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EndOfAnEra

It is time to move on with life

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Hey all,

 I think I am at a point where I am ready to say goodbye to games. Maybe not 100% forever, but to the level that it isn't even considered a hobby, maybe just "ya, I'll play Mario Kart if it is rainy out and need to relax" or my PS4 is a glorified Blu Ray player that gets used for games every couple months. But if I can't handle that, then it is gone for good. 

I started playing at the age of 4 (older siblings) back in 1989, well maybe 3 in 1988 when my family got our NES that Christmas. Playing games likes Mario Bros, Contra, Double Dragon 2, Ninja Gaiden, Dragon Warrior, etc. were great. However, what stole my heart was Zelda. From there I played Commodore64 games, and PC games (Wolfenstein, Doom, Quest for Glory, etc). Later it was N64 with Goldeneye, Ocarina of Time and Harvest Moon, and Playstation with with FF7 - FF9. In my later high school years it was GTA3, Gran Turismo 3 and Vice City, and in college I spent a lot of time playing full length 15min quarter games in NCAA Football and Madden, Dragon Quest 8, and lots of Halo/Halo2. Post college, it was exploring as Nathan Drake or fighting gods as Kratos. Lately it has been GTA5, Skyrim, etc. and now all I have left is the final Castle/Gannon in Breath of the Wild on the Switch. I think coming full cycle from Zelda nearly 30 years ago to ending on Zelda is a good time to put it down.

Am I addicted? It is hard to tell. Throughout my life, I have played in cycles. When I was 15, I got my first guitar and was obsessed with it for years. I got pretty good and was admittedly better than my friends who would play. But then after a bit, I would cycle to playing games again. And then cycle back to guitar. Selling games to pay for guitar equipment and then selling that to pay for games. In college, I did let it effect my grades. I had a great opportunity to excel and I settled for average, barely passable even, grades so I could just play games, drink and spend time with my girlfriend at the time. Luckily I graduated and was able to land a great job. It has flexible hours and I could telework, so that leaves a lot of room to play a bit of games here and there when I take lunch/dinner breaks or after I sign off for the day. Again, post college I cycled my hobbies between guitar, games, modding my car, building PCs. At one point, I had just gotten a new PC together and was playing Star Wars The Old Republic (my only semi-venture into MMO, have wanted to stay away from those seeing how hooked roommates and family members were on WoW), and it was my birthday and my girlfriend (now wife) got mad at me because I was holding us up from dinner (my birthday dinner) and that turned into a fight. Well, I sold that PC quick and sold off a chunk of my console games. 

However, after my daughter was born, playing guitar wasn't an option with a baby in the house and no reason to beef up a 2-door muscle car, so my hobbies turned back to gaming. It was something I could do in hour here and there spurts and wasn't loud to wake my baby. I tried to play Destiny with some friends/coworkers, but I couldn't commit to any raid since I had to quit in the middle to go help my baby back to sleep after waking up at night. So that ended my multiplayer gaming, which I didn't play much multiplayer anyway, was always into storyline/campaign/exploring and my fast twitch reflexes aren't what they used to be, so getting destroyed by 13yr olds in COD or the like isn't that fun after an hour or two.

Sorry, if I am rambling, but I will wrap it up. We finally bought a house and just this week I got my retro game set up done. Built the final bookcase for games and hung the final shelves above the CRT and now I look at it and think, "now what?" I barely have time to game, I have a 2.5 yr old and another kid on the way in July/August. My time to game will go down to 0. Plus, I think about the future and whether I want my kids really getting into games? I want them to do something more productive in life. I know at some point they will play video games, but them playing with friends here and there on whatever system versus having every console and handheld system and tons of games in their house from birth may be different.

Plus, I have other aspirations and needs in life. My wife wants to travel more. I need to get in shape (graduated high school at 150lbs/60Kg and am now 225lbs/102Kg. So I would like to get down to the 170lbs/77Kg range. I'd like to take up boxing or Muay Thai or BJJ, had started to do that years ago but my rent went up at the time and I couldn't afford the memberships anymore. Also, I do need to read more and would like to start some sort of path or side business to lead me to a more fulfilling career. I want to be a role model for my kids and working 10+ hour days and then playing 1-2 hours of games, going to sleep, and waking up to do it again isn't good for my family. My daughter already thinks all I do is work, whenever we go out as a family she says "no Dada, go work" and doesn't understand that I don't just go to the basement all day (I work from home). I think if I can get gaming and other distractions out of my head (Youtube, podcasts, etc., not gaming really but other topics too) and maybe with some meditation I can overcome my ADD and concentrate more on work and maybe get more done in less time and have more time for my family.

