Speaking of which, that makes a decent segway (or however that word is spelled) into me talking about obligations. In life, you really should only truly have obligations to yourself, because however important others are, if your obligations to them destroy you, then that's not a good thing. That doesn't mean, though, that we're heartless monsters. Quite the opposite, in fact; the very fact that I have to say this to others (and mostly, myself) is proof of the kindness in humanity, in that we DO feel that obligation to others.
In my case, I have rather a few. For instance, square dancing. Oh, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the community. I want square dancing to continue successfully into the next generation, and not to die out as it currently is. So the obligation to help is more than just having been born and raised in a square dancing family, and having square danced for 14 years, and competed for about 12 of those years in a square dance competition. (Yes, competitive square dancing exists. You'd be surprised. It's more than alamand-left and dos-e-do; there's a reason that IT-guys, linguists, and the like square dance. They're learning the upper levels, the C levels, which deal with theoretical concepts that go deeply into math, hypotheticals, and all sorts of complicated maneuvers, all of which must be communicated with just a few words. Below the C is Advanced, and below Advanced is Plus, and below Plus is Mainstream, and even in just mainstream dancing, you can be challenged by the variety of calls; there's something like 80 or so on the mainstream list.)
I do it because it's fun to do. I legitimately enjoy dancing. But I'm not really there dancing for myself. I'm mostly there dancing for the community, for the clubs I am a member of, to support them and to keep square dancing in my life. In short, while I legitimately have reason to do it on my own, it is more obligation than it is anything else.
This same attitude extends towards round dancing, if you're curious. I love doing it. I seek the thrills of a challenging dance. I aim to constantly expand my round dance knowledge, as to become more competent at it. I'm even writing a round dance, and planning on maybe writing a fair number more. I like improving and honing in on my technique, and the numerous amounts of compliments I get about me being a strong dancer are certainly a pleasant feeling to receive. That's all on me, and why I do it. But the main reason I round dance is also the reason I got into it about six years ago: because it's for my older sister. She has the passion for it. She was doing it before I was, and sought out me as her partner when she wanted to continue doing it.
She often tells me that I'm indecisive, that I need to step up and get an opinion on things. But what she doesn't realize is that I'm perfectly capable of forming my own opinion--I'm choosing not to. Because while I enjoy round dancing, it's her thing. So when it comes to decisions about round dancing, I let it be her who makes them. It's an obligation I feel.
Another obligation I have is work. Frankly, I owe it to myself to keep my job, and seek a full-time job. The reason why, as you'll see when I describe my trans issues a bit more (I'm deeply, deeply in the closet in-person; while I share my trans status freely on the internet, there is not a soul who knows in real life), is basically that I need to get out of my house and be self-sufficient so that I can stop living every day in fear. Plus, there's a lot of pragmatic reasons to have my job, among them being yet again I have a job as a lifeguard in an awesome community, one which offers me a fair number of perks for working there, and thus, I have incentive to keep the job so that I have that.
...And yet, in spite of those reasons, it's still nothing more than an obligation to me. It's something I'm "supposed" to be doing. It's not something I actually need to do. I can leech off of my parents for years to come, and if I were to actually devote myself 100% to writing my novel and got it published, I'd probably be able to make money that way, too. (Or if not from novel-writing, then making a career out of writing. Short stories, working as an editor, journalism, you get the idea; there's options out there which I know I would be good at and that would give me money.) Heck, worst comes to worst, I could wander adrift and be a homeless hobo if need be.
The point is, I hold zero actual need for it in order to live. Yet because it's something that others see as being good, because it's something that is "supposed" to be done, I do it, feeling obliged to have done so. And on that note, there's something tied to job prospects which is another obligation: college. Multiple times where my grades have failed thanks to mental health ("Brilliant, But Lazy" isn't quite an accurate description of me; "Brilliant and capable of an A+ in theory, but mentally unstable to the point of struggling to complete the course" is more accurate), my parents have even told me as much. They said that I held no obligation to do college as my siblings did, that I could be perfectly happy and content in life without a degree, that I could get a simple job and be fine.
And they're right. I don't. It's a bunch of wasted money, since what I'm learning isn't that useful to me in my daily life, and the job market my degree opens up I don't really have interest in doing. I know there's good money to be had. I know I am capable of doing the work competently at my better times because of how I perform (I excel at making things). And I know that when I have my degree at last, I probably will look for a job in the field. Yet I really don't care about the job. It's simply not something I'd enjoy. I know for a fact I wouldn't hate the job. (If I did, I'd have chosen a different degree.) I just also know that while I may find some problem-solving and seeing success and making good work would be slightly satisfying, that overall, a job like that is going to be nothing more than just that: a job. An obligation that I'll do because I'm "supposed" to.
Because it'll put their minds at ease.
What I want most of all is to help others. (I say that, because there is a painful divide in my choices, between things I desire for myself and things I desire for others to have, and often, helping one person versus helping myself, or even worse, helping one person versus helping the other; time does not allow for me to do them all. But while that may be true, while it hurts, I know that push come to shove, there is nothing I wouldn't give up to help people. The paths I take to helping others are often mutually exclusive. And sometimes, I am forced to make the call to help myself before helping others, just because I can't help others if I'm dead. Most commonly, I neglect to help others by simple oversight, thinking only in hindsight, "D'oh! I should have done something." But again, there is nothing--and I do mean nothing--that I can see myself clinging onto selfishly above helping out people. Because I like it.)
I feel obligated to make them feel better.
Because know what I'd do if I held no obligation at all to others? Spend my time entirely on myself. I'd play every game I have and/or want to play to its conclusion. I'd read every article to my satisfaction. I'd get HRT and eventually, GRS. Probably go on long walks through the forest, too. From there, we go into activities that could be helpful to others, but are still mainly me. Writing my novels, one after another, to my satisfaction. Creating art, and getting it to perfection (which is impossible, I know, but close to). Playing text-based games like Mafia all day long, obsessing over them. Creating my own video games by learning how to do everything, from the art to the coding to the music. (Speaking of music, look forward to more on that later. I actually wrote part of a song today.)
...And on that note, I'm concluding this blog post by mentioning a thought I had today. I'm not going to go into much detail, but basically, there's this one game that I want to make. It is based off of one of my "big" novels, one of the novels that is in my personal hall of fame for my novels, even though it's not completed, because of how important it is. (But I digress.) The game itself essentially changes the backstory slightly, changes the names, and changes the plot ever so slightly as a result, but is basically 90% the same thing as the original novel it is inspired by. (Said novel, by the way, is a likely candidate for being the novel I work on after I finish with my current novel.)
Anyway, said video game would be a flash game, in the tower defense genre. Today, I basically was giving a little bit of thought to how the system would work, since in the game, you have "hero" units that are special versions of the normal units, and carry on throughout the game. They can be upgraded in-mission and also upgraded out-of-mission, and the out-of-mission upgrades also share a screen with universal upgrades. (A bit like the Protector series of games in that regard.) I was just tinkering around with the idea that the hero units when replaying a level can continue earning experience points to level-up their in-mission upgrades, but that replaying a level offers no cash for out-of-mission upgrades......except for a higher score, with a level score being what's used to buy the out-of-mission upgrades (a bit like the Gemcraft series of games in that regard).
I could go on talking all day about that game, but since I want to get this blog post done before midnight, it'll have to wait for some other day. I've got work to do.