Gaming to live, or living to game: that is the question

To apply the message from a recent homily to my life as a gamer is, at first blush, ludicrous and somewhat pathological. However, our priest’s message solidified what has gotten my proverbial shorts in a bunch.

My current level of gaming, or lack thereof, has had me feeling mildly depressed. I enjoy playing games with friends and the jovial atmosphere it creates. I enjoy the banter and the childlike enthusiasm. If I’m being true to myself, I have to also rank highly the feelings of escape from the pressures of the humdrum of everyday life. Engaging a group of friends in playing several different games over the course of many hours (and even days) is an intense experience on a personal level.

Our priest described a religious retreat he was on years ago. The retreat sequestered a group of like-minded individuals for a weekend filled with introspective games, activities, and prayer. The men and women in the group, although hesitant at first, emerged days later changed. Some argued that it changed their lives forever. Many came away with feelings of renewed vigor, euphoria, and the desire to retain that feeling. Most spent the next few days and even weeks trying to push away the intrusions of everyday life in valiant efforts to keep the ‘high’ going. Even years later, several in the group attempt to organize reunions and parties to share old times in the hopes of regaining even a faint shard of the special experience.

The priest mentioned that, at first, he to wanted to retain the ‘moment’. He wanted his life to be that experience. He tried to push away the ‘living’ part of life for the ‘lived’ part of his life. He could tell that his level of happiness was degrading in a vicious cycle of desire for the better times but he wasn’t sure how to correct it. His epiphany came when he realized that instead of spending all his time and energy trying to live his life as a protracted retreat, he had to dissect the retreat into smaller chunks and incorporate each of them into the fabric of his life.

Can you see where I’m going? My monthly game nights with close friends and my semi-monthly gaming with CABS, although not good enough to rank as a ‘religious experience’, are nonetheless very special. I have a good time and I enjoy myself. However, I’m still left with wishing it would have been better. I long for some lost gaming special time and I’ve been expending energy trying to regaining that. Instead, I think I need to relax, live life for what life brings and figure out how best to incorporate smaller, special gaming nuggets into the important aspects of my life like how to be a better father, a better husband, and a better friend.

Gaming is good…but life is better.


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