Happy New Year! One year closes and another begins, it’s traditionally the time we set our goals, our intention, what we plan to accomplish. I’m finding that especially difficult at the moment, because I have a ton of options, and the unrelenting belief that I could happily live out any one of them.
This “good problem to have” is still a problem. I want to begin, to get in motion, to be on the path to my goals, but I know my life can go in any direction I imagine. When you feel that way, sometimes it can be hard to get started. I believe it’s called the paradox of choice (or I might have made that up but anyway, cool term.) When we have no options, we often don’t consider other options, and we go about our merry way. The alternative of considering other paths and comparing our lives to others can bring on depression because we’re judging, being ungrateful for our actual situation, and creating separation from ourselves and happiness. The mental solution is acceptance of what is.
However, when you DO have a great many options, and the full well knowledge they are possible, there is an inherent struggle that takes place. Life is beautiful and I can make it anything I can dream of, but I don’t have forever to live. I don’t know if I get to do it over again. There’s no rewind button. So I can do anything, but I can think of a great many things! All this opportunity can become paralyzing. I suppose the trick is to focus on whatever you are doing and don’t worry about what you aren’t, but don’t we all have ADD these days? The real paradox is that we don’t want to miss out on anything, but by being distracted by what we aren’t doing or could be doing, we end up missing out on the greater depths of what is right in front of us.
At about 9:53pm PST on 12/30/12 I reached my goal of Supernova Elite on PokerStars. It was pretty anticlimactic; I had about 23 hours to spare, and since I use Table Ninja to auto-close popups, I just glanced over at the lobby and saw that my status-bar had ticked over from red to black. I remember my first thought clearly “I’m done. Now what?”
I had envisioned pushing away from my computer in a blaze of glory, pouring shots, calling up my friends to find out where we were partying that night, getting ready to celebrate. Sadly, that’s not exactly how it happened. Apparently the world somehow doesn’t revolve around me, and Sunday night before NYE isn’t exactly a great night to party, especially if it’s the first night you’ve called up friends for a night out in months. I had one table left on my screen and I drastically needed something to do when it finished.
As I sat there clicking through seemingly the longest Heads Up match with a fish in $500 6max SNG history I was trying to figure out my night with not much luck. I went into settings and flicked on “display my VIP stars” and boom, the 6 black stars I’d worked so hard for appeared across my little DrunkLife avatar, a sight I probably pictured for the first time while one-tabling a $5 reg-speed 9man back in 2008. I hoped this would make me feel some overwhelming sense of satisfaction, like my life would just immediately become a joy to breathe, no such luck.
As I get ready to spend my second consecutive Christmas away from home, just me and my sitngoes, something my mom said to me recently has been bouncing around my thoughts. She said:
“James, you know you sacrifice a lot for poker. Most people wouldn’t give up the things that you have.”
I guess I always knew I sacrifice a lot, after all it’s the mindset I learned from wrestling. If you wanna be the best, you gotta do more than all the people you’re competing against. It’s just weird to hear someone point it out like it’s so unusual. Honestly, I don’t know any other way to be. To want something and to not sacrifice whatever need be to make it happen just doesn’t make sense to me.
It’s been almost one full year since I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. That decision was to pack up and sell off basically all of my worldly possessions, leave my home in Las Vegas where I had 7 roommates and was constantly surrounded by some of my best friends, and travel to Australia, where I knew no one, in the hopes of continuing my career as an online poker player. It’s a very strange feeling to get to a point in life where you think you’re secure, you think the hardest times are behind you, you’ll never have to worry about money again, and then you find yourself couch-surfing off the coast of Australia. Less than one year ago, October 2011, I was sleeping in a stranger’s living room on another continent bigger than the US in which I knew literally one person. I swear October 2010 I was getting bottle service at Surrender while dressed as Justin Bieber’s BFF for Halloween. What a difference a year makes.