Anyways, I am going to beat this Zelda as ode to my "gaming years" and then do the detox, which will take me past when kid #2 is born. Then I will revisit whether I want to pick games back up or not. I really wanted to play Horizon too, I upgraded from a PS4 to a Pro for that game and haven't made use of it, haha. Oh well, I think my wife would appreciate my time more and not having a Switch, 3DS or Vita glowing at night when she is trying to sleep. She is a saint for her patience. Plus if I sell the $8k-$10k in my gaming collection, that could go towards other things, home improvements, getting a second 4-door car to more easily transport the kids, her student loans, etc.

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Also, if anyone has any good resources for meditation and impulse control, that would be great. As focus/impulse control is a huge component in me wanting to quit/scale back games as I think they have had an effect on my brain chemistry.

Edited by EndOfAnEra

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Did not game last night, went with some friends and saw Tool in concert, something I have wanted to do since the 90's and finally got a chance (they haven't toured much in the last decade, and nothing on the east coast). 

My work day is looking full and I probably will work and do overtime until I go to bed. Same with tomorrow and we may go to the beach this weekend for Memorial Day weekend. I am still committed to beating BOTW before I start my detox, otherwise it will hang heavy on me and I do see some closure in ending my "gaming days" on a Zelda game. Whether I causally game in the future or not, it ends my "gamer" identity. 

My big question is do I sell off my memorabilia and books? I got some graphic novels for Zelda for my birthday that I would like to read through. Also, some art books and Hyrule Historia. Maybe I will read the graphic novels through as a form of closure as well, and then get rid of them.

Whether to sell off my childhood games or not is also weighing heavy on me, so I think I will just box them up, and will reevaluate after I complete the detox. Maybe they won't mean as much to me then and I can just get rid of them like other childhood toys, but maybe not and they can just sit in a box in a closet for awhile. If I can get to the point of digging them out, playing for 20 min, get the nostalgia feels back and then say "ok, that was fun but enough" then that would be a good spot. We'll see.

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Also, if anyone has any good resources for meditation and impulse control, that would be great. As focus/impulse control is a huge component in me wanting to quit/scale back games as I think they have had an effect on my brain chemistry.

-

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One
Book by Joe Dispenza

 

My big question is do I sell off my memorabilia and books? I got some graphic novels for Zelda for my birthday that I would like to read through. Also, some art books and Hyrule Historia. Maybe I will read the graphic novels through as a form of closure as well, and then get rid of them.

My suggestion is to read them for the last time and sell/ give them away. Keep only those that do not make you urge to play again. Past experience is an amazing thing to go back to, but it should not define how you live right now and what you want to achieve in the future. Do your memorabilia represent: a person you are and want to become or your past? Is your past that defines the values you believe? Do those items add any value to your everyday life? If you want to let go the past holding on to items that represent it might not be a good decision.


 

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Thanks, I will check that book out. The only I have done so far is download the Headspace app. I tried doing the first lesson last night after burning the midnight oil catching up on things and I ended up just starting to fall asleep instead of actually meditating, so will try to work on that in the mornings.

Ya, I think I will read through those books and graphic novels, make use of it. Time will tell if it will make me want to game or not. I look at the stuff on shelves and my gaming collection, and as much as I enjoy playing them and the nostalgia (it just feels normal to like it), I also think about the discussions in podcasts and media about extended adolescence going into people's 30's and I say to myself "there it is, there is extended adolescence right there" and it doesn't kind of make me ashamed. Then I consider selling it all off and then think to myself "then when would I play it?". Its just weird. I'm not living in my parents basement, I haven't lived at home since I was 18 and have always had the work ethic and desire to make money, so I haven't had issues being self sufficient and calling in sick to game or anything. But just having it in my life is a distraction: both ruining my concentration/brain chemistry, and from using my free time on more productive things.

Anyone who combating this stuff when you are in your teens and twenties, keep it going. You don't want to be thinking this stuff to yourself in your 30's. Again, I think it more comes as a response to it just always being there in my life. A habit. 

I've talked to one of my siblings about it who is also a big gamer. They made some suggestions on how to moderate. I do kind of feel bad doing the 90-day detox because they are going through some medical issues and will be recovering for weeks for an upcoming surgery, and we could do some online stuff on the Switch like Mario Kart, or Splatoon 2 when it comes out (I cancelled my pre-order, even if I do moderately game, I won't play games like that with no story or ending... Mario Kart or Gran Turismo are the only non-story games I'd be willing to play on occasion... thats if I moderately game and not quit for good).

