Avoiding Limbo

I "exited" quarantine today and I'm kind of at a loss at what to focus on now! Unfortunately a friend came down with Covid, and I was exposed to it, I did not catch it but I've kept myself isolated for several days and tested daily. I'm glad I did that, but I missed the final two days of work as well as Thanksgiving, and I also threw my sleep schedule upside down in the process >:(

Spending that time isolated and missing the final two days of work for the season (which I really like) as well as missing a special time with my family, I've kinda felt the draw back to video games in order to seek community. It's taken me a while to realize I'm a more social creature than I had previously liked to think of myself as, but even with video games, I really can't sit down to play many single players games - I'm just not interested unless I'm somehow interacting with human players. I used to be hooked on games, but this year has shown me how enjoyment I can take in progressing towards real life achievements, and now as I'm sitting down to try all these different games I used to be so engaged in, I just can't bring myself to want to invest any time or effort into any of them. The last game I really got engrossed in was Minecraft, and that was more to do with running a community server and trying to create the best entertainment "service" I could for players.

If I step back a bit to look at this desire to choose a game and get into it again, I think I can glean a few personal insights about myself. The two strongest motivations were "advancing" (whether that's making a better world in Minecraft and reaping the appreciation of others, or improving my skills in other games to climb up a leaderboard, ultimately socially related) and connecting - making friends, going on adventures, discussing likeminded interests and enthusiasm for eachother. It's not really the game for me, it's the community and the progress (no, not real-world progress, but it still itches that part of the game.) Having that outlet in the realworld this year, creating things for and with people, improving my skills and delivering progressively more interesting work for people to enjoy, has allowed me to see what I was seeking in video games that I wasn't getting out of life. Now that work is over, now that I've been stuck inside for the past week, and now that it's too cold in my garage to create my studio work until spring, the door to the most obvious source for me to fulfill that desire to connect and progress has been closed, and I rather unconsciously began wondering, what game can I play?

Thankfully I'm A.) aware of it now (finally!), and B.) have a few hobbies I can work on indoors that I can improve on and share the results with others. First, I can take the time off to learn a few skills that are relevant to my photography.

One is sort of niche - I need to figure out how to print my photographic animations as lenticular prints so the animation can be viewed and controlled by hand. That'll be really cool, I think, and I look forward to being able to share those physical results with some of my strongest supporters.

I also now have time to really dig into ESP32 and programming to create the light meter prototype I've been thinking about. I would really like to have a light meter on top of my camera that will provide readings for both incident and reflected light, and beyond that, doubling as a device that connects with your phone to easily display local forecast and sunset/sunrise time right on the screen on top of the camera.

Another is tangentially related to photography but may blossom into its own expressive pasttime - I ordered an analog synthesizer (I sold my last synth either in 2020 or 2021!) and I'm intending on making short ambient tracks to match my photographic animations on social media reels. I've been drawn toward coupling sound with my visuals and I don't want to rely on other sources to provide tracks or background music for my work. I'm interested in seeing what I'm able to whip up with one synth, a DAW and some midi controllers over the winter B)

Furthermore, I have website related hobbies. Of course, there's the indie web - I've got so much I can improve upon here and others' projects I can discover through directories. I also have my professional website that I can improve upon, and perhaps begin writing my thoughts on the medium.

All this being said, I just don't want to fall into limbo. There are other concerns to take care of as well that are not so interesting. I may have to find another job, but hopefully I can find my way in producing and selling products (artwork and photography tools.) I'm grateful for this year and a lot of what's come with it, I feel as if I've grown (if only a little bit) since this time last year. So much has happened and it's one of the few years I can look back at and think that I really put in some effort. I'm grateful, I'm even grateful that I have the capacity for gratitude. But I need to be careful now that my schedule has kinda dissapated, to construct a new one, organize what needs to be organized at home, and soldier on forward.

- Onio