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Today was the day to find the Purpose of Life.
This is what I told myself in the waning hours of April 10th, 2019. I was playing the hugely popular and addicting online video game, Fortnite, on my Xbox One when a strickening realization hit me.
We are all going to Die.
Now, don't take this statement in the morbid sense. I firmly believe in the fact that humans need to live fulfilling lives of experience and variety. Sadly, Fortnight was consuming my life every evening and weekend.
For those individuals who aren't the two-hundred million people that play this battle royal, creative hub, adventure free-to-play masterpiece on a regular basis, let me explain the concept of Fortnite.
This game is free. Anyone with a phone, gaming console or computer can download the title from the parent company Epic. There are costumes, and various aesthetic in-game purchases available, but I was a consummate "Default." I had rationalized that if I wasn’t spending money, I didn’t have an addiction.
What made this situation intriguing, is that I actually took a break from the game for five months in late 2018-early 2019. However, less than thirty days ago, I decided that I could be a casual consumer and re-downloaded the game onto my home system.
Immediately, I felt a shift in my life priorities. This experience of winning, exploration, building and skill sucked me again like quicksand. Several weeks went by, with my evenings becoming battle after battle, until I realized how late it was and stumbled into bed.
I decided to write this piece for those who felt like I did, and need to pull the plug on this obsession.
Remember, we are all going to die, so live a great life, and don't regret wasting time on the unimportant things.
Now don't get this message twisted, if your family members or friends are spread out around the country, and you want to connect with them, by engaging in games online for an entertain evening of teamwork and fun, then by all means, live your best life.
I intend to address those who need an encouraging word, to motivate and set them in a direction to become free once more. The Fortnite hold can be difficult to detach.
First, find your "Why." If this concept is foreign to you, check out Simon Sinek's excellent videos on YouTube on the subject of "Why."
Next, talk to the people in your life. Perhaps you need external encouragement, and a partner for a new activity.
Once this has been accomplished, decide what is best for your daily schedule, and future life goals. Assuming you aren't a professional gamer, there are options. Such as setting a time limit, i.e. one hour a day. Or even a match limit, five matches per evening.
This approach can moderate the Fortnite consumption, and pave the way for the game to fit into your life balance, as a way to relax or connect with friends and family.
If moderation isn't working and you find yourself playing on and on into the night, try deleting the download. This was the point that I had gotten to this warm April evening.
Let me share something personal with you. I love my wife, she is everything I have ever wanted in a partner. It occurred to me that I was neglecting her for pixelated quests, meaningless victories, and instant-gratification. She never chastised me. I came to realize all these things for myself. Making drastic change, I forcibly took the game off the console, because the real prize in life is a meaningful and strong relationship with my young family.
We all have limited time on this Earth. That is a fact. Every single one of us is born, and after that fact, we will all perish sooner or later. This is nothing to be ashamed of, or be a cause for anxiety. It is a promise that your time to live a fulfilling life is an hourglass, that is guaranteed to run out.
Some of us ponder this question more often than others, but it is an inescapable fact. At least, until Google unveils GoogleLife, Your Personal Life Server, and gives us all immortality.
All jokes aside, it may take you individually or collectively a long while to determine what your Why is. Trust me, enjoy the process and experience the beauty of life, build relationships, and create products, large or small, that you will be proud to share.
Once you begin the Journey to Why, like-minded individuals will start coming into your life. Thanks to technology, finding your team, tribe, group, or friends is easier now than any other time in history.
Don’t be afraid of change. You can begin to moderate your consumption of Fortnite. It may surprise you that once you make the shift to creating, and making beauty in this world during your free time, video games tend to lose their allure as an all-consuming way to spend time.
If you are wired like me and feel the need to go for the hard stop, meaning pulling the plug entirely, prepare for withdrawals. You can't stop doing something that fun and addicting without at least minimal side effects. I highly recommend that a new activity is set in place, that you can easily transition to instead of video games. Feel free to use my ideas of photo editing, writing, and exercise. All of those examples build skills that are good for your mental, physical and emotional health.
Keep in mind every single day that we are not permanent, but quitting Fortnite is, and you have the power to build your best life.
You have control over your decisions, so dream big and be careful of the pied piper calling you away from your Why. I believe in you, now go and believe in yourself in order to beat Fortnite, permanently.