Today, I’m going to take a break from the usual industry-lead articles I write. I’m going to talk about why this blog, and gaming in general, are so important to me.
For me, gaming is a form of escapism. It lets me be someone else for a while so I can forget, put off, or otherwise ignore the world around me for the desired period of time. The same can be said for a lot of mediums – films, art, novels, what have you.
I would argue a certain amount of escapism is a good thing. There are times our brains require an hour or two to concentrate on something else in order to fully digest a situation or complication in our lives. They need to process, to understand and, finally, to solve. Allow me to offer an example from my own life.
Recently, I have had a son. Sam is a wonderful little guy. He has also become my entire world. Not a moment goes by when I don’t think about him, consider him, or dream for him. This has affected my day job in a negative fashion. It has forced me to become what I like to call “selectively creative”. In other words, I have to force myself to be in a space where I can create with my favourite medium: food.
This has lead to some confrontation with my boss and my co-workers as my usual amount of prep and work accomplished has taken a nosedive. I’ve gone from being one of the most reliable employees to a scatter-brained father in the span of five weeks.
I found myself this past week at my wits end. The end of my rope. The veritable extent of my stamina and abilities. I wanted, no, I needed to shut down. And so I did. And it cost me dearly. Monday last was one of the worst days I’ve ever had professionally. Nothing was accomplished, the restaurant languished, and a two good friends suffered because of it. One of them my chef.
In the end, I had a meeting with my boss. He explained he understood where I was coming from. He’d been there himself. As a result, gone are my weeks of 45-50 hours in a five day period. I am now a regular, 40-hours-a-week schmuck and I’ll stay this way ’til my boss is satisfied I can handle the large workload again. He said I needed a break, needed to take time off.
I was devastated.
I got home on Thursday night, thoroughly worn out from my week and glad for the three-day weekend I had acquired. I didn’t even make it to bed. I fell onto my futon, still dressed, and stared at the ceiling until I passed out.
I awoke on Friday in a dreary mood, got up, showered and shaved. I was working on my second coffee when Kim and Sam got up. We got him all bundled up, trundled off to Gramma and Grandpas to visit, and I still sulked.
How could this happen to me? Me?! I’m a work-horse. How could I have stumbled this badly? It left a sour taste in my mouth and made my head pound.
My wife knew what I was going through, certainly. I’d made her aware of it over breakfast and our drive to my parents. And all she could suggest was I relax and take some time do what my boss had said: unwind.
And so I did. When I got home in the evening, I turned on my Xbone and stuck Shadow of Mordor into the drive and attempted to just let it all go. I tried to forget about my mistakes and realize they were in the past. There was nothing I could do except try harder next time.
It wasn’t working, however. I’d already beaten Mordor and wasn’t finding any enjoyment in it. So, I Googled something like “things to do in Mordor” and I came across a suggestion to farm Epic Runes. Certainly I didn’t have all of them yet. And so I did.
I started working some Uruks up the ladder to Warchief, only to strike them and their mind-controlled bodyguards down like some sort of Gondorian angel of death. When I looked up, it was 11 PM. I’d started playing at 6.
And I felt better.
In a “short” space of time, away from the trappings of my every day life, my brain had subconsciously sorted out my issue. The answer was simple: make lists. List making had always kept me on track before and I’d stopped doing it in the preceding weeks. I’d also relaxed. I’d stopped clenching my teeth and hunching my shoulders. Something I hadn’t even realized I’d been doing.
And so, now, with a fresh mind I welcome you back to another week at the Geek Infusion. I am more relaxed now than I have been in weeks. My hobby, which is so decried in media these days, gave me the time away from my everyday life to digest my problems. I came out better for it on the other side. And so I say to you today, “Game on!”
You never know what solutions you may come up with while you aren’t forcing the subject.