The Balance

  • Pitcrew

    It's something that I know more than just myself deal with. The CEO at my work calls it 'the work/life balance', but I know he didn't coin the term, but I hear him use it most often. In this case, I would call it the 'work/life/RP balance'.

    And it's just becoming more and more obvious that I'm ignoring a question that's been sitting in the back of my mind since I started my current job back in November of 2017. And that's if I no longer have the time to RP. Or at least do something with constructive meaning. I look at my hours that I work, and while it's no longer the graveyard shift, it's still not fantastic hours. And I'm not one of you blessed few that are able to RP from work(and part of me is is jealous/petty of the ones that can).

    I'm left an impasse. Because I see often things passing me by and I just become apathetic. The desire to give a shit about anything that happens on any particular game I play on is at an all-time low because I'm never there to really enjoy it. I have a job, work friendships, family relationships and other things that more often than not I'd rather do than sit behind my computer and RP. That doesn't take away from the fact that I still enjoy when I can, but given the choice, I'll more likely to take interaction with a couple of friends like the DnD game I run every Sunday.

    I don't know how many others felt this same frustration, that they can't ever get RP or get anything done with meaning or value(which, value and meaning are completely subjective to what one considers 'value' or meaning'). The suggestion that maybe it's just time to stop RPing simply because you don't have time for it anymore, because life is just getting in the way of being able to devote time to it. And when you can devote time to it, it's usually during hours where very little happens. So anything important you want to be apart of you're most likely going to have to be okay with the fact that you're just never going to be around for it.

    I guess what I'm looking for is advice on trying create a better balance and thus far I haven't found many good answers. Or maybe that right now in my life, I don't have time for mushing. Which isn't exactly the answer I want, and I'd rather look for better options before I take that avenue.

  • The only value a hobby should have is if you're enjoying doing it. Anything else is a bonus.

  • I'm having a hard time getting any RP as well, not for lack of opportunity or partners, but because my health and energy are bad and taking over the aidecare is wearing me out.

    I often feel like stuff is passing me by, and it's depressing.

    OTOH, it will improve at some point, so I hang around.

  • Pitcrew

    It so depends on the game. I really can't RP at work either, and it is very VERY hard for me to be able to do spontaneous RP. I work a grunt job, where my schedule is very unpredictable. It's also a very physically demanding job and occasionally very emotionally taxing also. So there are a lot of days that I can log in to chat or whatever but I am literally exhausted.

    It takes awhile for me to build up my base of people and connections that let me feel involved and happy/satisfied because I do need a lot of support to do so (on the plus side I think I do a good job of supporting others as they try to do the same!).

    I have also had to adjust what it takes to make me feel happy/satisfied. I am never going to be in the cool kids club. I am never going to be one of the super active knows everything large and in charge people or in the groups of those people. That used to bug me a lot, since I am a hard worker and in RL I often am pulled in to leading people/settling into those roles, so it's something comforting and familiar. But if I try to do that online with the time I have not only do I drive myself crazy, I also drive other people around me crazy and have a high chance of being too moody/needy/bummed to make interacting with me fun at all. I mean I do have people in my life/mushlife who can and do reality check me/care about me/give me a kick in the ass so I can reset. But I don't like being that way. So I've had to learn to just whine (and tell the person I would like to whine) with people I know for a little while and move on.

    I have found that a surprising number of people are very responsive to "I would really like to RP about X/get Y done, but my time lately has been really tight. Is it okay if we start a scene not at the entrance where everyone is just coming in/exchanging pleasantries/ect and maybe just make the basic details of that in the scene setting poses, and get right into the meat of things?" It's no different than like if you want to get some relationship RP in but you don't want to TS, so you ask to fast forward or start the scene in the aftermath. You can carve sometimes more than an hour off of a meeting scene or an important RP moment scene by mutual agreement to cull the RPing through every single moment of arrival/getting settled/ect.

