Turn your Achievement Medals into Coasters – REALLY EASY!

I just finished moving. I had only lived in my previous place for 2.5 years, and somehow still felt like I’d accumulated so much STUFF. (Most of it is coming in handy, however, so now I don’t feel so bad, haha)

There’s one thing that I still didn’t know what to do with until last week!

Medal coaster

Medals. The kind you get for actually winning and placing is pretty awesome, but I’m in possession of three generic, congrats-you-finished-and-we-don’t-care-about-your-time medals from two 5k’s and a mud run. I don’t need these hanging on a wall or bulletin board. So they just sat.

But last week, I observed that my coworker’s coaster (< a href=”http://www.twitter.com/bumblethunder”>@bumblethunder) was, in fact, a marathon medal! He said it came that way, with a foam ring on the backside and everything. I expressed interest in recreating it, so we discussed a bit.

I mean, you could just take the ribbon off and put it on the table, but it’d totally scuff and scratch the surface. Isn’t the point of a coaster to protect your surfaces? So, a little editing would be needed! Still, there’s no way it could be difficult.

Hey guess what! IT WAS REALLY REALLY EASY! You could do things a lot less crudely (like fill and cover the medal with a resin to make it all pretty and smooth) and come up with some super sweet results, but I’m just going to lay down the basics :)

Things you’ll need:

  • Your medal
  • Self-stick furniture felt pads
  • (OR felt or kiddy crafty foam sheet thing + hot glue/some other adhesive)
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Pencil (optional)

Step 1: Prepare your medal – Take only the medal

You’ll have to take off the sweet ribbon it came with, as well as any connecting metal rings. Most rings will have an opening that was squeezed shut. Use pliers to open up the ring and remove your medal.

Step 2: Prepare your felt pads – End up with three felt pads per medal

My coworker actually gave me some felt furniture pads he found lying around his house. They’re from Ikea (called FIXA). The small ones look to be about 3/4″ in diameter, which is pretty big for this project, so I used only one and cut it into thirds.

If you’re using craft foam or regular felt with an adhesive, cut three small squares or circles or rectangles or triangles or trapezoids or whatever’s easiest that is fairly substantial. Not teeny strips, you want a little support here! The width to aim for is just a little over 1/4″. They don’t have to be pretty.

Cut your feet

Mark your lines with a pencil if you’d like. Cutting something into thirds took my brain a second to figure out ;) Think peace sign.

You can go a little larger for larger medals, too. Remember, you’re going for support, but not too much to make the bottom uneven.

Step 3: Secure the felt pads to the back of the medal

Place your feet

Spread out the pads as evenly as possible near the edge of the medal, leaving only a little room at the edge. You don’t want it to show too much, but more importantly, you don’t want the weight of a cup to tip it over, either!

Make sure the medal is clean to get the best stickage. Once you’re satisfied with the placement, glue ‘em down, or if using the self-stick kind, simply peel and stick!

Let your adhesive dry according to its instructions.

Turn over, test it out with a cup, slide it around the table and observe how it doesn’t make that awful scratchy sound or scuff up your surfaces! Yay!

Now, you can show off your accomplishments in a smooth and productive way!

*Achievement unlocked* I should get a medal for this ;)

What I Did Before PAX (Omega Story Part 2 of 4)

In Omega Story Part 1, I described my experience finding out I had been randomly selected for the PAX Prime 2014 Omegathon.

These are the things I did before heading out to Seattle:

As the weeks passed, I grew more and more anxious for the game list for this year’s competition. There was nothing I could practice to help hone skills for like every game ever because the games for each round were not announced.

It was the best advice from everyone on the forums and in the Facebook group to NOT stress about the games or practicing or anticipating. Knowing a thing or two about stress and how awful it is for a person, I took this advice to heart.

So what if I didn’t win? Being chosen is already a win. The absolute last thing that I wanted to do was ruin PAX for myself, despite its overall awesomenss. Stress could easily do this and I was determined to prevent it.

