Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Finding the Time to Play Games - Part 1

I recently turned 48 years old. There's really nothing magical about that particular age. Talk to me in two more years and I might feel drastically different. But for now, I'm just another year closer to a milestone birthday.

That said, flipping another page on my Life Calendar did trigger me to stop and ponder the state of my life. What significant problems do I need to fix in my life? How do I boost my happiness level? What are my plans for the future? There are always dozens of things to think about.

Over the past 3 years, one recurring thought has continually bubbled it's way to the top of my brain: How do I find the time to do those fun things that I truly love to do? I wish I knew the answer to this one of life's many puzzles. But I haven't figured out the magic formula yet.

You see, I love to play tabletop games (board games and miniatures war games). They fill a very special niche for me, exercising the strategic-thinking and creativity portions of my brain. But try as I might, I have failed miserably to achieve any consistency in getting my friends together for regular game nights. I have done much more in the way of researching and thinking about games than actually playing them. That's truly sad.

There are a host of reasons why getting games to the table have failed for me. For starters, 9.5 to 10 hours of every weekday are spent working or driving to/from work. Then it's home for dinner with my wife Anna, followed by doing dishes. So most nights, my "free time" doesn't begin until 7:30 or 8:00 pm. Some nights are devoted to spending quality time with my honey, who unfortunately, does not share my same passion for tabletop games. So that doesn't leave a big window of opportunity for gaming during weeknights. Not to mention, I'm mentally exhausted from work many of these nights. Those of you who work in the IT field can probably relate to this well.  

My gaming buddies are of a similar age, and although they may be home earlier than me, they have their kids' activities to deal with. So free weeknights are typically limited for them as well.

I confess that I have other outside interests that eat into my time, like dining out, going to the movies with my wife, reading, listening to podcasts, walking, painting miniatures, designing games, surfing the internet, occasionally playing the drums, etc. Perhaps I have too many other interests?

All I know is that it adds up to one thing: I don't get to play games often enough.

At this moment, you're probably thinking, "so do something about it Nancy Boy and quit whining!" And you're right; all the whining in the world doesn't result in problems fixing themselves. So after mulling it over in my head, I believe that I need to do a couple of key things:
  1. Prioritize which Fun Things are most important to me. 
  2. Take that priority list, cut it down to the 3 most important things and focus solely on them. 
  3. Schedule regularly recurring Fun Time events on my calendar and stick to that schedule.
I've often said to myself that scheduling fun time seems silly. I have a schedule at work; why do I want to create a task schedule for FUN stuff? But after several years of failing to achieve what I wanted (which is playing more games), something has to change. Flying by the seat of my pants is NOT working.

Perhaps a disciplined approach will produce the desired results? I guess I'll never know unless I try.
So it's off to create a prioritized Fun Things list. I'll share that in Part 2 of this blog-post series.
Wish me luck!

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