After my previous post about playing games, I'm going to turn around and tell you why I've had to stop playing all of my favorite games.
I'm a writer. I'm also a homeschool Mom. If anyone thinks either of those isn't a full-time job...never mind. They are time consuming. For fun, I'd taken up playing on-line games that I enjoyed. After a weekend retreat -- with no Internet -- I was forced to look at the way I'd been spending my time. My writing was suffering because I was thinking about harvesting my crops or catching the next fish. How silly was that?
I still think that games are a great way to get used to computers and to learn about social networking, but at some point we have to decide what is important. For me, writing is more important than almost anything else.
Has anyone noticed that there are a lot of depressed people wandering the planet right now? The news is almost universally bad. Anyone notice that the other drivers on the road are not altogether sane? In one of the lectures over the weekend, I learned that the "Spirit of the Age" is busy-ness.
Think about that. We check our mail. We check Facebook. We check Twitter. Something fun happens? We Tweet about it -- with mobile-uploaded photos if possible. We check the news. We get in an argument on Facebook, defending someone we've never met. Life is...busy!
I love my friends. Facebook updates are great for keeping up on what everyone was doing. When I played a game with friends, I could send them a little present. Ah, my love language being gifts and my finances being tight...this was wonderful. So when my friend asked me if I'd teach her to use Facebook...why did my gut start looking for the "dislike" button?
I found myself ashamed to explain why I thought it might be a bad idea for her to join. I mean, here was something that I use continually throughout the day, and I was hesitant to recommend it. I heard a friend's distinctly Canadian voice call it "Face-crack" in my head. Um. Yeah.
Then at a table with other women, one of them put my pain into words better than I ever could. In explaining why my friend should sign up immediately, she said this: "It's awesome. You can stay in touch with all of your friends. You know everything that is going on with them without ever having to actually engage them." Wait a minute. What was that? My friend later said, "isn't that called stalking?"
Yeah, kind-of. I spent a lot of time over the weekend mulling over the pros and cons of this addiction. I do need it for marketing. I mean, really, isn't it required of a writer to build a tribe? I've been working hard at it. Managed to get almost a hundred followers on Twitter (You can Follow me here!). 160+ on Facebook.
But what is the point? If I'm a writer, then I should be writing. And if I'm a friend, then I should be engaging with my friends.
Funny thing. I've been a whole lot more productive since un-installing all of those games.
One of the more unusual messages I received during this weekend was to "seek the ancient paths." Hm. Now I'm a self-proclaimed geek, but I have another side to my personality. I *love* handwork. Spinning, crochet, knitting, all sorts of fiber arts. I have a daughter who is fascinated by flower drying and art of all types. I'm thinking that we can turn some of this "ancient" art into a way to connect with friends. Yes, that speaks to my heart. I think life may be more fun without the games.
Or maybe I'll just throw an Empire Builder party.