing when it offends another, and yet you take away the right to their opinion when you take away the offensive speech. One person out of a hundred may be offended by something, but we have to be politically correct to be fair. It’s a Catch 22, really. But social media has not helped this in the least. It’s hard to make a point in 140 characters or less, and it’s hard to tell the real stories from the fake when everything uses clickbait. Legit news outlets look like tabloids, and Joe Schmoe sounds like a philosopher. We are slowly but surely making sure that nobody gets a say in anything.
4. Social media is the best and the worst.
Man, when I made my first MySpace page I made sure it looked top-notch. I coded it to look sparkly and colorful, I put all my best pictures up, and I made a playlist of my favorite songs so everyone could hear what I was into. I linked it to my LiveJournal just in case I forgot to update one or the other. Then, everyone migrated to Facebook, so I set up shop there. I also made a Twitter account so I could see what was happening around the world. Oh, and then Google+ got into it, and it seemed good, except for the fact that everyone was still hung up on Facebook. Better make a LinkedIn profile for professional use. The list goes on and on, people. I have pages I don’t even remember anymore. The only ones I’ve really stuck with are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook because I have actual friends and family on there that I want to keep in contact with, and Twitter so that I can follow all the news feeds I like to read up on. But as mentioned above in number 27, there tends to be drama when a bunch of people with differing opinions get to state how they feel to the world. My feeds are less news and more social justice nowadays.
3. The world is very small.
When the internet started gaining traction, it closed a gap on distance. I have friends all over the world whom I’ve never even met. Some I’ve never even actually spoken to, only written to. The world seems a lot smaller than it did when I was younger. Heck, back when 9/11 happened, it seemed unreal to me. I had no ties to NYC or the Pentagon. I’d never been on that side of the country. I didn’t even really know what the Twin Towers were. Now I can talk to people in Germany like they’re standing right next to me.
2. When life closes a door…
There have been many times I’ve felt hopeless, mostly when I was younger. I couldn’t really think that many years beyond my age, and when bad things happened it felt like it would last forever. 2-4 years seemed like an eternity, let alone 10-20. What I’ve learned over the years is that things seem to happen for a reason. There are so many good things in my life that sprung out of bad. So, no matter what, just keep looking forward to tomorrow, because there WILL be a tomorrow, whether you see it on the calendar or not.
1. …Open a window.
The only one who will make things happen for you is you. Hopefully you have friends and family to support you, but ultimately who you become is up to you and how much you’re willing to put into yourself. Nothing is just handed to you, and everything comes with a price. So make sure it’s a price you’re willing to pay. If you have motivation to be something, then do it. Don’t wait for the approval of others. Sure, your mom may want you to be a lawyer, but she’s not you. Your dad may want you to take over the family business, but you’re not him. YOU are the one that has to live with yourself your entire life, so if writing novels or being a digital artist is what you want to do with your life, do everything you can to achieve it. Never give up on yourself, even if you feel like you have failed. Keep going, because you can. Keep working, because you have to. Keep striving, because you want it that badly.
“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”
― Thomas A. Edison