I still love playing video games, and I’m not ashamed.
This is the one part of being an “adult” that I imagined I might leave behind at some point. I’ve long since realized that it would be a waste of my time not to let myself have a little leisure time doing something I enjoy.
So as life was pouring on the trials over the last few months, I decided it was time to give myself an outlet for stress building up. I asked my brother if I could borrow his Nintendo Switch. He was excited to share it with me.
I’m a grown man, and I’m not afraid to admit that I bought Pokemon: Let’s Go Evee and have also been playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild. My wife and I love to play Mario Kart and hope to get Super Smash Brothers soon.
I can’t wait for the day when my kids are old enough to play with us. They provide a lot of my motivation to keep video games in my life.
Let me be vulnerable though, and say that I sometimes play for hours in a row.
I learned this skill over 15 years ago when I got Pokemon Silver on the Gameboy Color. My brother and I had both received our first Gameboys that Christmas.
“Are you still playing?” I asked from the top bunk as we went to bed that night.
“No, are you?” he responded.
I replied with “No, but I can still hear the music.”
I was relieved to hear him say “Me too.”
I’m not proud of playing for so many hours in a row, and even that I still do it sometimes. Last night I played Zelda: Breath of the Wild for multiple hours in a row. It was difficult to stop, and I wasn’t happy with myself about that.
But as I lay there in bed, tempted to beat myself up, a thought came to my mind that I hope will change my career. I realized that I had just done something hard for hours in a row, but it didn’t feel like work.
What if I could find a way to gamify my work?
How would my productivity improve if I could find what job I can do for hours with no resistance to continue?
Is there a way to take the tasks I already enjoy doing and strengthen my connection with them enough that I could do them for hours, just like I do with video games?
I’m an interesting crossroads right now with my career.
I’ve realized I didn’t choose the best major and career for myself, recently lost my job, and just started a freelance writing and editing company while continuing to do a little of what I was doing before.
After the questions started to pour in, I found myself struggling to get to sleep. I was excited at the opportunity ahead of me. It felt good, and I was happy.
As my mind raced at the possibilities, I rested on one final question that still has my gears spinning this morning:
What is the one thing that I already love to do that I could do for hours and never feels like work?
I thought about all of the many different hobbies and interests I have. Inspecting what I love to do the most, some of the final candidates include planning, writing, editing, and even web design to an extent.
A few weeks ago I decided I want to explore the option of never retiring. I’m trying to go beyond the traditional job path to find my ikigai, or “reason for being.”
Instead of a career that’s just work for the sake of it, my goal is to find one that is sustainable for 60 years.
I think I’ve just made one of the first steps along this long yet vital journey.