I was watching Joe Rogan's podcast with Guy Ritchie and they were talking about ownership of your life and everything that you do. They mentioned Jocko Willink's book on Extreme Ownership. I have heard Jocko on other podcasts and he is an interesting guy, former Navy Seal. His book is meant more for leadership and applying it to business. However, from various things I have read, it seems to go over discipline and has helpful anecdotes to apply to every day life (such as family dynamics). So I bought a copy on my Kindle and will add it to the reading list for my extra free time.

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Nothing new today. Still haven't had a chance to play and beat BOTW, so while I am going on a few days of no games, I still haven't officially started my detox. I feel like I am more excited to start my detox than beat the game, I know I will feel guilty playing it to beat it, but I will feel guilty not beating it after all the time invested (160 or 170+ hours)... plus the whole ending my "gamer" era with defeating Gannon one last time thing.

Started reading The Slight Edge. After I finish, I will read Extreme Ownership. My toddler keeps taking my Fire tablet to watch PBS Kids app (I need to seriously work on weaning her off of TV, she is in her terrible 2's but the tantrums when we say no to watching a show is alarming, I don't want her to get hooked this young), so I ordered a Kindle Paperwhite to start reading more easily. Plus the lighting on that isn't backlit, so it won't blind my wife if I am reading in bed and she is trying to sleep, the lowest brightness setting on the Fire is still too bright in the dark, even when the Kindle app is set to have black background with white letters. 

I had a great day with my family yesterday. It was going to rain all weekend at the beach, so we stayed in town this weekend and ended up driving 30 minutes to a dairy farm/ice cream place. And went to another for strawberry picking. My brain rarely strayed to games and I was less distracted. Today we went out for breakfast (I got the veggie omelette instead of my usual steak omelette + pancakes, lets cut that weight). I then mowed the grass and put together the crib in the room our new baby will be sleeping in once he is born. Played some guitar and am now going to catch up on some work. After my Tuesday deadline at work, I think I will just go ahead and beat BOTW so I can start my detox on Wed/Thurs.

Still debating on the selling of games thing. I am active on some forums with buy/sell sections and saw some people looking for various games I have on the shelf from older systems. So I think I will sell them. Get down to my childhood games and a few select others, plus the current gen games. If I decide to game in moderation, that alone will probably last me years. 

I cancelled all my game pre-orders except for the new Uncharted game and the Mario Odyssey game. I still have time to cancel, but figure I would keep them for now. if I do play in moderation, those two games would probably last me a year alone... hopefully.

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Some band suggestions as you requested in journal :) 
- Heaven Shall Burn - German death/ hardcore metal
- In Mourning - Swedish death/prog metal
- Opeth - prog metal (I don't remember if we mentioned them before)
- Insomnium - melodic death Finnish band
- Kvelertak - heavy metal - lyrics are in Norwegian 
- Graveyard - nice rock band influenced by the bands like Black Sabbath 
- Ghost - by many considered as doom metal 
- Dead Soul - interesting project mix of blues industrial rock and doom very climatic 
- Powerwolf - German power metal 
- Katatonia - Swedish doom/sludge some say prog metal
- my personal favorite for a long time - Woods of Ypres - Canadian underground black/doom metal band 

here you go from the top of my head :D 

I would suggest to rather start cutting your connection to games by not playing them at all.
Sentimental value they hold is only associated with good time you had playing them. gaming in moderation is fine if you can monitor yourself. If you can spot the moment when you start coming back to the old ways you should reevaluate your decisions and make a change. 

Keep rocking :) and good luck!

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Awesome, thanks for the suggestions.  I like Heaven Shall Burn and Opeth. Ghost sounds familiar like I have heard them on the Sirius metal channel, but I could be making that up. I'll check out the rest, Dead Soul sounds interesting. I am definitely looking to add variety to my workout music. I recently installed a heavy bag in my basement, so need something keeping me pumped while I beat the crap out of the bag.

I definitely will do the 90 day detox at least and re-evaluate where I stand on whether to game in moderation at the end or not. That will give me a better idea of whether to sell off my gaming collection. Though I may start selling off portions that I realistically know I will never get around to playing. If at the end, I decide I will stop for good, or stop to the level that a few games on a system or two (probably just my newest systems: PS4 and Switch), then I'll sell the rest off. Since my biggest goals are discipline, self improvement, and working on my focus/brain fog, hopefully I will be able to manage a game here and there. But if it interferes with any of those, it will have to go. Obviously, any time playing a game instead of reading or working out is interfering, but if I did my workout and my reading that day, then playing some games here and there isn't bad. By here and there, I don't mean daily, or maybe even weekly, but measuring by the month. 