Again, there was literally NOTHING I could do to prepare until I had the game list. So I just kept doing what I was doing. Regular life, regular PAXcitement building, with the addition of Omegacitement!

-Insert more weeks here-

The Release of the Game List

It was about 2.5 weeks before PAX and the games were announced…

  • Round 1: Get Bit. A card/tabletop game where your strategy depends on what you think the other players are doing.
  • Round 2: Towerfall. A fast-paced 4-player close-quarters side-scroller where you shoot each other with arrows and jump on their heads.
  • Round 3: Super Avalanche 2. Blocks fall from the sky and stack upon one another. Jump on top of them, don’t get smooched, watch out because the lava is rising from below.
  • Round 4: JS Joust. Keep your motion controller as still as possible while physically engaging your opponents to make them wiggle theirs.
  • Round 5: Mario Kart: Double-Dash. Super Mario themed kart racing. Set traps for opponents, get boosts for yourself, don’t fall off the map.
  • Final Round: A mystery until the final two Omeganauts are on the stage! :O

Honestly? I had only heard of JS Joust and Mario Kart, but only played Mario Kart. I did some preliminary research on all of the games and I was most worried about Towerfall and Super Avalanche 2. Yes. Worried. Something I did NOT want to do.

This is what I decided on: It’s impossible to master any of these games, let alone five of them, within two weeks. The attainable was basic familiarity with the gameplay, and a feel for what is expected in each game.

I shifted my focus to Get Bit. This is the only game I was guaranteed to play. Jusin (@rabbd) bought it for me as an early berfday gift (taaank you!!) so we could train a bit! It’s a cute game with a silly concept. Simple rules, but the strategy was dependent on your opponents, even the number of opponents could change it all.

I purchased Towerfall on Steam, but to my dismay, found that it was not an online game so I could only practice with single players and stationary dummy enemies. Even still, Youtube videos and this single player was enough to achieve the level of proficiency I set for myself.

For Super Avalanche 2, I used the browser-based Super Avalanche demo available at the developer’s website. The controls were difficult on a keyboard. Over time, I’ve become more of a console gamer rather than PC (don’t even start. I know.) I had heard rumor that, generally, controllers were used, so I hoped for this.

JS Joust was something I did not have the means to practice. It was a Playstation Move game. I’m not even sure I know anyone with a PS and Move controllers. My PAX friends from Prime 2013 John (@pandaradox) and Noah (@Pojo_King) had talked about the game last year, so I asked them for advice. Practice with a full glass of water! What I didn’t have was a feel for the sensitivity, and this what made me nervous.

Mario Kart? The only one I already knew how to play. I didn’t even begin to think about practicing it. And I didn’t play it at all. Oooops.

And just like that, it was time to fly up to Seattle with Justin and get our PAX on.

How I Became a PAX Prime 2014 Omeganaut (Omega Story Part 1 of 4)

This year, I was one of the 19 chosen in the random draw to be an Omeganaut at PAX Prime 2014. This is my story. In four parts!

I had only purchased PAX badges twice before, but I recognized that the Omegathon opt-in was different this year in that it simply didn’t exist in the badge-buying checkout. Instead, a Google form went out later to opt into random draw.

Of course I was interested! I filled out the form accordingly.

-Insert some number of weeks here-

*Wake up from nap*
*Play on phone while still in bed*
*Receive phone call from blocked number*
*Shrug* “Hello?”

Lo and behold, Robert Khoo (@rkhoo) from Penny Arcade was on the phone. After verifying that he was talking to me, Melissa, he asked, “Are you awake?” To which I responded, “Haha… I think so?” Random. He proceeded to remind me that I like sleep. Turns out, in the when’s-the-best-time-to-contact-you? box, I had written late afternoon because “I like sleep.” Well, yep, I do!

After a series of questions, one of which being something along the lines of “Do you want to be an Omeganaut?” …. UM OF COURSE THE ANSWER IS YES!!

