Okay, that may be a little strong. On the other hand maybe not! What else can I call something that has taken over my life, prevented me from pursuing hobbies, following passions, and most importantly spending real time with people? Something that has kept me glued to the couch, for over an hour at a time, staring zombie like at the screen. Something that has given me a huge thrill for outscoring my opponent, and left me in the doldrums if they outscored me. Time for a reality check…this is not real life! Real life is about people, passions, and love. Spending time doing your hobbies, cooking a delicious meal, going hiking in the woods, having coffee at a sidewalk cafe, reading a wonderful novel that expands your mind, or writing an old fashioned pen and paper letter. I want to live, not exist, and WWF sucks life out of me. It’s like hooking me up to an IV that is sucking out vital life force! So I’m calling it quits. I don’t know how it hit me. Certainly when I sat down today, after a hard night’s work, and turned on the computer, I didn’t have any idea that I’d suddenly be sick of it. I did my usual–browsing through email, the news, Facebook, and then with a bit of giddy anticipation I turned to WWF. It was great! I am usually a pretty good player, and I have to guiltily admit that I took pleasure in being so. I plotted and planned, learned new words, and spent a lot of time, studying the board like a military strategist.
Today was no different. Except today I had an epiphany. Sitting on the couch, I suddenly felt sore and tired. I had been there for about two hours, between watching the news and playing WWF. I glanced up for some reason, and suddenly my eyes became focused on paints that I had bought months before, inspired by my niece whom I sure doesn’t waste time on idle pursuits like I do. Her paintings were marvelous, full of passion and life. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on paints and a canvas again, and I remembered how I used to love to paint myself, years ago. It made my heart soar, and had a calming effect on me. So I stopped at the store on the way home from landing at the airport, and bought supplies. That very evening I opened them and, for exactly an hour, painted a small picture that brought me joy. After that the paints sat on my breakfast bar, where I could easily pick them up again. I was confident that my former passion would be a regular part of my life.
How I wish that had been true. It wasn’t, by far. Every day I had something else to do, something to fill all of my time. I barely even thought of the paints at all, and if I did it was with a twinge of guilt and wondering how in the world I would ever find the time. I do work a lot, often close to sixty hours a week, but still I’m not always at work. The fact is, however, I found it way easier to get the cheap fix of WWF, vs. setting up a canvas, mixing paint colors, and determining what to paint. I could play a few games whenever I wanted, with my feet up and mind on neutral. It was like a free vacation.
Except the free vacation came with strings attached. Much like a time share condo, eventually I desired to unload it, and fast. Yes I still loved playing, but I realized that I was being played, by clever media developers who have learned how to work on the human psyche and encourage us to get on the media treadmill. I could feel my brain turning to mush, which was no small feat considering that I was playing a game that I hoped would expand my mind.
So I sent a message to each of my opponents, some of whom have become dear friends, telling them that I am taking a hiatus. It might be, and I plan on it being, permanent. I’m going to read, take walks, spend more time cleaning, go out to lunch with my son, write letters to my grandchildren, and yes, Evie…yes. I will pick up my paintbrush again.