In 2024, I've decided to embark on a monumental journey. No, I'm not talking about scaling actual mountains, although that would certainly be an adventure. I'm referring to conquering two towering challenges lurking in my backlog—two behemoths that have loomed over me like Mount Everest.

The first one is a book. Ah, Infinite Jest, the 1000-plus page novel by David Foster Wallace. I acquired this literary masterpiece back in 2012, yet I've struggled to make significant progress in it over the years. But this will be the year! Determined to conquer it, I've devised a plan. If I read a modest 90 pages per month, I'll triumphantly close the final chapter on New Year's Eve.

Now, let's talk about the second beast in my backlog—the game that has haunted my gaming memories. Bloodborne. Ah, Yharnam, the city of twisted nightmares. I first ventured into its eerie streets in 2017, spending over 50 hours immersed in its dark world. However, I never managed to slay its final challenges. But fear not, for this year, I've hatched a plan to overcome the insurmountable. I shall dedicate 10 hours each month to Bloodborne. With 120 hours of my blood, sweat, and tears, I am confident that victory shall be mine!

This strategy I've adopted has its roots in my past life as a door-to-door pest control salesman back in 2015. You see, in that line of work, you can't control how many people willingly buy pest control from you. Some may already be content with their current service, while others may be irritated by your uninvited visit. But what you can control is your own effort. The key to consistent sales success is to knock on as many doors as humanly possible. If you put in the hours, the results will eventually follow.

Similarly, I've come to accept that I can't magically become a gaming prodigy in Bloodborne. I can't simply will myself to defeat its formidable bosses. However, by committing 120 hours to a game that estimates to take anywhere from 33 to 76 hours to complete, I believe my persistence will triumph over my lack of innate skill.

And you know what? It's actually going pretty well so far! In fact, this approach has inspired me to tackle other games I abandoned in the past due to their difficulty. Take Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, for example—an eccentric masterpiece where a bald man in a pot ascends a mountain of trash using only a sledgehammer. This game has always held a special place in my heart. As a sports reporter, you could often find me playing it during halftime or timeouts. But alas, I never reached the summit. Yet now, armed with determination and my trusty iPhone, I'm ready to conquer it. Maybe I'm not the best at this game, but I can certainly invest time in it. By chipping away at the mountain, even in five-minute increments of my precious free time, I know I will eventually stand triumphant at its peak. After all, I've done it before.

A similar tale unfolds with Downwell, a marvelous mobile roguelike that feels like a vertical version of Spelunky. For years, I adored this game, but I had long accepted that I would never conquer its depths. But one day, I found myself craving a time-waster on my phone, so I reinstalled it. By throwing myself at its challenges repeatedly, I managed to delve deeper and deeper, descending to the lowest point in its treacherous descent.

The lesson is crystal clear: anything worth achieving takes time and effort. Whether you're scaling a literal mountain or diving to the darkest depths of a virtual well. But if you commit the hours, if you persist in the face of adversity, you'll discover the exhilaration of triumph. So, my fellow adventurers, let's embrace our backlogs, our literary Everest and gaming Yharnam, and conquer them with unwavering persistence. The rewards await us at the summit, and the thrill of victory shall be our cherished prize. Onward, brave souls, to conquer the mountains that lie before us!

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