Was I actually awake? Was I dreaming? Did I wake up from my nap only to be still dreaming? You know, Inception style.

Even with that uncertainty, I messaged my game and PAX friends and told the internet what had just happened.

I was met with overwhelming congratulations and support!! Through all of the excitement, it still hadn’t sunk in what being an Omeganaut really meant in full.

To my delight, I received the congratulating and informatory email from Angela (SmallLady) a few hours later. It was real, and I was awake.

Let the gaming…BEGIN!

[EDIT: Part 2 is up n ready.]

Kindle Highlights from Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson

This was a fun fantasy, not difficult read. I liked that it didn’t just give away everything to the reader at once. We learned about things WITH the characters instead of cringing at their actions and cursing them for not seeing the signs just because we know about them. Of course, since we’re reading multiple sides of the story, we know. But I think Sanderson does a decent job keeping readers holding on ;)

I’ll probably go for Mistborn sometime in the nearish future!

Check it out on Amazon

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

You have 61 highlighted passages. Last annotated on January 17, 2014

  • Make a note to have my imagination flogged for its insolence in showing me that particular sight. – Location 996
  • flowing hair is favored by many of the women—particularly the goddesses. – Location 1171
  • She wanted time to experience more of life before she was forced into the responsibilities of childbearing. – Location 1182
  • Blushweaver the Beautiful, goddess of honesty. – Location 1335
  • “If I’m stunned, dazzled, and breathless, then how the hell am I supposed to greet you? – Location 1356
  • “Mocking a woman is like drinking too much wine. It may be fun for a short time, but the hangover is hell. – Location 1367
  • “I try to avoid having thoughts. They lead to other thoughts, and—if you’re not careful—those lead to actions. Actions make you tired. – Location 1401
  • “You avoid thinking, you avoid me, you avoid effort…is there anything you don’t avoid?” ” – Location 1403
  • It was an orgy of color and motion. – Location 1692
  • Did no one understand that a man could be both likable and useless? Not every quick-tongued fool was a hero in disguise. – Location 2089
  • “I am what the universe made me to be, my dear. – Location 2383
  • “fight with everything, force the universe to bow to you instead. – Location 2385
  • “And how exactly did we get onto this tangent, anyway?” Lightsong said. “I swear, my dear. Sometimes our conversations remind me of a broken sword.” She raised an eyebrow. “Sharp as hell,” Lightsong said, “but lacking a point. – Location 2403
  • “first you imply that I should join with you, now you won’t tell me what you want me to do? I swear, woman. Someday, your ridiculous sense of drama is going to cause cataclysmic problems—like, for instance, boredom in your companions. – Location 2409
  • because everyone tries so hard to look distinctive, nobody does! – Location 2494
  • But he’d found that imaginary things were often the only items of real substance in people’s lives. – Location 2571
  • Things in Hallandren were a whole lot less terrible than she had been taught. – Location 2647
  • You’re a very difficult person to manipulate, you know. – Location 2706
  • “You just have to promise me that I won’t have to do a thing, and then I’ll do anything you want. – Location 2707
  • She was not the confident, competent woman she’d assumed herself to be. – Location 2880
  • Tantrums were useless displays of arrogance. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t set yourself above others. He who makes himself high will be cast down low. – Location 2952
  • It’s not so uncommon for others to have more faith in someone than he has in himself. – Location 3102
  • “Perhaps she’d rather we buy puppies for all of her enemies, then send them with nice apologetic notes, asking them to stop being so mean.” “And then,” Tonk Fah said, “when they don’t stop, we could kill the puppies! – Location 3216
  • Corpses cause more trouble than men who get knocked out. – Location 3513
  • Why should I have so much, when she has nothing? It was the worst kind of ostentation. – Location 3878
  • work is like fertilizer in that I’m glad it exists; I just don’t ever want to get stuck in it. – Location 4085
  • “I positively love people who do as they should. ‘Should’ being defined as – Location 4150
  • whatever I think is best. – Location 4151
