When I woke up this morning, I told myself that I probably wasn't going to go to the arcade. I woke up feeling lethargic, stiff, and crampy, but forcing myself to move a little made a world of difference. Now here I am just a few minutes to bedtime, and I know that I am going to sleep like a baby. What a gift it is, to be able to change your mind. By the time the day ended, I decided that I was having a good day and really wanted to see my friends. I reasoned that I had to run to the Lower East Side to pick up my bridesmaid dress anyway, so why not take the train a stop or two downtown to Chinatown?
To sweeten the deal, I stopped by Boba Guys after picking up the dress. They have this seasonal Korean inspired banana milk drink that is now my new obsession. I don't typically like to eat bananas unless they are still green, barely ripened, but they are remarkably potent when I need a boost of energy or I want to boost the healing process for achey or cramped muscles.
The bobarista also let me try a bit of oat milk, and it just might be the one dairy alternative that wins me over. As I put the cup to my lips, I almost expected that it would taste a bit chalky, like a tube of Quaker Oats smells, but it was surprisingly smooth and creamy, with none of the cardboard-like flavor I attribute to almond milk. My only regret was that I bought a small beverage, and that, supposedly, this drink is only available for a limited time! I might have to go back tomorrow at this rate.
Once I arrived at the arcade, it was virtually empty. I waited almost no time at all to hop on the Dance Dance Revolution machine. When I did start playing, I noticed an immediate difference in my ability to play more difficult songs. The game has a numeric system paired with difficulty ratings. It moves from Beginner, Basic (Light), Difficult (Standard), Expert (Heavy), up to Challenge. Typically I get bored with songs rated rated 5 and lower (roughly in the Basic range), with 6 and 7 (between Basic and Difficult) offering a sufficient challenge.
Today was a different experience. Playing songs at level 7 and 8 were no trouble at all. I even tried a few Expert songs and could actually read the arrows. It is an awesome feeling to be in my body and to witness myself achieve mastery. I didn't think it was possible in 2 week intervals, but the difference was as clear as day, even with the feeling of lethargy in my limbs. Two weeks ago, I could barely keep up with songs at level 7. Now I can feel myself get into the flow reasonably well enough that even when I mess up, I can get back in. It's incredible that I was ever ashamed of playing in public.
Mastery is a feeling I want to cultivate in everything I do. It's why I love video games because they are designed to deliver the tight feedback loops that enable conceptual mastery. I think it might also be why I am drawn to code and sometimes struggle with art and design, as they are not as easily quantifiable. I think this is also why I enjoy trying new things. It's a different kind of mastery, one over my senses and biases. I'm really enjoying rediscovering myself recently. I can't wait to see what happens when I do finally take the time to apply it the artsy parts of my life.