My love of gaming goes back to when I was a little kid. I remember my Dad and Uncle’s would invite me to LAN parties at their office. This was back in the mid-90’s, so we would play games such as Descent and Age of Empires. It was sooo much fun and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve always loved strategic games and the thrill of competition. I would create large scale battles with army men, play chess, and I always loved sports. Video games were very accessible and brought that stimulation to a whole new level. I wanted to play them all the time – and I did! I got pretty good at Age of Empires, joined a clan, and had a blast. But my grades did suffer as all I wanted to do was play Age of Empires and Halo. All my energy and excitement went to those games – other areas of my life suffered. I eventually graduated, served a 2 year humanitarian, and learned the satisfaction of hard work and investing in worthwhile activities. I would casually play console games with high school buddies, which I still do to this day, but never played like I used too. I was too busy with a full-time job, school, and then I got married. I made a lot of money, bought the house we wanted, and was happy with my career. My wife and I have since had 2 beautiful kids and being a Dad has been the best and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Gaming really wasn’t on the radar.
About a year ago (fall 2015), my brother-in-law invited me to try a game called ‘League Of Legends’… I was instantly hooked and all the nostalgia and love of gaming came back. The problem was balancing my love of gaming and the important things in life. It never affected my work, work ethic and providing has never been an issue for me, but I found myself wanting to play league all the time and spending less time with my kids and wife. Gaming can truly be an addiction – I wanted to play ALL the time. The strategic stimulation, playing with friends/family, the drive to get better – it’s all extremely addicting to someone like me. I knew it was frustrating my wife and I noticed the disappointment of my daughter getting less play time with me.
I often noticed how guys would stop gaming once they got married or had kids. I totally understand that now, but also found that unfortunate. A fulfilling life is all about balance – why should being a father and a husband take away from doing something you love? Or why should gaming take away from being a good father and husband? The most common excuse, and reality, is not having the time to game. But are you living the lifestyle you want then? There are periods in your life where you are slammed, like working and going to school full-time. However, once you settle into a job and a family routine, you can absolutely find some time. You can also work with your wife to find that time.
One positive was the open communication my wife and I share, she explained her frustrations and I explained I’d still love to game. We struck that balance and you’ll find me gaming most nights after the kids are in bed and after my wife and I have had our time together. We also set aside Friday for date night and make sure we do something together once a week. Sharing this dirty laundry is quite embarrassing to be honest – how could I let something so ‘meaningless’ get in the way of such important things in life? There are two things to expand on here, video games aren’t meaningless, and Dads deserve to enjoy hobbies and what they’re passionate about. I’ve made several great relationships because of gaming and I even found my current job because of gaming (networking). Self-control and discipline are characteristics we all have to learn, as we all have passions and addictions. Moderation in all things and striking a balance is what brings a fulfilling life. Life is good. I’m at a place where I feel like a good husband, a good father, I’m in the best physical shape of my life, and can still do something I love. Gaming and a fulfilling life can co-exist after all. GG.