Monday, April 15, 2019

Survival Mode

A friend recently asked me, “Why did you stop writing?”

Well, that’s a good question. I thought about it and came up with this answer: Because I’ve been playing in Survival Mode for 10 years.

My younger kids play Minecraft now and then. If you’re unfamiliar, in the most basic terms, it’s a video game wherein you can build things. Minecraft can be played in different modes. In Creative Mode, for example, you have unlimited resources. You can build anything you want from the bottomless stash of supplies. In Creative Mode, you don’t have to worry about eating, sleeping, or keeping up your health because you cannot die. In Creative Mode you can fly. You can literally fly.

Then there’s Survival Mode. In Survival Mode, you have to work for all your supplies. You have to mine minerals with a pickaxe. You have to plant vegetables and raise animals for food in order to stay alive. Creatures like Creepers and Zombies, Spiders, Endermen, Witches, and Withers will kill you. You cannot fly. Your mission is to stay alive which can be challenging. For example, you’re trying to plant corn like a good little farmer so you’ll have food for the winter when BLAM! A Skeleton attacks you! Or maybe you’re in a cave chipping away at rocks to find diamonds and BOO! A Ghast attacks you! This is Survival Mode.

To illustrate this point, I asked my kids to teach me how to play Minecraft. That conversation went like this:

MOM:  Will you teach me how to play Minecraft? It's for a blog post.

CLAY:  suurrrre it is
CLAY:  i know you just want to play
CLAY: it's okay your secret is safe with me

So I played for 45 minutes in Creative Mode. This is what I accomplished. I built a little house. My kids think it's lame, but let's remember that I had no idea what I was doing so it took me a ridiculously long time to figure out how to even do basic things like walk.

Inside my house there is a floor, some lights, windows, a bed, and a couch and table.

It has a bed right next to the front door because I'm an expert at designing houses.

It has a miniature floating chair because I have no idea what I'm doing. I cannot, for the life of me, even tell you how on earth I managed to create a tiny floating chair.

And then I played for 45 minutes in Survival Mode. This is what happened.

I died. Apparently you can't swim in lava.

And then I died again. Because apparently you can't swim underwater indefinitely without coming up for air.

I'm not sure what I did to make a chicken fall in love with me. I thought I was kicking it away, but apparently I threw some grass seed at it or something. This game is weird.

Here's a tree. You have to chop them down in order to get wood so you can build a house.

 At the end of 45 minutes of play, here's what I accomplished in Survival Mode. This is my house:

Here's another angle of my house. Some people (my kids) claim this is not actually a house, but just a wall. I say - whatever.

As you can see, it's a little hard to accomplish what you'd like when you're just trying to survive every day. I’ve been operating in Survival Mode for the past 10 years. Blinders on, focused on the moment, playing triage every day. Clay gets over the flu, but Lexi gets sick. I get my income tax refund, but my car breaks down. I make it to Clay’s lacrosse game, but miss Lexi’s water polo game. I get caught up on laundry, but realize there are dishes in the sink piled to the ceiling. I actually make it to work on time, but have to turn around and head home to pick up a sick kid who’s puking at school. I come up with the money to pay Brooklyn’s cheer competition fees, but get hit with NJHS fees. I worry about the kids, the kid who struggled with drugs, the kid who has struggled with depression, the kid who suffers with anxiety. I push down the guilt when I can't make it to a band concert. I shove away the guilt when I miss work. I deal and try to be there for everyone. I try to take care of everyone. I attempt to be mom and dad, breadwinner and homemaker, cheerleader, nurse, and teacher. I get sick and keep going because there’s no one to bring me orange juice or pick kids up for me or make dinner. I talk to myself because there’s no one else to run things by, no one  to commiserate with, no one to simply talk to. Survival Mode.

And it's hard being creative when you’re stuck in Survival Mode. It’s hard finding the funny twist on the mundane when you’re consumed with just surviving. There are many days when I’d like to tell a funny story, but I’m too busy fighting off Endermen and chopping down trees and throwing seeds at chickens to type it out. 


Ernie said...

Honestly, I have six kids and my husband works WAY TOO MUCH but he is still someone to talk to (OK so he is excellent at selective hearing, but there are times when I make him listen) and he is a good dad and he takes the garbage out and he makes the kids do shit when I reach the end of my rope- so I have no idea how you manage solo. Survival mode sucks and I totally believe it would kill your ability to find humor in all things. I knew nothing about minecraft. Great analogy. Glad you are writing again!

Susan said...

Wow, this is the perfect way to describe survival mode in real life and I know it too well. I love your writing and wish the best to you and your beautiful family!

OneWritingMomma said...

There are more of us in survival mode than there should be. So widh I could ahead just a little bit.

Sharlyn said...

My survival mode experience has been different than yours, and yet here I am. Thank you for being so honest, I sincerely hope that you get to play in creative mode more often. Hugs from Idaho 🤗

LLL said...

Hugs! I think a lot of us are in survival mode, but with different circumstances weighing us down. I'm sorry you're going through this, and hope you can get back to creative mode soon! Hang in there Mama! (and seriously, this is the best analogy of parenting I've seen!!!)

Vanessence7 said...

*hugs* Survival mode sucks, I know. I hope you get to live in Creative mode soon. <3

Cindy said...

Ten years of survival mode doesn't sound fun at all. I hope you get to change to creative mode very soon!

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