Type Racer

Of late, I’ve become an increasingly greater fan of this game called “Type Racer“. In case you’re not sure what it is, it’s an online game where you compete against other people to see who can type faster (in real-time, which is really cool).

I used to play these sorts of typing test games all the time previously (back in the early 2000s). I had a goal (to hit 70 words per minute, which I’ve since hit and surpassed), and to hit this goal I practised typing with these games, which were fun but were not really the point. The point was I wanted to hit my typing speed goal.

These days though, these typing test games (or game, since I almost exclusively only play Type Racer) are for me a way of feeling like I’m being productive without really being productive. There is this quote that I once saw (attributed to Albert Einstein) before regarding the act of chopping wood:

People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results.

It is this quote that keeps popping into my head whenever I open up Type Racer and start a race, typing at a speed far beyond what I had once thought I’d type at, and enjoying every minute hour of it. Enjoying it because it feels like productive work; because it feels like I’m doing something. But I’m not.

You see, it feels like productive work because I’m busily typing away. My mind cannot quite differentiate between my typing away because I’m working, and my typing away because I’m playing a typing game. To my mind, the muscle memory that’s been activated to press the keys in front of me mean the same thing: I’m working, and that’s as far as it knows that’s good and deserves a shot of dopamine.

Living in the Future

I tend to live in the future more than I live in the present or the past. I’m constantly thinking about what comes next, and how events will come to transpire.

This tendency of mine is both blessing and curse. It is a blessing because I’m constantly planning ahead: nasty surprises are few and far between, and I’m prepared for most of them when they do, and they do, occur. It is a curse because I’m never fully present in the present, and I tend to miss things that are happening right in front of me because I’m too busy thinking about what the future will hold; which is a pity, because the present was once the future. A future I planned for.

I remember before entering university how excited I was to be going. I read up on all the courses I could join; thought about non-academic interests I might pursue; and worried about making friends, getting the right accommodation, properly managing my finances and all sorts of other things that might worry a young man studying in a foreign land.

When I entered university, most of my thoughts were centered on what I wanted to do when I graduated. Where would I work? What would I work as? Was what I was studying match up to the ideals I had of what I wanted to do after graduation?

I was determined to do well academically, but only because what I was going to be doing after graduation was dependent on my doing well (or so I thought). It wasn’t so much of a “I’m in university and I want to do well,” but rather, a “I want to do well so I can graduate and get a great job”. One treated university as something worthy of pursuit/experience in itself, the other treated it as merely a means to an end.

I had to remind myself all the time that I wanted to savour my time here, lest it be forgotten like all my earlier experiences.

Now that I’m working, I find myself constantly thinking of starting a family; of career progression; of charging toward retirement; and blending my life onto death. Each day I’m just going through the motions, waiting for the next milestone, urging it to come on sooner. it’s almost as if I didn’t want the now to occur, but would rather somehow “fast-forward” my life. Give me the highlights, for that’s all I’m interested in.

Lost in the future and forgetting the now till it becomes the hazy past. The only thing clear in my mind is the future that I’m anticipating. Which is, unfortunately, only a future that exists only in my imagination.