    Finding people who enjoy message RP is good too, if you enjoy that (it's okay if you don't, I find it's hit or miss for me personally too.). Sometimes I've asked people if they don't mind sending an IC message summarizing for me what has happened (if I know they like writing that stuff). I will admit I do a lot more gdocs RP than I used to.

    I don't know if any of that would help you (and I bet you have already tried a lot of that). Sometimes it really does help to find your tribe of fellow "can't sit for 4+ hours for a live scene or do that more than 1 time a week" RPers.

  • @mietze said in The Balance:

    It so depends on the game.


    When you feel you want to do something, you want to make sure it is worthwhile. The game you choose to play on will make you feel more comfortable about putting it down and coming back when you can.

    Not like fucking AC: Odyssey: I love you, baby, but after I put you down I really don't feel like playing with you again unless I've had a few, goddamn, it's like you're the last-ditch booty call on my list of things I'd do, which includes rubbing one out before bedtime.

  • Pitcrew

    I have some of those problems myself -- not so much that I can't RP enough, but that my RP has to come at times that are awkward for anyone not in the Pacific time zone. I've found that web portal RP in Ares works pretty well, and is great for slow scenes that can still have import without being as pressing.

    It does still mean missing out on events most of the time, and I get frustrated by that at times myself. I feel your pain, and I don't really have a great answer for you.

  • I've felt the same. MUSHing is a fast-paced, time-intensive hobby; no two ways about it. I've taken breaks from the hobby before, because I just didn't have the right blocks of time at the right times of day to RP effectively.

    It was my hope that the Ares scene system would enable more organic "slow RP" as @Seraphim73 describes. Not because I want to supplant the "live" MUSH scenes we're all used to, but as an alternative for folks like us who don't want to leave MUSHing but just need a little more flexibility in our RP. Some people use Google Docs for the same. As Seraphim mentioned, it still leaves you out of big events and stuff, which can be frustrating, but it's something?

    I've also played around with Storium RP. The pace is slow - sometimes maddeningly slow - and the quality is very hit-or-miss depending on the players. But it's much more friendly to wacky schedules and limited time.

  • I've been struggling with this very thing. I love RPing and I love this hobby but I also have a job, friends, a wife, and other shit that I do. So what I've done is I've set aside MU nights(Sunday and Tuesday) just for RPing a few hours at night or during the day. If I get more in during the week, great, but if not I have those two nights scratched out to have fun.

  • @faraday said in The Balance:

    I've also played around with Storium RP. The pace is slow - sometimes maddeningly slow - and the quality is very hit-or-miss depending on the players. But it's much more friendly to wacky schedules and limited time.

    I tried RoleGate recently because YAY D&D I CAN FINALLY TRY 5th EDITION... it lasted a bit longer than any Storium game I've tried, but it still died off.

    The second game I tried, I got my character made aaaaaand that was it.

    I haven't tried any others yet.

    In theory I have more 'free time' than other people (due to the lack of an SO or kids), but my schedule itself is so weird and my job so often changes it up that I find it next to impossible to really ever commit to anything or schedule scenes. I see +events a lot and I'm usually like 'Welp. I'll go......if I can.' I fear even signing up since I usually don't know until day of (or even 'hour of') if I can since almost everything happens during work hours and sometimes I can slow!RP, sometimes I can't.

  • @auspice said in The Balance:

    I see +events a lot and I'm usually like 'Welp. I'll go......if I can.'

    I'm the same, though usually it's a matter of "If I remember to get up at six am on a Sunday..."

  • Pitcrew

    @tinuviel I used to try that stuff but these days I just don't. I'm not getting up even earlier than when I'd be getting up for work, on a non work day.

  • @livia Eh. Six am is a lie-in for me.

  • Pitcrew

    @tinuviel Well that just sounds awful!

  • @faraday said in The Balance:

    It was my hope that the Ares scene system would enable more organic "slow RP" as @Seraphim73 describes. Not because I want to supplant the "live" MUSH scenes we're all used to, but as an alternative for folks like us who don't want to leave MUSHing but just need a little more flexibility in our RP.

