Why Acne is a Wonderful Thing

Thanksgiving break is now passed, and I thought it would be a very good idea to keep being thankful throughout the year to little things that we may overlook and take for granted. Furthermore, I thought it would be interesting to be thankful towards things that many of us like to complain about: acne, for example.

 

I have come to a point in my teenage years where acne isn’t a major problem anymore. It may pop up here and there, but in general, as long as my hygiene is well maintained, it’s nothing out of control. There was a period in my life, however, where cold sores would appear out of nowhere. And that is one of the very first things I’m thankful for.

___________________________________________

The sun rises. I wake up with a headache but no acne to be seen on my face. Halfway through the day, a cold sore pops up above my lip. Painful as hell, too. And getting rid of them hurt- that’s as far as I’m gonna go. This was an extreme case, but one of many. Acne would just appear out of nowhere throughout the day. Some big, some small. The point is, it was always unpredictable. And that taught me one thing.

I had to love it. Complaining wasn’t going to help. Acting miserable wasn’t going to help and was going to make people notice it more and would make me look pathetic. There was only one possibility to dealing with the unpredictable red terror (other than maintaining a good hygiene): I had to love it. I had to love my face, whatever happens to it, and love the sometimes painful demon spawns that decided to inhabit it. Why? Because worrying about something as unpredictable yet unavoidable was (and still is) pointless to me. Learn to deal with it. It will make your life easier.

My acne calmed down now. It may pop up here and there but is mostly not a problem, especially thanks to that lesson I learned a couple of years earlier. It does, however, get bad when I am not consistent with one of the most important things I should do: maintain a good hygiene. And that is my second main point:

Acne doesn’t care if the shower I skipped was because I stayed home during vacation and didn’t have to interact with people. It doesn’t care if I stayed up late studying – or playing video games – and neglected cleaning up my skin. It doesn’t care if I’m neglecting my hygiene because I’m depressed after a breakup, hell, the stress might even increase it. It doesn’t care that I’m too lazy to be eating right or to be filling up my water bottle throughout the day; the circles will follow through as soon as I get off track.

My acne is a beacon for personal improvement. Not being consistent with it will leave spots on my face that will last for days, and acne scars that may last for months, or even years. It is an intrusive but effective way of keeping me on track with what my personal priorities are: not waste time worrying and complaining, loving myself to a very deep level -including things about myself I should be tempted to hate-, and making sure to take constant good care of my body.

Dragon’s Dogma – Enjoying the Grind to Success

Anyone who has played the game Dragon’s Dogma will know what I’m talking about: 80% of the game is backtracking on the same linear roads over and over again while battling the same enemies in the same spots over and over again.

Dragon’s Dogma is an open world RPG with no fast(er) traveling system, and sprinting is not infinite.

Because of this, you have to travel by foot for basically the entire game. Got a fetch quest? Better run. Got a main quest? Get your boots ready. Just wanna explore the map? Be ready for 2 hours of running around.

Some people love it. Some people really don’t. Personally, if the game had more variety in roads, I’d like it a lot more. But I don’t, because it’s the exact same roads over and over again.

Yet anyone who’s played it will tell you that suffering through this is worth it. Why? Because: boss battles.

The boss battles in this game are amazing. I won’t talk about them in detail here, but all you need to know is that they are absolutely worth the hassle for many, many players. Which made me think. The entire game, you’re forced to do mostly the same thing over and over again, to work your way up a reward being a really satisfying experience, and one that gives you the feeling to have been well earned.

__________________________

I am not an expert on the subject of success. Being an average eleventh grader in high schools, I do not have have the first-hand experience to make the comparison I’m about to make. But the process of enjoying the grind and enjoying the journey that’s present in Dragon’s Dogma reminded me a lot of the way successful people like Gary Vaynerchuk talk about having to enjoy and grind through the work that leads to success.

The grind – running on the same roads over and over again, learning at what interval you need to stop sprinting to not run out of breath in-game. Fighting the same enemies, over and over again, on the same exact spots. Learning from your mistakes after countless deaths and approching them at different angles with different strategies. All of these seem to directly compare with the real grind that successful people talk about having to go through. Running the same road is, like Gary Vaynerchuk would put it, doing what you love or are passionate about over and over again until it brings you results. Fighting the same enemies and dying is encountering obstacles and learning to overcome them. I didn’t say it previously, but many of them you can avoid. You’ll run into some eventually, as many are scattered throughout the map, but you do not have to fight all of them.

You can probably even think, right now, of real life obstacles that you bring on yourself but that are, in reality, avoidable. I’m sure you can also think of non-avoidable ones that you have to learn or have learned, to manage.

