This is a moment when I wish I could plug a usb into my brain as I sleep,
When words are clear and thoughts, well, they keep.
I believe that maintaining a balance of our physical and mental states is one of the great struggles of our time.
It is far too easy to fall into dangerous spirals of inactivity, distraction, and anxiety in this modern world. Pulls of stimulus in unlimited directions spun in ways that ignite our hindbrains, and, like a moth to flame...there goes another day down the Netflix hole.
Why are we talking about this on a gaming blog? Well, I find that our love of social gaming can stem from a need to actually escape this flood of stimulus. After binging shows and skipping breakfast, at the end of the day what we really crave...is others. Spending time with one another.
My family and I thrive on board games. We love to play with one another, win, lose, or draw. We love to experience new systems, new takes, expansions; we love to compete, cooperate, and invent. ...And we usually default to a game when we run out of things to say or if the subject at hand makes folks uncomfortable. It is used to break the silence and imbue new opportunities for discussion and conversation, with an activity to fall back on if we don't know what to say.
But you can game too much. The hole of creativity, no matter how awesome, can pull us away from what is important, and maintaining a personal balance of work, life, and play is key to a beautiful life. You should never work so much that you deny play, and never play so much that you deny work, and never, ever, work or play so much that you deny others (and responsibilities). These three "pillars" of life are not unlike the three pillars of adventuring: exploration, social interaction, and combat.
If life is a game and gaming is life (winky face), let's ride this metaphor for a minute.
Exploration = play, creating, imagination, relaxation
In the game, it establishes the world small and large, its structures, discoveries, and sick, sick loot. In life, Exploration dives a bit deeper. It represents the exploration of one's self through play, imagination, creation, and taking the time to work on you. As I sometimes have to tell myself, "let Adam be Adam." Don't stress about HOW to play, just play. Don't get hung up on what you're creating, just create. Exercise to improve oneself, not to compete with others. That exploration is paramount to a mind and body of quality.
Social Interaction = Social Interaction :), family, quality-time
THIS. In game terms, social interaction represents how your character interfaces with the world at small. Relationships. Which means for us in the real world, RELATIONSHIPS. Carving out valuable time to spend with family, friends, and even strangers helps build a balanced human by reinforcing good habits, civil interaction, hugs, and love. It reminds us of the reason we all exist...which is each other.
Combat = Work, business, earning
Inside the game systems of old and new, combat is often the main way that player characters progress through their levels (unless you adopt a different leveling system, that is). They gain experience through combat, and therefore earn toward leveling up. So we, as beautiful humans, must work in order to earn cash money to eat and live...and maybe, through investment, risk, and reward, level up! It represents the daily "battles" that we wage each day to build a better life for us and ours.
2017 was a year of these three pillars for me. Day by day, week to week, I was running the tightrope between these three points. I fell many times, spiraling around each pillar for what felt like weeks at a time, but came close to sacrificing my relationships or my own exploration for work, or my own work for exploration. Here at Questers' Way, we acknowledge that we are all human, and we are all on the quest to achieve our best self. My best self has been adjusted over time, but the vision has been very much the same, and my proximity to this self has never felt THIS close before. And, I've read and I think I understand now, the closer we become to knowing our path, the more difficult it is to move forward. So in the words of Morpheus, "There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path."
Here is my Path, my full reboot, attempted in the past with little consistency. The following schedule I will be following for 1 month, then I will reflect upon it, and add, subtract, or adjust where necessary. Notes are below on things I've learned during other attempts at this schedule and clarification of a few of its entries. Enjoy!
Note: "M" = Mental, "P" = Physical.
DAILY ROUTINE - SO on Night Schedule
Asleep By/Wake Up By = 11:00/7:00 (full 8 hours of rest) (M+P)
Meditate + Stretch (M+P) - 15 Minutes
Cardio or HIIT (P) - 20-30 Minutes
Weight Training (P) - 30 Minutes
BF or Intermittent Fast + Read (M+P)
Shower and Dress + Check Time (M)
 Goal 1 = Accomplish all of this BEFORE 9:00 AM.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays = Go to Work.
Tuesdays, Thursdays continue below before work (QW):
Practice Brass (M)
Web Development - QW
Marketing - QW
 Goal 2 = Accomplish before heading to QW.
Saturdays and Sundays continue below:
Blog - GM's Corner (M)
Edit and Post Videos**** (M, + huge dopamine spike)
Plan Campaigns for the week + make small adjustments during the week (M)
Knight Owls/One-Shot Prep (M)
Paint Miniatures - 45 minutes (M+P)
Prep Bands, Performances, and Extra Practice (Piano, Guitar, Violin, Melodica)
Archive Adventures for the Week (using audio archives).
Evenings = QT with SO (M), Bodyweight Circuit (P), Meditate before bed (M)
Sleep Schedule - I've actually been achieving 8+ hours lately, but getting to bed too late, so the timing obliterates my morning work.
** = get your chores done early, otherwise they may not happen!
Fitness is an absolute requirement in order for me to function (based on health and other factors), so get it done first to make sure it happens.
*** = One of my responsibilities for school and QW involves arranging music for a variety of instrumental ensembles, but also arranging music for my own cover band, and I need to carve out valuable time where I can focus on this in a more efficient way.
**** = as some of you are aware, I run a YouTube channel and Patreon account (The Dungeon Master's Den and The DM's Den), and, after an upload hiatus to allow some QT time and MOVING TO A NEW HOUSE, I will start uploading again later in late January. But in order to upload, I need to take a hard look at when and how to script and film and edit and upload consistently and efficiently without taking time away from my other responsibilities.
Here's to new beginnings and hitting that reset button on the proverbial NES!
See you at the table,
PS: I will be starting a mental health and physical health guide for gamers in a few weeks, dubbed the Buff DM Project. Stay tuned!
Professional Game Master musician, music teacher, game designer, and aspiring fiction author.