 

Daily update:

My big deadline at work was yesterday so I can get by without working 12hr days for a bit (cut it back to 10, haha). So I think I will tackle beating BOTW tonight (or tomorrow if it takes longer than I thought). So hopefully that means I will be on my 90 day detox by this weekend, which is good timing since my wife is doing a girls weekend with her friends so it will just be my daughter and I. There is a train fair in my area this weekend, so I will be out of the house (if the weather stops being wacky) and take her to that. It will be exciting since this is the first time my wife will have been away for over 24 hours, so I'll get some extended buddy time with my daughter. Will be a good way to officially kick off the detox.

Even though I haven't officially started my detox, the only game I have played in the past week or so has been solitaire on my MacBook Pro. Kinda feel like those alcoholics who drink mouthwash when they can't get a drink. I need to fish out a pack of physical cards since it isn't as easy as click "redeal" between games.

I ordered a Kindle that should arrive today, so I can do more reading without other distractions. I had sold my iPad a few months ago to just use a simpler Fire tablet (would rather my kid break a $40 tablet instead of an iPad), but that still has other apps on it. Plus, the backlight on it is blinding even at lowest settings in the dark, which doesn't help with reading in bed. Also, whenever I try reading on my couch my daughter sees it and knows it is something she watches videos on when we go on planes and whatnot. So she says "my iPad" and wants to take it to watch a show. I also ordered a cross-word puzzle book because I figured it was better to play that instead of an app on my phone (also needed a few $'s to qualify for 1-day shipping on Logan and something else I ordered on Amazon). Its a weird "cryptic" crossword. Though I think it is meant for a UK audience (only has price for UK and Canada on the back), so some of the references are a bit over my head. Luckily the crossword app I use on my phone was also meant for a UK audience, so I get more now than I did before (though I have also watched a decent amount of British shows on PBS over the years), especially alternate terms for objects.... and that one app's obsession with a "spade", pretty much any clue directed to hand tools is a spade, pretty much 50% of puzzles have spade as an answer. It is interesting to me because we just call them all shovels in the US unless you need to specify which shovel needed for a specific task, "hey, grab me a shovel", "which one?" "the spade". So you'd be more likely to get a clue that is "shovel" rather than specifically a spade. At least among areas I have lived.

So ya, between working out, clean eating, increased reading, other mind stimulating activities, and getting my house ready for the new baby in July/August (my wife was excited when I used my downtime to assemble the crib this weekend.. a time when I probably would have been playing a game otherwise), I will have my hands full. Heck, with all the rain we have been getting, I probably can just occupy my time mowing the lawn every few days. We have a big yard so I usually have to split it into 2 days between front yard and back yard, sometimes I have to split the back yard into 2 days by itself as well.

Ok, I am rambling... hopefully my next entry is the announcement of my day 1 of 90 day detox.

 

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Ok, just beat Gannon. So tomorrow starts Day 1 of my detox. Just realized that is June 1st, so good timing! 90 days will put me at August 29th, but I think I will just make it last until the end of August. On Sept. 1 I can re-evaluate my gaming goals: whether to quit all together or game in moderation. Right now I am leaning to moderation, but we will see how I feel at the finish.

My immediate goals are:

- Watch what I eat, low carb and nothing processed.

- Work out each day, whether its a p90x video, or hitting the bag for 20 min, or just doing a bunch of burpees. Will look into a local MMA gym after my son is born, so that will be after my detox.

- read more, immediately: at least a chapter/day of a couple personal development books on the list; long term: 2 books/month

- slowly chip away at organizing the nursery for my son, and then organizing my basement storage area so I have more room for lifting weights and hitting the bag

Edited by EndOfAnEra

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Day 1 recap:

Yesterday was officially day 1. Even though I didn't game much the week prior, my temptation to game was higher since I knew there was a hard "no" on gaming. Kinda like being told not to push the red button makes you want to push the red button. The biggest temptation were the time wasters like my crossword app on my phone or solitaire. 

I finished Part 1 of The Slight Edge. I got to thinking last night how the 90 days is basically 12 weeks, and if I made it a goal to lose 2-2.5 lbs each week, I would be below 200lbs, which is good on my weight loss goals. That is just 1% of my weight per week, which coincides with the penny analogy used frequently in The Slight Edge.

I steered clear of carbs and whatnot and will try to maintain that and only allow myself a few cheat meals each week.

Goals for day 2:

- productive day at work

- eat healthy

- get in 15+ min of exercise

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Best of luck! I'm just shy of 90 days. I tried the moderation thing for about 6 mos off and on and would make it for a week or two each time. Each time I relapsed it was that boredom induced urge that would kick start it and then the self rationalization would start.

