The Zen of Grinding

This weekend was spent grinding mobs and levelling. If I’m in the right mood, it’s quite mesmeric to grind. (If I’m in an impatient or irritable mood, however, it’s not something that I can do for any length of time.) You get into a rythmn, a rinse-and-repeat cycle as you chat or listen to music or whatever…enjoying the snow falling in game, the excitement of the occasional nice drop, seeing the bar slowly fill up without any expectation of trying to reach a certain level, just grinding.

If I have a goal, like trying to gain another level or whatever, then the pressure of my expectations make it a chore. If I’m just there, in the zone, killing whatever mobs are present, doing quests, gathering, it all kind of fades into a haze, and the time passes as I chat with friends. Quite nice, actually. I suppose it’s the process of enjoying the experience for itself, rather than something that you have to do to achieve a goal (reaching end level, or whatever).

Aside from zen grinding, what did I do this weekend?  I got my hair cut into messy layers and coloured it bright red. I think the hairstylist was bored…it was raining, we were talking, he kept playing with my hair, and two hours (!!) passed before I was done. Again, I enjoyed it because I was in the moment, just listening to him make predictions about my life (he said he was a little psychic, and liked guessing things things about people). Had I somewhere urgent to go, I would not have experienced that.

I told my parents about the Pamplona plans. I think they took it well.  :)  My family is awesome in that everyone trusts you to know what you’re doing, and will let you just get on with it. There’s no pressure, or guilt trips. My parents totally rock. My dad thought about it, and then said that he supposed that most people who get hurt get hurt by other people, not by bulls. Very true. (Aside from the admittedly rather spectacular cases where that is not true, the thought of which which would have most parents in hysteria.)  I’ve always been thankful for my family.

The call to my parents was prior to a family conference later on that day (being so far away from everyone means that I miss out on everything). They wanted to discuss my mom’s wishes with all my sisters. My mom has Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or what is called Motor Neuron Disease here in the UK. Her wish is that once she’s no longer able to breathe or function on her own, she doesn’t want to be put on machines or kept alive artificially. And how could any of us say anything different? We trust each other to make their own decisions. She’s the bravest person I know.

Running in front of fighting bulls takes balls, or stupidity, but it doesn’t really take courage. Not when you compare yourself to someone like my Mom, living each day in good spirits, still helping others even though her body is becoming increasingly non-functional. That takes guts. I will never be the person that she is, but at least a small part of what I am is due to the wonderful people who raised me – I feel so fortunate to have had my family.

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