I’m a creature of cyclical habit when it comes to finding new interests and hobbies. I discover some new pastime or project, latch onto it like a human lamprey, and then I promptly burn myself out on siphoned enjoyment before losing all interest.
This was true in the fourth grade during my week of rigorous planning for a pine-box derby before abandoning Boy Scouts forever, and it was true last month when I remembered how sweet Garth Ennis is and re-read all of my old “Preacher” copies over a 12-hour period.
There have been a few constants that break the cycle, and sitting chiefly among them has been an affection for video games. My interest for individual titles and genres has burned out and bloomed more times than is worth recalling, but a general interest has always held strong.
That is, right up until a month ago.
No grand event triggered it, but nearly all of my concern and enthusiasm for anything game related has tanked. Most everyone feels their pastimes pressured to some extent as various obligations stack up and life gets in the way, but it’s the sudden fade that’s struck me.
It feels silly to admit, but gaming has long had a significant influence on defining me as a person. It’s been a topic for rebooting awkward small talk, and keeping abreast of new releases and breaking news as it ripples through gaming communities has been like a default action for me. I’ve built up this passive store of knowledge on the topic since I was 6 years old, and now I find myself willing to abandon these questions and conversations that I’ve always had answers for.
Shit, maybe mom was right. Maybe it WAS just a phase, 26 years in the making.
So what’s risen up to replace the gaming drive? Nothing too exciting. I find myself wanting to read more, to sit outside more, to sit around eating breakfast and bullshitting with friends more. I still fall back into my gaming-information gathering default mode when I’m browsing the Internet, but I’m paying more attention to the communities and connections that spring up around games rather than watching gameplay videos or reading reviews.
Even if I’m suddenly looking elsewhere for areas to direct my interests, I don’t consider the hours I’ve spent playing videogames a waste of time — I enjoyed it then, so I don’t see any reason to retroactively kick myself for not taking piano lessons instead or some shit. Forcing myself to drudge through the slump NOW, when the spark just isn’t there, would be a different story.
The thrill hasn’t quite gone completely, but it feels like it’s giving in. To a burgeoning interest in keeping potted plants alive, to walks that keep getting a little bit longer. I don’t know if I’ll ever completely cut the controller cord, but the concept is no longer as earth shattering as I once thought.