The Struggle of the Grown-Up Gamer

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Growing up. We thought it’d mean staying up all night gaming and unlimited funds to buy games. It didn’t…

On the one hand, growing up is a blessing.  You can stay up as late as you want to, watch gore filled horror movies, eat cake for breakfast without being told off, drink, drive, and drink and dr-don’t.

On the other hand, growing up also brings responsibilities, obligations, and commitments.  Some have relationships, children, cars and houses, which in most cases requires having a job to support a reasonable standard of living.

Working, family, friends; they all take time, which means they all take time away from hobbies and interests.

I’ve been a gamer since before I could ride a bike.  I was gifted an Atari 2600 JR as a hand-me-down birthday present and, from that moment, I was hooked.  The games were simple, but they fuelled the fire that still burns today.

From the Atari, I moved onto the Sega Master System 2.  There I sat in my Power Ranger pajamas playing Sonic the Hedgehog on a black and white TV the size of an average four bedroom house, regretting absolutely nothing about the hours passing by.  And when I finally got a color TV and realized that, OMG, Sonic is really BLUE in the game?!  Mind blown.

We’re obviously a few decades on from those moments, but I still cherish them.  The problem is, I don’t have much time to reflect on them these days.

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I’ll be 31 this year.  I have a beautiful wife, a wonderful daughter, we rent a lovely home, we own an average but mostly reliable car.  Life is good, but time is limited.

I work a decent job but, as many grown-up gamers living a similar existence to me may also be experiencing, there is rarely the time to spend doing “Me” things.  In my teens, I could spend 4-5 hours making a hip hop beat then dive into a 3 hour GTA session without a hint of remorse.  These days even an hour or two of gaming once a week feels like I am cheating my loved ones out of the family time they deserve.

We’ve all seen the memes with messages to the effect of “Got a job to buy games, too busy working to play” and it really is true.  We lose 10+ hours a day to our employers and commute, and if you stick to the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night (God, I miss those!), then that leaves 1 hour to get ready in the morning and 5 hours in the evening to spend with your family.  Do you want to play that new MMORPG for 3 hours a night?  Okay, sure…but, you might end up sleeping on the couch.  Your call. It depends on the comfort of your couch.

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The fact is, I love my family, and I’d be lost without them.  My wife truly is my best friend (I have to say that, she might read this post!!) and my little girl honestly is such a joy to be around.  I hate being away from them, but it is tough finding a balance between John the worker, John the family man and John.  Just John.

The truth is, being a grown-up gamer sucks, just as being a grown up guitar player sucks, and just as being a grown up ventriloquist sucks – assuming you want to experience the joys of being a loving parent and partner while working a job, that is.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day, which means something has gotta give and, in 90% of cases, it is usually the hobbies that get cut back first.

This is just a fact of life.  I do love my life, but damn…I wish I could win the lottery and get an extra 8 hours of my day back.  Either that or rob a bank.

Hmmm, not the worst idea. I’ll play some GTA to pick up some tips and-oh, wait…time to go to work.

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