Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Post-Achievement Blues

(To be sung to the plaintive wails of a harmonica and slowly strummed acoustic guitar:)
I've got the bluuuuuuues...

This past week has been a little bit like a MMO Guild-run dungeon crawl in real life, for me. (And just because I don't want to spend time explaining what all those words mean to people who aren't huge nerds, I linked them to definitions via Urban Dictionary; see definitions 1, 2, and 3, respectively).

By which I mean that I have accomplished so much this week that I was almost constantly getting comments, texts, phone calls, or statements of “Congratulations!” and “Way to go!” thrown out at me, much how they are when your player character manages to level twice, complete an awesome set of armor, and kill a squirrel you just “loved” (Yes, that is a WoW achievement; do not ask me why). In the spirit of friendliness and camaraderie, everyone in your guild who happens to be online is sending encouragement your way at once, and your message box is flooded with well-wishes, and you feel an inflated sense of pride, as if that squirrel was Hitler (or, if you prefer, some other easily-hateable historical figure) in disguise and you just saved the whole world by smacking it with your virtual mace. Then the dungeon crawl ends, you get your final fanfare sound byte and banner scrolling across the screen saying “Congratulations, you just completed PigglyFinx Instance!” and it's all over. No more congrats. No more encouragement and cheers. Just this kind of empty and slightly confusing feeling. Now what?

That's how I feel right now. In case you haven't been keeping up, I've...
  • lost five pounds
  • earned my orange belt in Tai Chuan Do
  • potty trained a toddler
  • submitted a short-story for a story contest, and 
  • started up my Etsy shop. 
All in the space of about a week (maybe two; I have no head for dates). I didn't realize how pumped up I was getting on all the cheers and encouragement my fantastic group of friends and family were giving me... until it was over.

Please understand, I'm not feeling sorry for myself or any such silly thing. I know that the encouragement has ended simply because I completed my accomplishments. And it's not that I don't have anything to do now. There's a whole page full of projects I have written down to make and post on my shop, and I want to retake pictures of some of my pieces. I have karate tonight where I will be learning some neat new orange belt stuff. And of course, I still have about 60 lbs left to lose altogether. It's just that I've checked off all the major accomplishments (for the present) from my list, so I'm suddenly feeling a little... empty. A little... confused. A little... “wondering-what-to-do-now?” Hmm...

Unlike in real life, most MMO achievements are just plain silly...

Do you ever feel like you just completed a real-life dungeon crawl? What do you do to get past the Post-Achievement Blues?

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