    FWIW, the early response to this on Spirit Lake seems pretty positive. People seem to be taking advantage of the webportal to do slower-paced scenes that accommodate the US work-day more, and it feels like it's easier for people in off timezones to connect (with some planning). I'm excited about the possibilities since, even though I still MUSH pretty actively, my availability is pretty confined to certain hours. Feels like this opens it up a bit.

  • Pitcrew

    On an invite-only site that I play on, we use the MUSH primarily for planning, chat, and such -- the majority of RP is actually done in google docs, which result in scenes lasting for days rather than hours but we're all family/work people these days so we don't usually have time for long live scenes. We do them occasionall, but schedules conflict often.

  • Pitcrew

    We used to use a close Google plus community for rp from work. Could take days..

  • Pitcrew

    I used to be able to MU from work, for almost 2 decades. Sadly this current position I am in, while technically I can use duckClient or something to get out to a MU (i've done it once or twice for 5 mintue bursts), I don't think I can pull it off for the long haul. They block all sorts of websites and I don't know how diligently they check things so I just don't risk it.

    Sadly, I came to the realization not to long ago that it is MUing during work that not only helped me be productive (I used it as a 'goal' for my ADD rattled brain to get things done so I could pose, etc) but it also helped me keep my sanity. I now try to fill that void by coming here and or checking news sites (the ones I can get to anyway).

  • Pitcrew

    I've been thinking about this thread a lot lately. I find myself in a situation where I want to get involved in game things again after a stretch of being away, but I still need to be careful about stretching myself too thin. The difficulty for me is mostly this:

    @Testament said in The Balance:

    or get anything done with meaning or value(which, value and meaning are completely subjective to what one considers 'value' or meaning').

    What draws me to RP in the first place are those meaty, granular character arcs with deep and nuanced complexity in them. It's something that can happen in isolation (I'm playing some backstory stuff on the side with some folks, and although it's just the two of us the story has been phenomenal), but usually doesn't. Most of the time, the really interesting twists and turns come from characters colliding and bouncing off of happenings out in the world -- public events that feed into 'private' character beats in unexpected ways.

    Having that means engaging with things in meaningful ways, and meaning is hard to one-shot. On top of that, I then worry that extricating myself to disappear for some substantial stretch (say, weeks) will leave other people in the lurch, story-wise.

    It's certainly fair (and definitely a good idea) to warn people that this is your situation, as @mietze points out, and I'm sure good people will understand...but I'm definitely sympathetic to the feeling that it might still be a struggle to find a satisfying balance, depending on what it is that motivates a person to RP in the first place...and, of course, it's always hard to get invested in a story and have to let it go because outside factors make it unworkable.

    I guess where I'm landing on it lately (for myself) is, 'I'm going to try this and see how it goes.' Finding people who jive with those needs is definitely possible. Not something you can directly control, but also definitely not something that will happen without looking.

  • Pitcrew

    I've argued with myself on this many times over the years; usually beginning with the question of 'why am I still doing this'. Like I do with most things, I've gone through internalized rants of self-justification and reasoning/denial and what have you; but only within the last year or so have I managed to distill it down to a simple and, at least for me, undeniable form

    There are exactly two types of things in life - the things you do because you have to, and the things you do because you want to. Sometimes a thing can be both of these, but the distinction is only one way. That is, it's fine if it's something that you have to do, which you also want to do <like a job that you love>. There is never any good reason for something that you want to do turning into something that you have to do; gaming is, always has been, and never should be otherwise a thing that you want to do. If it - any aspect of it - becomes something that you feel you have to do, then it's time to re-evaluate.

  • I am not playing anywhere at all right now and have not been for a while. I am looking at jumping into The Stack but am currently in a stressed limbo status where I am about to move and start a new job so I have no idea what my schedule is going to look like in a month's time.

    So I play computer games if I have a free evening instead.

Log in to reply