"Maybe just a match or two while the rest of the family is doing other things. No big deal. Right?"

But then that match or two would in reality turn to way more than I intended and when I would finally walk away I felt empty and a bit sour that it was not as fulfilling as I thought it would be. Then the realization would hit me that I could have been doing other things way more productive or I would realize my wife was now asleep which would cause the shame to set in. Be wary of scratching the itch even just a little because it never satisfies the way you think it will. Cold turkey may be the best option which it looks like you are doing which is great!

I also agree with Stercus (above) that all the gaming associated peripherals have to be removed too. And definitely the youtube subscriptions, twitch, etc. It makes it harder if you don't at least it did for me. I had to clean house so to speak to remove the reminders and enablers. Just staying busy helps too. Again, best of luck man!

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Thanks for the reply. Ya, I definitely will be careful about not falling into any rabbit holes. At the end of my 90 days, I may try gaming in moderation out, and if it doesn't work, then I will give it up all together. Or I may not want to game at the end of the 90 days. 

Luckily I do steer away from competitive multiplayer, maybe a Mario Kart race here and there or the occasional online match in COD or Uncharted before I realize I can't keep up with the 13 yr olds. An old college roommate wanted to do periodic Rocket League matches (like once a month) but that never happened. So overall, competitive multiplayer doesn't interest me. My problem is finishing work at 11pm, wanting to decompress and hopping on Zelda or GTA or Skyrim and running around the world mindlessly exploring until 1 or 2am. So I do need to keep an eye on that. As I get older, my sleep becomes more necessary. Plus just thinking about it throughout the day is distracting to my tasks at hand, causing me to take longer doing other things than I need to, which then pushes back when I start gaming, and leads to even less sleep. Its a vicious cycle. Plus my wife does hate that I go to bed after her, or when I am playing a game on a handheld in bed when she is sleeping. So no matter what I made a 'no game in the bedroom rule' for myself even if I do game in moderation again (plus playing a game when I should be sleeping isn't in moderation... playing an hour when it is raining outside and I already worked out, read, played with my kids, did inside chores/repairs, worked enough overtime fro the week, etc. is gaming in moderation). 

Also luckily enough, I don't really watch game streams. I will watch reviews when I am buying stuff, but not big on lets plays and whatnot. I did unsubscribe from the gaming youtubers that just talk games in general and collecting, especially the retro guys (PatTheNESPunk, MetalJesus, AVGN, CGR, etc.). Watching those leads me to wanting to go back and play more games, which sometimes means buying games I don't have at the time, which means money spent and backlog increased, which adds more stress/pressure to play. That makes gaming feel more like a habit/chore that requires my time in order to get through the backlog, rather than enjoying a game here and there between other hobbies. 

Even if I do end up gaming in moderation, I am considering the impact my moderate gaming will have on my kids. Will it show them responsibility, or will it excite them to play? As much as I like games, when I think about it, I don't want them to be gamers. Its fine if they play games, but I don't want it to be a main hobby of theirs. So would it being a 3rd/4th level hobby of mine help or hurt that? I know it being my #1 hobby would either drive them to it, or drive them away (since dad likes it, it must be lame type thing). So I am not taking that risk, and it is getting demoted at least. I also don't want one of those situations typical movie situations where the father forbids the kids from doing something, and after strife in their relationship, finally revealing that I had my own issues with it and was forbidding them to protect them. Haha, I watch too many movies I guess.

So we will see. Gaming has been in my life since I was 4, younger even since we had an atari that my siblings played (I am sure I did too, but I have very little memory of before I was 4 yrs old). Though I have cycled through hobby periods where I concentrated on other things and my gaming went down to what I would want my moderate levels to be. Hopefully I can tap into that and not get tempted to let it spiral out of control.

Either way, I won't ever play through my backlog. So I need to whittle it down. Some friends/family were apprehensive about me selling things off, but I think they just didn't want me to do something I would regret. Some mentioned keeping it around for collectors sake, but whats the point? If I am not a "gamer" anymore, and just someone who games on occasion, why would I keep an extensive gaming collection? So if I can sell a good chunk of the "non-essentials" off for now that I won't regret either way, plus I could use that money for plenty of other things. Repairs around the house, or to pay for a Muay Thai/BJJ gym membership. Plus, I don't want my kids to be collectors of anything. I have always been a collector of something, but whats the point? Not spending the money and having the mobility of less physical items is preferable. Having fewer, high quality items and cash in the bank is better than a bunch of collections that force you to expand your living situation. 

