Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Life would be better if I were a video game character. There would be so much that I could do and lofty goals for me to reach. They always have to save the world. I only have to save myself. Sometimes I think saving the world would be easier. You know what your goals are. You have one huge evil threatening the delicate balance of existence and it is up to you to brave terrors untold and hardships outnumbered and fight your way to the goblin city. Life isn’t that simple.

Heroes don’t have to worry about paying their bills, getting up in the morning, or finding the perfect job. Who cares about paying bills if the world is going to end? If you keep that from happening no one will ever ask you to pay a bill again? Do heroes even sleep? It seems like they just keep going and going, driven by the import of the task at hand. They already have perfect jobs, and have no choice in the matter, they are of vital import and they are given the means to succeed, unless they are a SIM and that is not the kind of video game character I want to be.

I want to run up walls like the Prince of Persia. I want to roll the world into a big ball for the glory of our sky a la Katamari. I want to overthrow an evil genie like Toan and travel back and forth in time like Max and Monica in the Dark Cloud series. I want to paint through life and slay demons like in Okami, I want to become a godless killing machine hell-bent on revenge to squash my inner demons like Cretos in God of War (well maybe not. He was a bad bad man in a good good game). I want to save the world from turning into robots with my little robot friend like Ratchet. I just want to do something special and I don’t want to think about it.

I think the hardest thing about life is figuring out what you want to do with yours. My only regret in not going to Medical School is that it would have been the easiest and most practical thing to do. It took me a long time to admit that. I have always said that I have no regrets about not going. I had to be honest with myself. I don’t regret the things I didn’t learn. I don’t regret not being a Dr. because I don’t think it is really what I am supposed to do with myself. I only regret the planned life that I would have led. Granted, I wouldn’t have the same friends I have now. I wouldn’t live in the same city I live in now. I would be a completely different person. I don’t want that. I just want someone to give me a plan.

I have always resisted setting goals for myself. Since grade school when I was first confronted with the idea of a goal I resisted with everything I had. I never saw the point. I always thought they left too much room for disappointment. Time tables are also like kryptonite to me. Anyone who knows me knows how often I have said “I don’t operate under the constraints of time,” and I have always meant it. I am more comfortable with the notion that things will just happen and come along. I agree with that mentality still, but I know that I need to provide some kind of catalyst for a major change. No evil lord is going to show up and force me to take action or the world as I know it will perish (and the current administration doesn’t count). It’s just not going to happen. I have to do this myself.

The fact that making decisions is the absolute hardest thing for me to do in the whole world doesn’t help. That is another reason I would prefer to be in a video game. You have seriously limited options in those worlds. You can run, jump, kick, punch, use weapons, and do various combo moves. That tends to be about it. The puzzles you go through are all relatively common sense, although you may have to find a hidden switch or two. If you get really stuck you can always look on the internet. That doesn’t work for real life.

I have to talk to people. I have to evaluate myself. I have to grow a freaking backbone. While I am fairly good at planning finances and small events, I suck at planning my life. I suck at making any choices that aren’t obvious. I suck at making myself the happiest person that I can be. I don’t suck at keeping myself comfortable. I’m really good at that. The thing about comfortable is that it is never more and never less. I want something bigger, something epic, and something memorable. Maybe I need to set some goals and make a timeline. That will never get done. It sounds horrible. Those asshole types say things like you never reach your goals if you don’t set them. They are right but they sound like assholes.

Fuck it. I’m programming myself into some fantastic caper and you can all take a turn at the sticks. It will be called Natalie vs. the Mad Muppeteer and I’ll have to stop some poser Jim Henson from creating horrid want to be new Muppet Movies. I’m not talking about Brian though, Muppets in Space was ok.

Icicle, Tori Amos- A song all about introspection and not quite fitting in. That works for today. It would make very bad video game music though. Well, the first part may be a great dream sequence where the mind was being taken over my some evil Muppet.

Funky Child, James Brown- This is a much better song for a video game. IT would be Muppets doing capoiera in a choreographed pattern that kicked my ass until I imported Eddie from the world of Tekken and kicked their asses on a whole different level.

Open Your Heart To Me, Madonna- This automatically reminds me of the Courtney Gears fight in Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal. She was a pretty badass evil lady.


Danielle said...

From the depths, that was. I know what your talking about goals and the magical life plan knocking on your door. For me I need a drill Sargent to whip me into shape, but I just have to settle with my internal Bull Shit monitor but she's no good for plans. I literally sailed through two courses designed to make me a better planner, goal setter, awesomely professional and nothing stuck. It all seemed so hokey to me.
What I do know is that there is a mental mind map of sorts leading us to the destination we are meant to reach. You know the "everything happens for a reason" deal. 'Tis true I say. James Brown for a video game soundtrack, sounds good to me, Madonna Hmmmmm

Eve said...


I tend to be the same: have a hard time identifying, then following through with completing, goals. Indecisive. Hate getting up in the morning. I too would like to do something special without thinking about it.

Johnny Yen said...

As much as people plan their lives, random happenings, meetings, connections alway play a much bigger part than we care to admit. All my closest relationships had a random aspect in it, and even what I studied in college, Political Science, came about because I had to take a social science course (I was a Biology major originally).

I'm about to make a career change-- or at least hope to. I'm scared to death, but I'm ready.

