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I Tried To Discover My ‘Ideal Lifestyle Activities’ During Lockdown

By William Austin

Can I just speak on behalf of everyone and just say how boring lockdown is! 

Well, unless you’re reading this and you’re not in lockdown… in that case can we be friends? I need some during this lockdown period (well actually, I need friends both during and after the lockdown period, but don’t worry about that). I can’t believe how just four weeks of being stuck at home can make me want to go to university after all. But I digress. You see, I’m really bored during this lockdown. And like many university students, I’ve always wondered "What if I didn't have to get a job? What if I could just do the things I wanted to do in life, without worrying about money? What might I do?"

So fortunately for me, 'Debate offered to pay' me encouraged me to look high and low to figure out what activities may exist in this ‘ideal lifestyle’ of mine.

Here is what happened.

Activity #1: Being a Professional Poker Player

In order to find my  ‘ideal lifestyle,’ I’m looking for an activity that is both intellectually stimulating and fun. Hopefully this is it. Normally people view online poker as ‘gambling,’ but I hold more pride in myself. I had previously studied the game for months in 2014 and I’ve amassed decent ‘winnings’ in online poker. Cause I’m ballin’ like that, I am able to play online poker with the ‘big boys’ with my play money chips. After all, I have no less than $115 million play money chips (don’t be jealous). But after spending some extended time learning more about poker, I realised this wasn’t the ‘Ideal lifestyle’ for me. 

To be a ‘professional poker player’ today in 2020 compared to 2014 requires a lot more memorising and robot-like play. Unlike in 2014, artificial intelligence is now so good at no-limit Texas hold 'em that it can beat the best human players in a one-on-one match. It is common for current professional poker players to try to learn from AI and computers by using fancy software like PioSolver. This is causing many professional poker players to play poker in a less creative, more standardised fashion. And because I thrive on creativity, I would find this boring. 

As a rule of thumb to you, my unofficial ‘mentees,’ if you don't think you'll like doing something, you're probably right. So regrettably, I must rule this activity as one that isn't part of my ‘ideal lifestyle.’ Next.

Activity #2: Learning to Play Backgammon Seriously?

I then thought to myself, “Why not learn a new game I haven’t played before?” So I choose to learn backgammon. And because I don’t know better, I’m learning to play backgammon on a kids virtual pet site.  

Backgammon is a strategy game that is part luck, part strategy. Consider it like snakes and ladders, with some actual strategy involved. Sounds like something that might make an ideal lifestyle activity to me. 

I started playing and yes, I enjoyed my time learning how to smash (not that smash) backgammon computers on ‘easy’ mode. But what I didn’t anticipate was how boring it was to read more about the more advanced strategies of the game. Sometimes, I couldn’t tell what was worse: reading the lecture notes that like, nobody reads, or reading backgammon strategy. In other words, studying backgammon was actually not an ‘ideal lifestyle’ activity

Unofficial university mentees, sometimes you won't like certain aspects of an activity. For example, you may enjoy learning psychology at university, but not enjoy waking up for your 8am lectures. It's at such a time I think you need to decide; should I tolerate the pain for the reward at the end?

But I didn't like studying backgammon, so I passed on backgammon. Sorry backgammon, but you're not an ideal lifestyle activity for me.

Activity #3: Learning A Language To Fluency...

I gave learning a new language an attempt, as this was something I was itching to continue on for almost a year. My language of choice was Filipino. I took a year-long break from learning it, and I wanted to jump back into it again.  So to start, I pull out one of my language learning resources and I go to where every intermediate language learner goes to feel good about themselves…The ‘Absolute Beginner’ Section. But after that ego boost, I listen to some more ‘advanced’ material like vlogs and even the news. For some reason, I’m up to the challenge. And after a good amount of time learning again, I realise, I think learning Filipino might be something I’d do full-time in my ‘ideal lifestyle.

You see unofficial mentees, one of the beauties of language learning is that there usually is no set curriculum (unless you're studying a language in university). And this is great because if you get bored, you just simply change your language learning activities. 

The novelty is what made learning Filipino quite interesting for me. And so I recommend, mentees, that if you want to find your "ideal lifestyle" activities, you pick something somewhat flexible.

That is, when one day us university students have the means to achieve our "ideal lifestyle.


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