Wow, I wrote a book here, but I am working it all out through my head.

tl;dr - Thanks! and I won't let it get bad again, even if that means quitting over moderation

 

 

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A big part of me likes being a "gamer", even for the aspects outside of gaming. Like the culture. However, I don't want to be stuck as a gamer because it is just what I always did or that I don't have the focus or control to do anything else. And part of me does see being a gamer into my 30's as an extension of adolescence, which is a bit shameful. I can't see a man my age in the 1930's caring about video game characters... like Mario or Link or Yoshi. They moved on from their childhood penny novel heroes. I know worrying about stigma is kind of stupid, but if it is a stigma I feel myself but forget to just apply it to myself, then it is something to consider. 

Another part of me, sees how my focus and clear head has all but disappeared in recent years. The constant inability to focus on what I need to do instead of what I want to do makes things hard. So cutting back on the dopamine rush and trying things out like meditation and mindfulness are needed.

Another, even bigger even, part of me doesn't want to be overweight so I stay healthy and am as around as long as possible for my wife and kids. And that means even more to me than games. The other night, my daughter woke up and was scared (her imagination has increased greatly in recent weeks, so i can only assume she may be at the age of having nightmares). So I was in her room comforting her and telling her that I am here and not to worry, and that made me think "I need to get in shape, every hour of video games takes away from an hour of working out, or meal prep, or sleep" because I need to keep that promise and make sure that I am "here" for my family. 

Edited by EndOfAnEra

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Letting go of the gamer identity is a big part of the healing process. It's not that gaming never meant anything to you, it's simply that you're moving into a new chapter of your life without gaming being the central way you identify with the world. Being present with your family is huge.

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Thanks Cam, being present is definitely the best way to put it. While I know my wife never had any complaints about my gaming (except maybe my lack of sleep and bright screen at night whenever she woke up), I knew that with my mental pre-occupation thinking about when I will be gaming later, I wasn't 100% what I wanted to be. An internal shame.

Days 2, 3 and 4 recap:

On day 2 I worked and then we went to have dinner at our friends' house. One of my other college roommate's was there, who I rarely get to see, so that was nice. He is someone I always talk with about setting times up once or twice a month to do some online game for an hour, but it just never happens. After college we would all get together and play through a campaign in Left4Dead or L4D2, however that hasn't really happened in a couple of years. He did get a Switch when I did, but was going through some career training these past 3 months and he never got a chance to fire it up, he intentionally avoided it so he could concentrate on work. Now that he has time to play it, I am going on a 3 month hiatus, ha. Funny how that works, oh well. 

On day 3, we dropped my wife off at a friend's house because she was going away overnight for a girl's weekend with a group of her friends. So my daughter and I spent a little over a day with just the 2 of us. We had fun, and she had a good day since I ended up taking her to a train fair, then buying some toys, and ended up buying her a tricycle we have been meaning to. It was a good day, and it was nice having some time with just the two of us for longer than usual. I think it is good for a child's development to have more 1on1 time with different people in their life, especially between the parents and probably including grandparents too. It allows them to test different boundaries and get different perspectives that they may not when both parents are there (I mean in that moment, not advocating for 2 different households). Having time with each parent separately for shorter spurts and then together most of the time is probably the healthiest balance as they learn and grow.

On day 4, we woke up, watched a movie, and went out for food. Then it was time to pick up my wife. It was kinda of funny, one of my wife's friend's husband got upset with my wife's friend because they took a little longer and went out for food, and through miscommunication he was expecting her home earlier. Apparently when she got home, after they talked it over, he ended up playing a video game. While I know him and he isn't really a "gamer", just someone who has an xbox and plays periodically... there was just some irony there that I, the gamer, was totally chill on the one weekend in a blue moon that her and her friends wanted to get some time away. We then came home and I ended up mowing my lawn, which took me 3 hours. After 2 hours I was hungry and wanted to quit, more out of boredom than being tired. However, I looked at the weather forecast this week and it called for rain every day. So I thought back to The Slight Edge since I am currently reading that, and figured I would just trudge on and get it done, one step at a time, literally since I use a push mower (though it has the self propel feature, which helps). After I showered, we ate dinner, and then it was bed time for my daughter. That is usually when I would go back down and play video games and get some "me time". However, I went straight to my bed and read 2.5 chapters of The Slight Edge. I am now at 70% according to the Kindle, so will be done with it tonight or tomorrow I'd assume. Then it is on to the next book, I am thinking Jocko Willink's Extreme Ownership.

Day 5 goals:

- have productive day at work: I can't rely on working this coming weekend since we will be out of town, so need to be working at 110% efficiency

- workout: I am thinking 20 minutes of hitting the heavy bag

- read: hopefully get another 10-15% of The Slight Edge finished

- help pick up somewhere around the house, even if just 5 minutes, keeping up with my kid is a job unto itself

- take care of some bills, etc.

