Sunday, July 6, 2008
Day 183 - "Ooh, we're halfway there...oooohhh, livin' on a prayer..."
Well, here we are. Like some kind of desperate, crazed boomerang I'm on my way back home. One hundred and eighty three days without video games. It's a funny thing to stay, because I fully realize that that status applies to many, many other people. The same way I'm 10,768 days or so without crack cocaine, farm work, dancing at a disco and kidnapping a Chinese baby*.
Some things I've noticed and/or has happened to me:
1) I haven't had a day at any point that I felt would have been a lot better had I spent a lot of it playing video games. Again, an obvious statement, but it's something I'll have to remind myself of in six months. I have to not be doing other, potentially more interesting things in order to play.
2) Having said that, I haven't become the busiest, most exciting person on the planet*. I'm training for a half-marathon, reading a ton more, writing in this very blog, improvising regularly and so forth, but other than that, things are largely unchanged. I think I need to give up video games and win the lottery - then I'm certain things will be a lot more exciting for me.
3) My biggest time waster now? The internets. I have probably increased the amount of time I spend "reading up on" game related news, though not so much so that it literally replaced my gaming time. I think part of me just doesn't want to feel lost come January. I'm subscribed to 3 different gaming podcasts, which I rotate through on a weekly basis. Oh yeah, and my game "To Play" list has grown substantially.
Now, keep in mind it's not games themselves I'm spending all this time reading about, but gaming culture. Every day there are tons of interesting stories that come about from this ever expanding minority of men and yes, women who grew up with controllers in their hands and refused to ever put them down. Sure, some of them are embarrassing to a degree, but at the end of the day, they are my people, and I fully embrace them for all their flaws.
It's also an industry I hope to one day find gainful employment in, so to be clear, it's not like some kind of porn to me. Porn is still porn to me.
4) TV watching has stayed almost exactly the same, if not slightly lower due to the writer's strike. Same with movies - though I have noticed I've been watching a few more netflix lately.
5) I've estimated that I spend approximately $75/mo on games and game related products each month, so I've saved about $450 so far and I'm looking to save about $900 total for the year. That's apparently about what smokers who quit save as well (plus you know, their lungs). That money is going to go towards a nice high definition television come about Christmas time - which will in turn lead to more video game purchases. So you know...that's that.
6) I like NPR. I honestly didn't know what it was about 3 years ago. How about that?
7) I've been to no less than 3 separate parties that have busted out (in some cases, my own) games for everyone to play. And I've had to sit and watch. Or coach, sometimes. Because nothing says I can't coach. Now, while I may groan and roll my eyes at the time - it actually makes me happy to know that gaming has come this far - and it's no longer something people assume is solely for kids, or that you should be ashamed of doing.
8) Del Close was a crazy sumbitch.
9) My "year off" story, combined with my list makes for a great first impression and helps me out in a number of ways. One, I find out if the people I'm meeting are gamers - and if they are, it's an instant kinship. And two, no matter what, even if they thought I was crazy for having played games so much before I decided to give them up, everyone thinks it's noble what I'm doing right now. Which is great. Showing them the double-sided 50+ game list that I always keep in my wallet might take me down a few notches however, as they all slowly realize I'm just a ticking time bomb of overindulgence.
10) And finally, just so we're all clear - I'm still going back to games in January. I never intended to give them up forever, and while these past six months haven't been painful, and I'm certainly getting a lot of new stuff done I might not have gotten done otherwise, gaming is a huge part of my life that isn't going away. I will just have to figure out how to balance the old life with the new life - something anyone whose ever gotten married, had kids, or somewhere during middle age discovered that he has a new step-brother (which would surely to lead to some hilarious antics) would have to figure out as well.
The one thing on my to do list for the year that I haven't gotten to at all yet is cooking, since I've only cooked the three meals I know how to cook (bacon, eggs and toast, quesadillas, and pasta) since January - but when you're running 10-15 miles a week, there's no guilt about that. Post half marathon, I'll be sure to put some effort into it.
And that my friends, is my half year update.
Yeah, but I'd still rather be playing: As SPIDERMAN!!!
*Ok, ok, only 27 days without kidnapping a Chinese baby. I fell off the wagon last month. They're just so gosh darn adorable!
*Believe me, it's as shocking to hear as it is to say.