The progress – although the process is long and repetitive, progress comes along once in a while to remind you the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. A little level up, and a few new unlockable skills. A new and different way to play the game will unlock for you: the ability to change class. Been clashing at golbins with a sword this entire time? You can now learn to obliterate them with devastating thunder and ice spells. It’s this variety that changes everything. The grind is nothing without progress. It’s through this that you realize there’s a reason for doing what you’re doing. If you put the work in, it does pay off. If you keep on working and looking for opportunities, they will eventually arise. They may take a while, a long while, but they will eventually come.

It’s also important to note that progress also includes learning from your mistakes. Although it may seem obvious, forgetting this part of progress can become a good reason to quit the grind and forget why you started in the first place.

The boss battle – You’ve been doing your homework. Whether the work was enjoyable or not, you’ve been doing it without fault, learning from mistakes and not giving up. When opportunities arose, you took them. When progress was possible, you made it happen. Now comes the best part of all: the boss battle.

The boss battle is what you’ve been working towards. It’s thought to be your biggest task of all. You approach it with a good state of mind. You have no idea how though it will be, but you know it’s what you’ve wanted.

However, as the battle unfolds, you might realize something. Although it is though, it is nothing completely new. You know most of it. Or at least, if you don’t know how to beat the challenge, you know how to find out. You might even realize that it’s not that difficult at all. Although it may be long, and you might have to go at it for a while, without pause, you have previously put the time and effort in to have that not be out of your abilities. The difficulty of the battle isn’t a problem, because you know to fight through it, and have even learned to enjoy the most boring and repetitive of processes.

__________________________

To summarize, Dragon’s Dogma is a good reflection of how real life success is achieved. I realize the irony of comparing people like Gary Vaynerchuk to a video game but bear with me. Being able to use things like DD to motivate you in the real world is to me the key against procrastination and lack of motivation.

Imagine this. You might not know what you’re working towards right now. You might not know what you want to accomplish. But you know there’s something. Or maybe you just have a bunch of work you’ve been putting off for a week. Consider this: do it now. No, it may not be enjoyable. Yes, it may be boring. Yes, you may not enjoy it. At the end of the day, you might not even have a necessarily good outcome coming out of the work (bad results, bad grade) but that’s all part of the game. Learn from it. Keep going. Grow yourself a vision. Because at the end of the day, once you’ll have gotten to that boss battle, you’ll wonder why you thought it wouldn’t be worth it in the first place.

 

 

The Craving of Living Alone

There comes a moment when you want life to kick you in the ass.

A moment when you want to just stop being comfortable, because it’s not you and it’s not how you want to live.

A moment when where you realize you need to grow up. That, right now, you’re not actually living a mature life, or being mature enough.

A moment when you want to be on your own, and experience all the hardships there are to be experienced.

Because you know there’s more to life than just sitting on your ass, exercising in the afternoon, doing your homework and getting a grade.

A moment when you realize that you could actually start living that lifestyle right now.

 

The Art of Boredom

Getting bored has become an underrated form of inspiration in our modern day and age. We are constantly being bombarded with content, things to do, things to look at, when in the end, most of it ends up wasting our time more than optimizing it.

With the rise of the internet and fast-processing smartphones, we have learned to avoid boredom like the devil. It is seen as a waste of time, a sign that you have nothing going on in your life, and are forced to do nothing but what- contemplate? Who even does that anymore?

The thing is, the rise of smartphones also brought us the downfall and disappearance of living purely in the moment, finding things to do, and taking the time to do them, rather than having everything handed out to you quickly and easily. We live in the age of “This ONE EFFORTLESS trick will get you EVERYTHING YOU WANT in life” when in reality, life doesn’t work that way.

We’re not encouraged to sit down and live the present moment. We’re encouraged to grab an electronic device and fill all of our time with “stuff”. To a certain degree, it doesn’t even matter what it is: videos, quick articles, browsing, endless scrolling through social media… Doesn’t matter, as long as it’s “stuff”.

Well I’m here to do one thing. Telling you to get bored. I’m serious.

Once you’re done with reading this article (or hell, do it even right now,) turn off your phone, turn off your laptop, sit down and get bored. If you absolutely need to, put a timer on your phone, but make sure your phone is completely out of reach for your set amount of time of getting bored.

What you’ll find is it’s really hard.

Just sit there. Observe what happens. At first, you’ll most likely think about, well, what you’re doing, as well as the imaginary repercussions it might have on your life. What could have happened if you hadn’t listened to that random person on the internet who thinks they know everything and decided to write a random article about boredom, to pass time.

You’ll notice your brain making more complicated scenarios, having random thoughts that will take your attention away from the fact that you’re not doing anything other than sitting down and thinking.

You might find it relaxing. You might not. The point is that you will be a little bit more engrained in the present moment.

Resist your urge to grab your phone. Resist your urge to turn on your laptop. Close your eyes if you need to. Listen to the wind outside. Feel the warmth of the sun rays traveling through your window. Realize that you’re in constant need for distractions. And maybe, only maybe will you find inspiration in the pure nature of the present moment.