I think about time a lot.
As I’m looking down the barrel of being 40, it’s something that’s harder to ignore. I think about how old my kids are, how fast they’re growing, and how old I’m going to be when my youngest graduates high school (57, for the record). I think about how long I’ve been at my current job (16 years), how long it’s been since World of Warcraft launched and I met my wife (11 years), and how far removed I am from my college days (17 years) and high school years (22 years).
I also think about what time I’ve spent on different projects and pastimes. I wish I had started a low-carb diet back in 2000 instead of four years ago. I feel a little sad that my first big writing project — a 16-year movie review site — has been all but abandoned. And the other night when I was playing FFXIV and working toward another objective, it made me think of how many games I’ve played over the years and how much time and effort I poured into those characters.
My first gaming blog was a small sporadic thing called Time Well Wasted, which was named after my current World of Warcraft guild. The name was trying to cheekily refer to how MMO gaming is both useful (stress relief, enjoyment, friendships, etc.) and an honest “waste” of time. There’s always something we could have spent doing more productive or lucrative, I’m sure. But it wasn’t just time wasted, it was WELL wasted, which kind of made a difference. It was time wasting (spending) with purpose, trying to undercut the ultimate futility of progression (since all online games will end and those accomplishments will be erased) by yanking something good and useful out of that time.
I don’t want to hobble my personal and professional life with an overabundance of gaming. I hope that I always keep up the good fight of balancing that properly and not letting a hobby become a thing that becomes a master. I also desire to play games with purpose and not out of obligation and routine.
I do think that it’s somewhat heartening to realize that I haven’t “outgrown” being a gamer. After all, the average age of a gamer keeps getting bumped up as the first couple of generations of kids who grew up on games (such as myself) head into middle-age and beyond. If I could go back and tell my teen self that, yes, I was still playing games — and pretty wonderful games at that — when I was 39, even with the trappings of adult life, that would have made me feel a lot better about growing up.