The content on this blog is my personal opinion and does not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the US Navy in any way.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Liberty Call

... so it's time to go hide in my stateroom and play computer games.

No, really. We're in Thailand and I couldn't care less. I'd rather explore my virtual worlds then go out to the beach. And I get a lot of questions about why that is.

Well... like the vast majority of the human race, I need to burn off stress every once in a while. And I prefer to do that by playing video games, just like everyone else has their own ways to relax. This is part of what makes me an introvert, as opposed to more extroverted people who can relax by going and hanging out with friends. I don't think that's always a bad thing, and I've been trying to stop feeling guilty about spending my time how I want to, even if it does mean I don't hang out with my friends all the time.

"But don't you want to pet a tiger/ride an elephant/eat some Thai food?" is usually the next thing I get asked.

No, I don't.

More specifically... I do enjoy new experiences, and I can be quite eager to seek them out. The problem is that, as a method to relax, it doesn't work very well. I need to find local money, find the places where I can do these things, make sure to avoid dangerous areas, and make sure I can get back to the ship before my liberty expires. I can try and get my friends to make all these plans instead, but finding a group of friends with a plan that I'm willing to go along with can be a very long struggle all by itself. And worrying about all those things is a source of more stress, not less. So getting those new experiences occasionally has been, and sometimes will be, subordinated to my desire to relax by doing nothing stressful.

Do I worry too much? For that matter, is it sometimes worth it? Probably, and yes. Things rarely actually go as bad as my cynicism says they will, and I've had some evenings spent with my friends that were extremely enjoyable. But when my stress level has climbed high enough, and my ability to tell the worst voices in my head to shut up has gotten low enough, I'm not going to take that chance. I'm going to go with something that I know works. (Well. Has a much higher chance at working, at least...) Particularly since said inability to stop worrying about such things has, in the past, been what made the difference between a potentially fun evening and a late return home, in a very unsatisfied/depressed mood, with no time left to fix my mood and still get the amount of sleep I need.

 If anyone wants to call me boring because of that, then that's a problem with them, not me... Is what I'm getting better at telling myself. Still can't quite shake the feeling that I'm playing Elsa from Frozen with all this, though.

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