Strange Days

The date on the last honest-to-goodness CPB post I wrote (but never posted) was March 10, 2020, literally the day before the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared. My posts had slowed down in general before that anyway, mostly because instead of wanting to talk about games, I just wanted to shut up and play them.

I am an introvert, so the pandemic was extremely weird in that it was equal parts concerning and comforting. I got to work from home for an extended period of time. I got to spend more time with my son as he grew from the toddler stage well into the “little boy” stage. I got to stay in my own little bubble for a while, and it was oddly reassuring. Cozying up on the couch to play games at night while the world was busy being a dumpster fire was quite nice.

Putting Georgia down a week into the pandemic was *not* nice, though. Miss ya, buddy.

On the other hand, there was this pretty serious-sounding illness out there, lurking. We had some at-risk family members living in different parts of the country, so we limited our interactions to stay healthy in the event things cleared up enough to see everyone. Same as it is right now, our mindset at the time was “we could maybe handle getting sick, but if our son or older family members get it, they couldn’t.” It wasn’t about us then, and it isn’t about us now.

COVID would undoubtedly kick our asses too – we’ve just had a “please let it be us, not them” attitude about it.

Thankfully, our provincial government seemed to have a good grasp of things (at the time), and it was only about a month and a half of complete lockdown before we were safe to see our families on a regular basis again. We had a great summer without many restrictions in place and very few cases in our area. We even went for a night out at a restaurant with friends at one point, something folks elsewhere could only dream of doing. Things beyond our little province’s borders were getting pretty wild, but we were good. Great, actually.

Much like the plot of Bioshock however, the situation became very *fluid*.

Fluid… because there’s water everywhere… get it? Hah.

I’ve always been an anxious person about this and that – how I was doing in school, relationships with friends, family stuff, finances, that sort of thing. As the world shut down and went through some pretty significant social movements, I couldn’t help but feel antsy about what was happening. On top of needing to stay vigilant about COVID, I could see and feel the divide between folks on different sides of the political spectrum growing wider and wider. I won’t bother getting into which side I’m on because it’s irrelevant, but it was just a sad time in our evolution as a species.

As the year went on and things kept happening, it got to be a little bit heavy on the brain… I really had to take a step back, and take a breath.

We have to raise a child through these difficult times, when people are so incredibly divided on *everything*. On a daily basis, society feels like it’s on the verge of collapse, and we happened to bring a kid into world right in the thick of it. F*ck. We’re all in the same ocean.

We are often being asked to follow regulations that might not immediately make sense to us, and we have to navigate all these on the fly. I’m flexible, and I can accept that science can change and regulations along with it… but every little tweak has people up in arms, and some have *clearly* reached their boiling point with all this stuff. It’s tough to watch unfold. We’re all in the same ocean.

Within the confines of our bubbles, life is still happening. We live the same life we did pre-COVID – we bicker, we laugh, we worry about little things, we try to make things fun, we raise a child and deal with all the fun things that come with that, and we experience loss. We’re all in the same ocean.

My father-in-law passed away suddenly a year and a half ago, and there hasn’t been a day gone by that I haven’t thought of him. The most random thing will remind me – “oh yeah, that happened. Sh*t.”

The more I think about him passing away, the more I feel we’re lucky to have felt this grief. We’re lucky we had him for the time we had him, and we’re lucky to have had a good enough relationship with him that we are grieving. The alternative – no grieving at all, not even caring that he’s gone, which I’ve seen with other families – sounds truly awful.

So… we’re lucky. It hurts, but we’re lucky to feel that.

We’re all in the same ocean. We’re not all in the same boat – some of us have yachts, some of us have canoes with holes in the bottoms of them, and some of us are doing okay in our trusty old fishing boats. We’re all just riding the waves the best we can.

Over these past two years, I’ve tried to lean into my anxiety (if I’m calling it that), and to allow myself to learn from it. For instance, a while back I was asked to do a work thing where I’d be talking in front of a camera for about 5 minutes. Nothing too complicated – just an overview of my department, one that would be shown to the entire company. Not necessarily a huge undertaking, but it’s definitely something “big” I had never done before.

After I made a social media post saying “yay, I did a thing”, a co-worker from another department said “growth is always found outside of one’s comfort zone”. It was probably something he heard in a team building exercise, or possibly even a meme, but for some reason, it has stuck with me ever since.

I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but six or seven years ago I had written a batch of scripts that I envisioned could be used as YouTube videos. I’m not sure if I was more intrigued about the idea of putting myself out there, or if I thought I could make a few extra bucks by monetizing my channel. Nevertheless, they were written, and when we unexpectedly became parents, they were pretty much forgotten… until last year, when I dug them up and thought about doing it again.

And why not? It’s a chaotic world out there, and if I’m ever going to delve into this, it might as well be now.

So, I wrote some more. Stuff that I wanted to talk about; Star Wars games, NASCAR games, games I liked that nobody else did, whatever. I’d put it all out there, and if it caught on, great. If it didn’t, who cares. Worst case scenario, it would be something my friends and I could all get in on.

I’m still waffling back and forth about doing it, though. I live in a small enough city that someone would inevitably recognize me, leading to who-knows-what. It’s not so much paranoia as it is just not wanting to have to deal with… all of that.

I might just ease myself into it with voiceover stuff, maybe I’ll appear on screen, who knows. Either way, I’m trying to use my experience with these past few years to grow a bit.

Time to write some more, and actually do this thing.

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