BTW, Spiderman and Iron Man, were my favorite superheores because though they were heroes, they were always in trouble, and still had to worry, in Spidey's case, about bills, job, girl troubles, and in Iron Man's case, relationship troubles, alchoholism, moral dilemmas set up by being idealistic, yet the head of a major multinational corporation. They showed life in all its ambiguity and uncertainty.

Travis said...

Wow - a bared soul. I think the hardest thing for anyone to do in life is to decide what they want. Once you know that, I think the rest of it is cake.

So if your life is a video game, you'll never conquer the big bad evil if you don't know that you want to do that first!!!

That's the asshole in me, echoing the old phrase - you'll never reach your goals if you don't set them first. Sorry, but such is life!


thethinker said...

I don't think anybody will ever be really good at planning life. It seems like when you finally feel like everything is figured out, plans change and you have to start from scratch. Though, I really do like your idea of living life as a character from a video game. Personally, I'd be Luigi. Since Mario gets all of the attention, I'd make him do all of the hard work, beating up the bad guys and such.

Janna said...

I like the part about how timetables are like kryptonite. That's kinda how I am too.

And hey, I tagged you with a meme.
Here it is.

Kiyotoe said...

wow, was that a rant?

But i feel your pain. I'm one of those assholes that says "you'll never reach your goals if you don't set them"...

not that i set many, but hey, my hypocrisy knows no bounds. ;)

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I'm with ya on that, Natalie. Video game characters lead simple lives with very clear lines of black and white, right and wrong, drawn for them. It's not so simple in the hazy shades of gray in which our real lives reside.

I think that contemplating the "what ifs" in life can drive a sane person crazy. I tend to live with the philosophy of "no regrets." That is one of the standards to which my choices are held, and it works well for me.

I'm sure I could have made a great doctor, but the world needs this superhero chick as a teacher so that's what I have to do. Like all reluctant superheroes, my path is directed for me in many respects, and to fight it is just to bring me on a convoluted journey that leads back to ultimately the same place, anyway.

terry said...

you're singing my tune, natalie. i'm very much the same way. and i struggle with the battle between comfort and the need to change.

change can be scary and difficult. and i'm always afraid of making the wrong choices.

excellent post.

Michael C said...

I've recently come to terms with how much I hate my job. As I reflected on leaving my first post-college job 10 years ago, I learned what the two people I used to work for are now doing. It makes me think I should have stayed.

It's tough going to work each day solely to pay bills and dreading every minute of it. But hey, I guess that just means I've gotten to grow up and be like 75% of the workforce that came before me.

I would gladly become a sit-com character. I'm not very good a t video games ;-)

CSL said...

I changed my major about every quarter for the first two or so years of college and then went to grad school because I couldn't think of anything else to do. And then quit after two years of grad school, took a couple of years to work, and went back to grad school in a new area. Planned? Not hardly. Happy with what I fell into, though. Good luck.

CSG said...

Our generation was born in a wealthy era, which means we've had so many things to chose from. Even as children (cereals, cookies, toys...). I think that having so many options has made us doubt so much about our decisions because we will always think there could be a better option. A bigger one, a different one, and so it's difficult to stick to only one.

deadspot said...

Naaaaaa nana na nananana na Katamari Damacy...

Thanks, Natalie. Now I'm going to have that stuck in my head all day.

(Hey... How come my comment is so much shallower than everybody else's?)

Natalie said...

Danielle- A drill sergeant sounds awful. I like to think everything happens for a reason but I also think it's a bit of an excuse just to wait and see and not take charge.

Eve- Wouldn't it be nice. I really could have slept in today.

Johnny- I'm so proud of your whole career change. It always impresses me when people really go for something new. Spidey and Iron Man are good heroes. I think the comic book world has a lot more accountability than the video game world.

Travis- That's the thing with video games, these "big bads" are just forced onto the heroes. The heroes could say no but that would suck. They have to take charge. If someone told me do this or the world will perish I would have no choice.

Mrs. L- I too try to have no regrets and I luckily don't have too many. I too want to be a superhero teacher but am now doubting if it is really the right choice. Oh bugger.

Terry- Being scared of wrong choices is so silly. You can always just do something different. Then again, I am the exact same way.

Michael C- Sitcom life sounds good. all those crazy scenarios are so funny. Unfortunately I wouldn't have any powers.

CSL- I can easily see myself going that route. It's good you are happy with what you fell into. I can' only hope for the same.

CSG- Yeah a simpler time may have really dictated your life for you. Maybe we need to strip people of choices.

Deadspot- It's a good song. I don't think it's shallow at all. That game is way important.

Phil said...

One of the best days of my life was realizing, what I am is what I want, and what I want I have.

You are your own judge of your successes and your failures.

Good luck.

The Blogging Alchemist said...

I've never really considered myself indecisive. However, my decisions always seem to lean away from everything that I was taught was the "right" decision. I'm using the term "right" to mean "successful". It seems whenever a decision is placed before me, I inevitably choose the one that is considered more irresponsible. I'm not sure whether that's good or bad. Taken into account that I'm pretty happy with the direction my life has taken, I'm going with good, regardless of anyone else's judgment.

By the way, as an avid gamer and anime watcher, being an anime character beats video game life any day.

My compliments on your post.