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I have small urges here and there to play video games, but I don't have much free time anyway, so it hasn't been a big deal. The biggest urges to fight are the small time wasters like solitaire or crossword/sodoku on my phone (small in concept, but huge in wasting time).

Day 5 recap:

- My day at work as a disaster from the start. I had a very short turnaround assignment tossed on me that threw a wrench in my planned workload for the week. I need to work on not letting things weigh too heavy on me. I usually overstate things in my head and make a big deal out of it, and then end up procrastinating or losing focus rather than just taking it one step at a time.

- I ate like crap. Had a lot more carbs than I planned

- I didn't get a chance to workout

- I read a bit during the day on breaks, but didn't read at night like I usually do because I stayed up late watching youtube videos on diet/exercise

- didn't take care of any other small tasks like I hoped

 

Day 6 goals:

So my day started out better, I have concentrated on my diet so far and have kept my carbs low: thinking of following a ketogenic type diet, mostly just keep my carbs below 30g and my protein high enough, ~1g/lb of lean body mass. I did keto last year for a month or so and lost nearly 15lbs, 1/2 that probably being water weight from lower inflammation, but still. I also to in 25-30 minutes of exercise, about 22 minutes hitting the bag and another 5 or so doing some body weight and dumbell stuff. So I am feeling better overall than yesterday's lack of progress. For the rest of the day:

- get done with this short term assignment at work and start on the next I planned to

- keep up with my eating

- read at least 1 chapter

- go to sleep at a reasonable time 

I just have to keep remembering to do the easy things, because they are easy not to do and add up over time. 

Edited by EndOfAnEra

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Day 6 - 7 recap:

Work has been a struggle. But I still think I make it a bigger struggle in my head than it truly is. I need to relax a bit and just take things one step at a time and not worry if I am not perfect. I stayed up late working each night. Last night I was up until 1am working and when I came to bed my daughter woke up and my wife and I had to take turns sitting in her room with her until 5am, so we are both worn out.

 

Day 8:

Its 8pm, so I will go ahead and do a quick recap. Today has been ok, work mostly. I wanted to work out but done think I will get a chance. I just finished dinner 1/2 an hour ago and am doing intermittent fasting until tomorrow around noon. So I probably won't work out since I can't take in any more protein. I will probably be working late, at least until 11:30, maybe later. I have a lot of work to finish tonight/tomorrow as we are going out of town this weekend and will not get a chance to work over the weekend.

I haven't really had the urge to play video games really. I did have a few urges to play solitaire or a crossword app on my phone. Instead, I have been reading on my quick breaks. I am feeling better about gaming, in the sense that I don't have the urges to fire up a console or PC game. However, I know that I need to show my control to myself, so I won't crack. I just am having some optimism about moderate gaming after the detox, though I won't make any decisions until that time.

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Day 13:

Watching E3 is not a good idea. Oh well. Still not planning on playing games for the 90 days, but have a list to play once it is over.

Had a good weekend away with the family. Beach time and whatnot. Was planning on doing some work over the weekend, but just took the hit for last week and will just make it up this week. I really need to separate home from work and give myself time to relax. Maybe that will help my efficiency during my working hours to get even more done.

Been keeping up with my diet pretty well. My pregnant wife really wanted pizza today, I only had 1 slice (usually would have had 4 right away and more over the next few hours). I am down 3lbs or so. Which is a good rate if I can keep that up. 2lbs/week is my goal.

I definitely am having more urges to play and am rethinking some of the thoughts I had on video games and playing them: like feeling that it is an extension of extended adolescence. Not feeling so negative about playing games anymore, however, I still have negative feelings with putting it over time with family, exercise, reading/self improvement, or letting it pre-occupy the mind and affecting work and whatnot. So basically, after the detox, I will see if I can do it in moderation with little pre-occupation as a goal. Otherwise, I will have to quit for good.

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I had pizza tonight too and limited myself to 2 slices instead of my usual 4 hehe. I hear you about moderation. If I could play just strategy games and not rpgs, I'd be content. But I struggle.