  • “You don’t have to believe in my miracles. You can call them accidents or coincidences, if you must. But don’t pity me for my faith. And don’t presume that you’re better, just because you believe something different. – Location 4503
  • all of the people they represented, with all their different beliefs, different ways of thinking, different contradictions. Perhaps she wasn’t the only one who struggled to believe two seemingly opposing things at the same time. – Location 4558
  • “Haven’t believed much,” he said. “Not in a long time.” – Location 4562
  • Unknowing ignorance is preferable to informed stupidity. – Location 4980
  • Sometimes, although you can’t disguise who you are and how you really feel, you can make use of who you are. – Location 5080
  • This is who I am. However, I make certain that people never forget it. – Location 5086
  • “World’s a confusing place,” Denth said. “That’s what makes it fun. – Location 5173
  • that you don’t understand a man until you understand what makes him do what – Location 5180
  • he does. Every man is a hero in his own story, – Location 5181
  • The truth is, most people who do what you’d call ‘wrong’ do it for what they call ‘right’ reasons. – Location 5184
  • “But time burns away behind us, leaving only ash and memory. – Location 6080
  • “I thought I was stronger than I am. I thought I’d rather die than use it. That was a lie. In that moment, I would have done anything to survive. – Location 6188
  • I am now proposing to believe that God—or the universe, or time, or whatever you think controls all of this—is all really just a drunk monkey. – Location 6360
  • “My dear, did you just try to prove the existence of God with your cleavage? – Location 6363
  • “You’d be surprised what a good wriggle of the chest can accomplish. – Location 6364
  • You’ve got color on the inside, so much of it that it bursts out and colors everything around you. – Location 6781
  • Sometimes, you can’t have everything you want, since the wants contradict each other. – Location 6790
  • In a way, it’s the absolute value of emotion that is important, rather than the positive or negative nature of that emotion. – Location 7014
  • lust is one of the most honest of all emotions. – Location 7024
  • the only way to learn was to do. – Location 7266
  • Didn’t you ever stop to think that maybe you were on the wrong side? – Location 7615
  • Yet she was beginning to think that she—along with many others—had taken this belief too far, letting her desire to seem humble become a form of pride itself. She now saw that when her faith had become about clothing instead of people, it had taken a wrong turn. – Location 7956
  • She wanted as much information as she could, and wanted to be prepared for the problems that might come at her. – Location 7963
  • They’re called gods here in Hallandren, but I’d rather call them Spontaneous Sentient BioChromatic Manifestations in a Deceased Host. – Location 8056
  • she had no arrogance of presumed superiority. Real kindness. Real love. Real mercy. – Location 8160
  • had to stop judging people. But was that possible? Wasn’t interaction based, in – Location 8400
  • part, on judgments? A person’s background and attitudes influenced how she responded to them. The answer, then, wasn’t to stop judging. It was to hold those judgments as mutable. – Location 8401
  • Amazing, how good she looks in something like that, he found himself thinking, when she takes the time to respect herself. – Location 8626
  • have you ever known me to make an inflammatorily ridiculous statement without providing an equally ridiculous explanation to substantiate it?” “Of course not, – Location 8658
  • “One could also say that my feet smell like guava fruit,” he said. “Just because one could say it doesn’t mean it’s relevant. – Location 8672
  • By choosing to act, she might fail—and that was so daunting that doing nothing seemed preferable. – Location 9281
  • You want to be competent? she thought. You want to learn to be in control of what goes on around you, rather than just being pushed around? Then you’ll have to learn to deal with failure. – Location 9283
  • He met Lightsong’s eyes. “You are a god. To me, at least. It doesn’t matter how easily you can be killed, how much Breath you have, or how you look. It has to do with who you are and what you mean. – Location 9519

Kindle Highlights from The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Earlier, I mentioned that I kinda wanted to post up the highlights I make in Kindle books. I finished reading The Alchemist a little over a month ago. It was an easy read with a lot of little reminders to not get down on yourself about life, live your dreams and maintain a positive outlook. I liked it and would recommend it for those things :)

Here are my highlights!

