I can’t remember the last time I had a carefree day.
In high school, I was swamped with days like that. I could come home from school, throw my bags down and chill on the couch for hours, with nothing but a slab of chocolate and my PlayStation controller; that was until my mom would come home and yell at me, for not doing anything productive with my life. I can promise you, the time before that felt like complete and utter serenity.
Nowadays things are very, very different. I wake up in the morning, have a mini panic attack about everything I couldn’t complete the day before, then begin the whirlwind of emails, drafts, submissions, errands and coffee that culminates in me passing out on the couch at 2 a.m. I generally have no time for myself other than when I sit down to write poetry which ends up becoming work-oriented anyway.
More than that I have no time for gaming.
And if you’ve read any of my work, you’ll know that video gaming is my life. I can easily clock nine hours of game time without getting bored.
Now that I’m #adulting, you know, hustling for that feeling of meaning and belonging, I don’t really have time to sit down and just enjoy some game time. At most I’ll get in about 30 minutes before the deadlines get the best of me.
Honestly, it feels like I’m wasting valuable time.
Not to mention the cost of gaming has become too much for my very empty pockets. With games like Overwatch sitting at around R1,000 (roughly $76) on the PlayStation Store, it’s not very frugal to invest in multiple AAA titles.
More than being able to sit back and play games, I also feel completely disconnected from the gaming community as a whole. Before I would spend time looking at forums, watching gaming videos and even staying up to go through E3 trailers frame-by-frame. I would participate in online discussions about new releases and even started my own little website with some friends in high school.
It was meant to be my start in gaming journalism.
Even though the community can be pretty exclusionary for a bisexual Indian girl like me, it can also be liberating when you find your people within it. It took time, but eventually, I found multiple sites dedicated to people of color within the gaming community.
But by the time I got around to that, I was already in my second year of university. Things were starting to heat up: I had to start applying for fellowships and internships, apply for meaningful jobs and start carving a little space into this world just for myself.
I was discovering myself at the same time that I was losing the very thing that made me into who I am.
It sounds dramatic, but gaming played a formative role in the kind of person I am today. Without it, would not be as confident and assertive with my thoughts and what I want to do in this world.
I would also not know how to survive the impending zombie apocalypse.
All jokes aside, growing up is not easy.
I wish I could say that no one ever prepares you for it, but I guess that’s not exactly true. I remember numerous occasions where people told me that eventually I’d have to give up a lot in order to succeed in life, and I even remember people telling me that my love for gaming would eventually fade away.
It hasn’t though, and that’s the hard part. I spend so many hours of my day just waiting for the slightest opportunity to jump in front of the TV and play, even for a few minutes at a time. But us gamers know that 30 minutes of game time in real life can only really equate to five minutes in the game’s world.
It’s barely enough time to finish a single main quest in Skyrim.
Everyday is an opportunity. I try my best to get my poetry, fiction and articles published, I work hard at my fellowship with The Tempest, I’m doing multiple intellectual projects on the side, and I try to find time to fit in family, my health and everything else I have to do to live a balanced life.
I know that what I’m doing right now can’t ever compare to how busy I’m going to be in the future, so should gaming even factor into my life anymore?
The answer is yes. It brings me ineffable joy. And if that means slacking on a little bit of my work for a few hours of gaming?
Life can wait.