My day job versus my passion

When I was younger I had a mother that encouraged me to participate in every single sport one can imagine. I experienced a year of soccer, a year of basketball, swimming, volleyball, biking, violin playing, chess, and finally baseball. I tried them all, and while I can’t say I hated them all, I didn’t find any fire, soul, energy, will, or passion in them. I actually put my foot down and insisted baseball was the last one after getting slugged in the stomach. No, I’m not a quitter, but the air being knocked out of me for what seemed like an eternity got me thinking about what I liked and didn’t like, and who I didn’t want to be in the future.

After awhile her energies focused on the academic drive. I was sent to bible school to learn about religion and how it intertwined with my education at the public school, forced to attend certain classes at the school in order to get an even more rounded education than the school was already putting on me. As the years passed, I saw kids passing by me with goals, and that fire, soul, energy, will, and passion. You could pick out those that were going somewhere, and most definitely pick out those that were taking the fast track backwards.

I was somewhere in the middle. I certainly wasn’t a troublemaker (although my friends tell me that during Kindergarten I choked a chicken to death, and I mean literally…), but I also didn’t have any fire, soul, energy, will, or passion inside of me, or so I thought at the time. What I didn’t realize is that passion was standing me right in the face, everywhere I went. I couldn’t get away from it. Its power over me was so daunting and so close, that I didn’t realize what it truly was. That distant, yet close relationship with my passion began to change when I entered college.

College was a time of exploration beyond what my parents confined me to do. After getting a chance to work several jobs near my home, dabble in creative elements that I chose for myself, nothing really manifested as an obvious passion. However, what did manifest itself was the fact that my true passion was already there, and simply waiting for me to push aside all of the debris that was in the way of identifying it. And after twenty eight years of existence, I have finally been working towards that passion, which is found to be in game development.

Yawn, stretch, snooze… Who cares about those unimportant toys, right? “You should get a good job, a steady job, work for the rest of your life in a place that ensures you can retire happily knowing someone is wiping your ass for you instead of having to do it for yourself.” My dad said to me once, more or less in that way. It took my mother five years to understand that I wasn’t simply hiding in the basement wasting my time playing computer games, but was actually working online through a company that reported about computer games. “Sorry mom, I’m working right now”, as I watched a blank stare cross her face.

My day job is my passion. How many people in the world have that kind of luxury? Yet here I am, typing in my weekly blog, getting ready for the Penny Arcade Expo 2008 (PAX), and thinking about flying off to Europe in a month or two to see what the European side of the game industry is all about. I’ve already touched upon the Asian industry after spending a year teaching English in China.

I want to see the whole world and understand the passion that hides in the minds of developers and how it manifests itself as 1’s and 0’s on a computer. And most importantly, how I can fit in and work together in a team to show my mother that fire, soul, energy, will, and passion, when present, are to be respected and cared for over simple security. Without these things, what is the point of having any security at all?

The game industry is my security. And I have my mother and family to thank for supporting me on a path that has led to it, despite their initial expectations. I couldn't have done it without them.

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