The Alchemist – 10th Anniversary Edition by Paulo Coelho

You have 32 highlighted passages Last annotated on June 1, 2014

  • when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Location 322
  • people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of. – Location 328
  • “If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work toward getting it. – Location 353
  • He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have. – Location 384
  • when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises. – Location 387
  • every blessing ignored becomes a curse. – Location 710
  • It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired. – Location 763
  • When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. – Location 830
  • I want each and every one of you to swear by the God you believe in – Location 873
  • intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there. – Location 904
  • word of Allah: people need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want. – Location 928
  • “Everyone has his or her own way of learning things,” he said to himself. “His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we’re both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that. – Location 1020
  • “Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now. – Location 1031
  • when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning. – Location 1133
  • The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes. That’s the way it will be with our love for each other. – Location 1184
  • Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years. – Location 1201
  • If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. – Location 1253
  • Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.” – Location 1255
  • Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense. – Location 1409
  • love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love … the love that speaks the Language of the World. – Location 1463
  • “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving. – Location 1483
  • I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you. – Location 1485
  • Your heart is alive. Keep listening to what it has to say. – Location 1565
  • “You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow. – Location 1578
  • There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. – Location 1729
  • “Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives. – Location 1735
  • “When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you, – Location 1804
  • we contemplate each other, and we want each other, and I give it life and warmth, and it gives me my reason for living. – Location 1826
  • “That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too. – Location 1841
  • when we love, we always strive to become better than we are. – Location 1848
  • ‘Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time. – Location 1910
  • “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it. – Location 1943

Why I Use the Kindle App More than the Actual Kindle

I own a Kindle, but I keep finding that it’s waaaay more convenient to be reading using the Kindle app on my iPhone. The small screen doesn’t bother me, especially now with the retina display. I’ll find myself reading in places that I normally wouldn’t and thus, reading more. For instance, when in a long line at an amusement park. Or PAX! Not exactly times I could imagine carrying my actual Kindle with me, nor should I.

There are two things I absolutely adore about the Kindle (apps or device). One is the dictionary function. Highlight a word, get definition. Donez.

The second is the ability to highlight lines, paragraphs, words, whatever.

You know when you’re reading a book and you come across a great quote? And you want to recall and use it or show it to someone later? I love that the highlight function allows me to do so with so much ease!

Not only can you simply highlight things, but you can color-code them with the app. I use yellow for general quotes I like or want to remember and red for terms or names and their descriptions that will be useful to recall should I need to. And there’s like 4 other colors if I find another category! These can be pulled up on the Notes page directly within the app!

But wait! There’s more! [Insert Billy Maze meme here]

If your chosen reading material was purchased directly from Amazon, you can –wait for it– *GASP* see them all on your Kindle page on Amazon’s website!! There’s no apparent way to export, but you can very easily copy and paste, and even reformat to make it look nicer if you want. I think I’m going to start doing that when I finish books and post the quotes that I liked and/or found meaningful.

So far, the one downside of attempting to use both the app and the actual Kindle is that the highlights don’t seem to sync up. Say I begin a book on my phone, continue it on my Kindle, then go back to my phone. The highlights seem to stay on their respective devices only. Note that I haven’t actually tried this with two -apps- (iPhone/iPad combo). But this was a little disheartening as I wanted to have a complete collection. It’s also another reason that I prefer the app over the kindle itself.

Now don’t get me wrong! I LOVE the Kindle device, and I do wish I could say I use it more. For me, it feels better for dedicated comfy reading time. Like walking to the park or beach and relaxing or out on the couch (when I had an accessible one). But dat app. Annnnywherrrrrrre! And… my highlights!