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I find my relationship with games currently to be more complusive than anything and I decided to do complete abstenience. From my previous experiences, moderation seemed like a good idea, and then when I started to play, all the good/romantic/and excitement came rushing back and so did the addiction. It was a slow, gradual process, of the addiction getting worse and worse. Preoccupation, acting out, regret/shame, and the cycle continued. The biggest part for me was recognizing my tendency to deny. I notice addiction can manifest as a manupulative person, in that, you give someone a foot, and they end up taking a yard. And each time you give them, they take more and more. So, externalizing addiction as a manupulative person is a way for me to recognize the dangers of even giving in a little bit. Because when we do, it progressively gets worse and then eventually out of hand. For me, these types of people are extremely dangerous, and very "cunning" and "charming" & they can "make promises" ; so, for me, that's how I see my relationship with games. It's something I cannot have a relationship with currently, maybe never, and time will tell. If I can develop all the other things that games give me in my current life, then, maybe. But, currently, this next year or two or three, will be dedicated to self-improvement and building more effect self-care and coping strategies. 

 

For you Era, you may be in a different area and you're relationship with gaming may be different from mines. I have family members who are facing mental health issues and addiction problems. So, for me, I have the genetic and environmental markers for the disease. So, I have to take a safer and absentient type of approach. 

Edited by ha535065

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Thanks for the reply. That is something that I am consciously thinking about. Is my desire to want to play in moderation, or play immediately as I did have some urges last night as I was winding down with work, something that I am convincing myself that it will be alright? Is it that voice telling an alcoholic "one beer won't hurt"? I don't know. I don't really consider gaming an addiction, more so just am habituated to gaming as a method of winding down at the end of the day and escape from stress, and the pre-occupation issues are a symptom of other stressors in my life (mostly work and stress from that). 

My time away from gaming is to free up what little free time I have for self improvement. Hopefully, working on things like diet/exercise/sleep can help with the brain fog and increase focus. Hoping things I get from self improvement books like organization, self control, and stress reducing techniques can help with my efficiency at work. I am just always stressed out right now, which makes me blow some tasks out of proportion, so then I lose focus and dread it instead of just doing it. Which then leads me to taking longer to actually do it, which means I work extra time just to keep up with my base workload, which takes from my free time at home, which causes more stress, and spirals from there. I start to resent things and my mind becomes pre-occupied with things I'd rather be doing, it just so happens to be gaming currently since I haven't concentrated on other hobbies since after my kid was born (guitar, cars, etc.). A section in The Slight Edge talks about having the weight of unfinished tasks occupying your mind and holding you down and causing stress. That is huge with me, simple stuff I could do in 5 minutes, ends up sitting on my mind for weeks and causes unnecessary stress.

Thats why I am hesitant to go full abstinence from gaming forever, and am using the 90-day detox as a tool for self improvement hopefully to increase other areas of my life. Don't get me wrong, as I wrote previously, I do not want to have gaming as my main hobby or "gamer" as my self identity. So I do plan on cutting back drastically because I won't have enough time to game like I used to while incorporating exercise, reading, exploring possible other career paths, family etc.

I am hoping as I get back to my normal "rock star" self when it comes to my job, my personal time will free up and I will have time to work out, read a chapter of a book, spend time with the family, and then get some appropriate amount of time playing a game when everything else is accomplished.

But I am looking at my urges to game in the meantime and think: "do I really just want to play that game, or am I looking to avoid doing tasks I am putting off?" 

Or maybe I am addicted and this train of thought is the "manipulative self" working against me... haha. But I don't really see it that way. Oh well, doing the detox either way and will re-evaluate at the end. If I lose all interest in gaming, so be it, I'll sell off my collection and have money for something else. If I go back to gaming in moderation and still achieving my other goals first, then sounds like a win-win. If I try gaming and it spirals out of control, then I know I do have a problem beyond what I thought and I will have to say goodbye to gaming.

 

 

Edited by EndOfAnEra

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Wow, so it has been a crazy 3 months or so. My second kid was born, I had a month off of paternity leave and am now back trying to catch up and get back into the mindset of the job.

So the big question is, am I gaming?

Yes. Yes I am.

I am definitely not gaming as much as I used to (other than Picross on my phone). But I am still playing video games on my consoles. Heck, I even just got the SNES mini yesterday.

I definitely want to keep my gaming in check and will continue to use the methods and discussion here to make sure my time playing games is reasonable.

My biggest issue still isn't really playing games, but more so buying games and adding them to the "backlog" (i.e. shelf candy). A big thing to help with that would be staying off of gaming sections in forums and youtube since that gets you excited for an older game or new game coming out and then causes you to buy it even when you don't have time in the near future to actually play it. 

So my long term goal for now is to keep gaming, but keep it in check and if that doesn't work out then I can take more drastic measures. Spend less money and maybe even start to offload some games I know I will not play given the amount of games I do want to play and the amount of time I actually spend gaming.

Also, when I stopped playing games, I went a little under a month (just a little over 3 weeks). 

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