The past few weeks - well, actually the past month - I’ve really been thinking about where my life is and where I want it to be. Being close to the 35 years old and thus only a few years short of 40, its kind of harsh when you look at the list of your accomplishments and see moderate success but nothing substantial.
To be honest, I think that’s because I’ve always set super-high goals that should have been long-term, and failed to reach the short-term goals that were on that path.
A year ago, a very close friend passed, and it caught all of us off-guard. For me, losing someone that inspirational and yet so young, and losing her so suddenly, really hit my drive to do more, as it was a stark reminder that tomorrow isn’t promised for me, nor anyone else. I still wish she were here to see everything that’s happened this year, and miss being able to talk with her about everything, and having that encouraging voice. But knowing that she would be utterly disappointed if I didn’t do anything worthwhile to better myself after her passing, I made a few decisions about things I’d said I always wanted to do, but was afraid to do because I’m me and I live in fear, a LOT of fear.
Last year, I made it a primary goal to travel to EVO, no matter what. And even with everything that happened prior to make that trip more and more impossible (car problems even before EVO, student loans hit the “pay or die” status, family member health issues), I still drove out there… and then wasn’t able to participate like I planned in what was probably SFxT’s last official tourney at EVO due to life happening even when I got there.
What it did do though, is show me that even when things go their worse, something positive can come from it. I tried, I made it, I met a lot of great people and that trip was a fantastic growing point for me, someone who rarely ever likes to step outside of his comfy shell.
Make no mistake, I kinda’ still don’t. That shell is hie and warm and familiar. But I’ve gotten better about it.
So with that having been done, and the next tournament “season” coming, I decided after the holidays that in 2014, no matter what, I’d travel for every Street Fighter x Tekken event I could, and help push the community as much as I could, when and where I could. It’s not exactly something you sit down and plan to make a living off of, and in my case, as an average (or honestly below average) player, the goal for me was to simply do something I hadn’t done often: travel to other places beyond where I normally am. Once I went to UFGT, I really felt that I’d done that. Going to three majors in the span of 6 months, even if I was a non-factor in them, was a big change for me, who was used to only going to local stuff (man do I ever miss the ranbats!) when pushed to do so. Now I was the one trying to push others to travel with me or make events.
For those that have known me since forever ago and know how hard it was to get me out of the house to even see a movie like 4-5 years ago, that’s a huge change.
I knew though, that once EVO was done this year - and man was it a great trip - my traveling would have to stop and I’d need to cut back on fighting games again, though not nearly as severe a drop as I did in 2008 (in 08 I pretty much stopped going to anything at all and didn’t even play Tekken much. I stayed “quiet” until like, 2012). I’d set a small (but still lofty) goal: travel to at least two majors in 2014. I went to three.
Financial burden aside, I am very, very happy I did that.
So now, I’m setting a few small goals, rather than super-ridiculous-obscene goals, and seeing those through. Three goals for 2014 through the first half of 2015:
1) Finish “The Exprimental Bug” novel and publish it.
2) Get the first ten pages of the Molly Saber (name STILL tentative!) comic going.
3) Make a plan to be more financially stable and fully support myself.
These are three very accomplishable goals that I plan to execute without driving myself insane. Everything else that I do will have to be in my hobby/free time.
The third one will be the tough one. Right now, I’m preparing for a transition from having a roommate, to renting solo again for the first time since 2008, when I was first hit with layoffs at my old job and started living with roommates to balance things out. Almost six years later, I’m at a stable place of employment I’ve been at (and love, this is important) for three years, and with proper budgeting there’s no reason I can’t balance my bills out properly (I’ve even got a little excel doc I’ve made to help me manage this and see where things are at). This year, due to all the traveling and some health issues early on, my funds weren’t exactly healthy. After this move in August, I plan to rectify that and aim to do what I can not only at work, but in my own time to get things on track.
This is where commissions come in too. Its something I know I can do, but always fail to really follow-through on. I’ll be approaching it whole-heartedly after the move though(so, starting in September). Illustration is also a talent I need to continue to foster, and I want to take this year coming up to really work on getting my writing and illustration skills to a more professional level.
I still need to balance that out though, and that’s what the gaming channel is for. Doing Let’s Plays was also something I always wanted to do, ever since first seeing (warning, incoming random shoutouts to people who probably don’t know I’m shouting them out) Brisulph, Roundthewheel, CaptainSparklez and a few others. Truthfully it was always something I enjoyed in the past, pre-Youtube to a degree. I’d have friends come over, and they’d be ready to do some multiplayer but I’d be too busy trying to show them all this cool stuff in this game I just completed, over-explaining things because to me, it was fun.
For them it was probably a form of slow torture. Can’t win ‘em all!
Prior to last September, there was always a fear of “man I’ll suck” or “I’ll sound like so-and-so” or whatever. Then I finally did it, and despite some of the frustrations of renders exploding or sound not recording or me deleting stuff before I upload it (RIP Final Fantasy Tactics Advance original episodes 7-9) or getting 5 views for an entire month on a video, I love doing it, I love reading comments and replying to them, love all the advice I’m getting on The Wonderful 101… so its something that while I will have to do it in extreme moderation, I will still do. And if things work out, the final thing on my channel I want to do - doing playthroughs of old Atari 520ST/Amiga games! - will absolutely happen soon.
So, that’s where I’m at. The main focuses for me this year are my writing and my illustration, commissions will be a thing, and the comic will be done. Scaling back on the gaming but will keep the channel going strong and always support my little corner of the FGC (SFxT), the local community, and hell I plan to play a ton of different FGs. Just not as “focused” on fighting games as I was the past year.
I’ve been living like I just graduated since I… well, graduated. Its time I turned that into something, and stopped being so shy about putting my work - and myself - out there. I don’t want to be that “if I only I did” person the rest of my life.