Snapshots

Thursday looks behind her. Blinded by the wasn’ts and did-nots of yesterday, the dids are left in the shadows. Not gone, just unrecognized, out of focus.

She twists the lens and the unseen becomes visible. The rest blurs into the background. Satisfied, she captures the frame.

Everything is there and nothing is forgotten. The choice of focal point is always at the hands of the artist.

Reminiscing

You do a few things here and there, maybe go a few places. Yet, somehow, feel like you’ve hardly done anything over a long period of time. Probably years. Life’s funny like that.

But when you visit one of these places from the past, the memories come rushing in. The sights, the people, the silence. The time spent there was short, and it’s easier to forget the little things. It makes you wonder, is this really the same life?

Treasure Hunt

The sun casts no shadows at high noon. At a short distance, the mouth of a cave stood wide open. The cool darkness was a welcoming thought and, before I knew it, my feet had dragged my heavy body to it’s mouth.

The walls were smooth to the touch and emitted an aura of wet, cool air. I felt the heat of my body dissipate into rock the instant I rest my back upon it. Relief and rejuvenation came shortly after.

“Where does this cave lead?” I wondered, and again, without a second thought, my wandering feet took me deeper. The light at the mouth grew smaller behind me and the cave darker in front of me. My right hand pressed against the smooth rock which became course and dusty as I progressed. The light was but a pinprick now and only pitch black remained ahead. Still, I continued, until the light was no more.

“Hello?” I said, and “Hello?” I heard back. The echo of my hesitant voice resonated, hollow, back to me and I knew there was so much more to be seen. I took a deep breath and turned around. This time, my left hand traced the wall and guided me back the way I came.

The sun’s shift gave back my shadow and the heat was not so intense. I stood for a moment, looking back at the dark cave from where I had just come.

“I bet there’s treasure in there, just waiting to be found!” Her voice startled me. I thought I was alone. Curious and eager with a hint of excitement, she held up a flashlight.

“What are we waiting for?” I replied.

WTF Was 2013?

2013 was… Interesting.

Disclaimer: This year wasn’t all bad news. I learned things, made new friends, tried new things, made some cool stuff, went a couple places, got on TV, decided on a few healthy lifestyle changes, and connected with others. However, I AM going to focus on the things that led to my current state of being. I do not seek sympathy nor praise. This is simply a reflection. You have been fairly warned.

I began the year one month in, ending the relationship that was stressful and no longer making me happy. It was a good move for me, and I don’t regret the decision. I was doing all the things I’ve wanted to try. Piano class, dance class, playing softball, doing freelance web administration and continuing self-education on whatever struck me at any given moment. It was freeing, productive and I enjoyed every moment! I had a full time job with great coworkers and a great atmosphere.

Over the course of the year, the job was becoming more and more stressful. The trigger, though not noticeable right away, was the departure of my partner-in-crime/party-cube buddy and the fact that her replacement was not in place until four months later.

I quit piano class. My brain would just not function, work day after full work day. I found it difficult to stuff my brain full of quarter notes, eighth notes, ties and slurs. I needed a rest. (Haha)

I lost my grandmother. She was my last living grandparent, and the only one I had any sort of relationship with. As a child, my siblings and my time with her was limited due to other familial issues and pressures preventing us from being as connected with our relatives as all of us would have liked. It was only the recent years that we had been able to visit and make up for the lost time. There is so much I wish I could have learned from and about her before her passing.

Then, my new super cool, foreign, knowledgeable coworker made her departure, too, just three months later. Onboarding had barely begun to pierce the surface of the scope of our team. Again, the responsibility had fallen on me, with little support as our team of two was already spread thin with more and more new projects, and growing presence a department, thrust upon us. All support that was given is appreciated more than I can put into words. Mentally, and work-wise.

I quit dance class. Not only was my brain exhausted at the end of the day, but my whole body found itself falling over itself while attempting single pirouettes and unable to properly retain choreography. It was frustrating. It wasn’t fun anymore.

