Geek alert: Steve Kamb has written a great, fun book called Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story. While I’m not a gamer myself (unless you count Words With Friends), I was inspired by the model and it has my mind buzzing with ideas. This approach may be a better fit for many people than the New Year’s Resolution model that I’ve been using.
Kamb was a hardcore, impassioned video game player. He decided to treat himself as a character and level himself up instead of some electronic avatar. He set out to learn to play some musical instruments, travel the world, put on muscle, build his own business, and of course write this book. One of his fantasy role models is Jason Bourne. Why watch the movie when you can be that guy?
The great part of this concept is that you can choose what type of character you want to be and build quests that interest you personally. Level Up Your Life includes a dozen or so Rebel Hero Spotlights, profiles of members of his website who have designed their own adventures. They include geeks, introverts, and others who never felt a natural fit at the gym or in group classes. Their missions are all so distinct and individual that it’s easy to imagine how your own unique fascination could fit in there.
At the time this posts, I’ll be in a foreign country, preparing to push myself and speak to someone in a new language. The first and last day of the trip happen to be in different countries than the main trip, so I will actually have opportunities to use basic phrases in three languages I have studied! This scares the [choose your own expletive] out of me. Speaking to people is one of the main points of learning a language, though, so it would be pretty silly to let cowardice deprive me of the chance to fulfill my quest. I’ve always been open and patient when talking to non-native speakers of my language, and I see it as pleasant and interesting. Even if my interlocutors don’t see it the same way when they listen to me butcher their language, chances are high that I’ll never meet them again. All I’m risking is a few seconds here and there of awkwardness. I’m awkward for at least a few seconds every day, right? It’s funny that traveling to a foreign country, living in a tent for over two weeks, and carrying everything on my back no longer intimidates me at all, but talking to a stranger still does.
I wish I’d read Level Up Your Life sooner. Where was this book ten years ago?? I’ve been playing around with this idea of learning to be “spies,” complete with having a secret code and learning to escape from a locked trunk. I’ll have to wave this book at my husband and see if he’ll go for it. If that doesn’t catch his interest, I guess it’s back to being regular old superheroes. *sigh*
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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