Friday, May 13, 2011

Retreat Forward!

The phrase “retreat forward” originally referred to a style of D&D in which the players keep pressing on, deeper and deeper into the action, regardless of consequences. It's not the wisest way to play the game, particularly if one values his character's life, but it's certainly a lot of fun. In the traditional D&D dungeon, the deeper levels contained the most interesting puzzles, the most exciting monsters, and the greatest treasures. “Retreat forward” is about shouldering past the boring orcs so you can get to the good stuff, even if the good stuff might turn you to stone and then blow you up.

I've adapted the spirit of the forward retreat as a kind of tongue-in-cheek life philosophy as well. Sometimes, we all have to do things that we don't want to do, and the only way out is to just go through it. For me, Basic Combat Training was that way. Leaving my family behind for a year while I move to South Korea is a “retreat forward” situation as well. As much as I love what I do, I'm not thrilled to plunge into the relative unknown of a foreign country without my wife and four kids by my side.

This blog is part of how I'm going to cope with the difficulty of being away. South Korea presents an opportunity for me to focus on myself: work a lot of hours, get in better physical shape, work toward a promotion, and hone my writing. I know my personality, though, and I'm the kind of guy who could easily become a hermit, spending my time between shifts cooped up in some lonely corner of my room puttering away at nothing.

To keep me on task, it's important that I give myself a regular schedule; thus, this blog. I don't know yet how often I'll be able to post. My work schedule will dictate how available I actually am. However, I won't let the kobolds and goblins of mundane life keep me from writing at least weekly. The better stuff is at the end of tunnel, dammit, and I'm sprinting right through these traps to get there.

Retreat forward!

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