I went to PAX Prime! Now THIS was an experience of a life time. Making new buddies, being around video games and those who make them possible. New concepts, endless ideas, reiterating my love for games and the industry, reconnecting with old friends, a new city with my kind of weather. I loved EVERY MOMENT. Except the one in which I realized I had to leave.

Being undeniably passionate about something again and being fully immersed in it just to leave it all behind was truly depressing. I started to question my current path in life. Realizing my loves there made me realize how unhappy I really was here. On top of the previous stresses, I was pulled so far into what I called a “life rut.”

Earlier in the year, one of my best friends had moved nearly two hours away. Over time, he had found his place there, and I am more than ecstatic to know that he’s happy. We don’t talk as often and our interests, while common ones exist, are not as similar as they once were.

My other best friend stopped talking to me all together for a time, for reasons I’m still unsure of. Denial of anything inherently wrong and his inability to tell me the whole truth makes me question the friendship we had had all along. This actually hurts. More so than the closure of my romantic relationship at the beginning of the year.

I quit softball. Temporarily. But still. This is saying something. With the exception of two years in high school, I’ve played softball every year, at least one season, since I was five years old. I don’t even need to say anymore.

December 2013 was pivotal. The prospect of another new coworker, who was already familiar with 80% of our processes, finally feeling like my voice had been heard, people willing to listen, and the petitioning of an extremely-overdue reclassification of my position were the most relieving things I had heard all year. Not to mention winter break was approaching.

They say that hindsight is 20/20. I believe it.

It was during this break when I took the time to reflect upon this year that I realize that I did not narrowly escape burnout. I hit it head on. I can’t pinpoint the exact time, but it happened. There were breakdowns in front of those who did not deserve to have to deal with me. You know who you are, and I cannot thank you enough for sticking by me. And I’m also sorry it had to happen.

My social life had taken a plunge off the deep end. The friendship I had left with the breakup, more to a city to two hours away, and the other seemingly just disappeared.

Those who I continue talking to remain scattered across the US and beyond. Most of them I haven’t even met. This concept was strange at first. Truthfully, they are the ones who know the most about what’s been going on with me, and I talk to them the most. Who is to say they are not my friends? I am eternally grateful for their company, laughs, random messages in the middle of the night, silly gossip, support they’ve shown, collaboration and teamwork in various games and projects, trust they’ve shown, inside jokes and all the digital hugs. Without them, I really would be alone. I’m so glad I’m not.

But what really happened here? The simple answer is that I let work become my life.

Work wasn’t good. Therefore, life became not good.

For a time, I was looking for new work, but I didn’t even have the energy to properly do that.

With more support than I had initially realized, made clear by certain work exercises, the best coworkers ever and the most outstanding supervisor backed by the rest of the chain of command, a renewed confidence has recently been sparked. That spark at the end of this dark tunnel that was 2013 has given me the “it’s getting better” vibes.

Now that the work factor was out of the way, I could finally think about me again. To try and figure out what the fuck happened. All of this was what I came up with.

I suffered burnout and breakdowns, and I’m sure a dash of depression is existent here, too, though not clinically diagnosed. But I am recovering. Not there yet…but recovering. I feel it, and I want it.

Conveniently coinciding with the new year, there are things I want to do differently this year:

Love my job again. Be the difference. Stand up for what I believe in. Share the knowledge.

Stop making excuses for myself to say “no” to adventures and opportunities. Adventure is out there.

Make new connections. Rekindle old ones. Let them know they’re appreciated. Keep in touch.

Make. Craft more. Cook more. Build more. Design more. Code more. Photograph more. And show it off.

Consume what I enjoy. Books, games, movies, tv. Without shame.

Learn from mistakes. Don’t get down on myself for not accomplishing exactly what it was that I had set out to do. It is NOT a failure if I tried my best.

Strive to be the difference. Everyday.

Doing these things will ensure that I meet the main goal:

Be proud of myself and my life again.

Ready, set, Mew.