Contentment: a word to describe happiness and the feeling of being satisfied. We all strive to get to that point in our lives one way or another, be it work, hobbies, video games. Whichever course you steer in life, there will always be that end goal of finding your personal meaning of "contentment." To quote Aristotle, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” The only way for happiness to come about in our lives is for us to do that ourselves.
If you're like me, with a full-time job, regular nine-to-five, forty-hour workweek, you will soon realize that you don’t have a lot of time to do the things that matter most to you. It's always wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed, rinse, and repeat. That is what I dealt with on a daily basis until I started thinking, "Is this who I am?"
I finally came to the conclusion that I need to break this cycle.
What can I do differently with my life?
So I thought, why not paintball? I used to playback in the day as a kid, why not check it out and see what's out there? After doing research and looking for fields to play at and what the cost of rentals was, it seemed like I had the ball slightly rolling. All I had to do was execute and give it a try.
Sure enough, I went out and played for a couple of hours, and, at the end of it all, I was hooked. For the first time I had developed an interest in something other than video games, and I wanted more of it.
Fast forward 6 months: I have my own paintball gear and I'm going to the fields once every weekend or two. I'm meeting new friends that share the same interests as I do, I'm developing new skills while playing, and I even lost some weight while doing something that I enjoy!
What's more, is that I'm talking to a friend about joining his team, the only thing is I will need to go through tryouts. I have yet to try out because we're in a pandemic, but it is an exciting feeling to again try something different and step out of my comfort zone. I never really had much of an outdoor hobby let alone being a sport, it felt pretty good. The feeling of satisfaction was something I haven’t felt in a long time, and I wanted more of that feeling.
Can I turn video games into something more?
That's an interesting question to me. I've always wondered, how can I do something that I enjoy every day and turn that into something more? I didn't think about it at the time, but I had already answered my own question and realized that I was streaming games on Twitch as a fun little hobby. After my realization, I figured why not put more effort into my streams? I was already laid off from my job at the time, so I knew I had a lot of time on my hands to improve in certain areas of my streams.
With that in mind, I went online and did some research on how I can improve my stream quality, my overall appearance, as well as finding a routine on how I broadcast. I'll be honest: it was overwhelming at first, there were so many pieces to the streaming puzzle that I was struggling to understand. For example, I couldn't figure out why my stream was overloading and getting dropped frames But with every problem there is a solution. I did more research on how to troubleshoot my streams, and, with a lot of patience and determination, I was able to figure out how to solve these issues.
Fast forward again to about 10 months later: I have found my comfort zone in a way with how I broadcast my streams. I'm confident with how I talk to my chat while I'm streaming. On top of streaming, I found something else that I never knew at the time would be important to me: discovering new friends within the Retro Replay community! Through my newfound friends, along with my streaming hobby, I was able to look at life from a new perspective and come out of my shell.
When looking back at all of these hobbies and making new friends, I found a certain feeling within me that I haven’t felt in a while: contentment. When faced with feelings of dissatisfaction, loneliness, unhappiness, there is always something out there that will catch our attention. The easy part is finding an interest in a hobby. The hard part is taking that step and overcoming uneasiness.
Now I know that people are different, and some don't have to overcome certain fears in life. Not everyone may see what the other person sees in life. However, we all strive for that feeling of being satisfied, and it's up to us to figure out what we find satisfying.
Take this video, "As the Crow Flies," from the YouTube channel Red Bull Snow, created by Gigi Rüf and Elias Elhardt. The video is about snowboarding, but it describes more than just doing tricks and riding down a mountain. It reflects on what we do in our lives and how we might be able to achieve our own happiness.
For example, there is a section in the video where it talks about imagination. "Imagination is the animus of the soul. Without it, there would be no art, no music, no science, no civilization, in fact. It perpetually shapes and re-shapes our reality, removing boundaries and freeing the spirit to soar. It is the spark of life, A pinch of madness, the beginning of creation. Reality has limits. Imagination does not."
So for you that is reading, I ask you this: "What interests or hobbies can YOU imagine that can become a reality?"