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That's the amount of hours I've spent gaming in the past 7.5 years on my PC. That's not including all the hours on consoles or the 12 years prior to PC gaming that I squandered as a child and teenager. I'm 31 now and things have slowly dawned on me.

Those 12,500 hours amounts to over 1.4 years solid of gaming in the past 7.5 years I've been PC gaming.

Next month I'm selling the PC I built, the monitor, the sound system, the consoles, my tablet...everything. I've had large clear outs before. The first one in my life was the most severe. Everything in my room went except my PC, my art supplies, my camera and my bedroom furniture. In all honesty the removal of all the clutter and nonsense really lifted my spirits. This digital age has us so interconnected with one another and yet it often feels like we feel even more lost or lonely than we were before this digital invasion.

Hobbies, friendships, health, relationships, education, homework, and general wellbeing were all substituted for the easy access and distractions that gaming and technology had provided me.

In the last 2 years my gaming experience has felt hollow, forced and unsatisfying. My new job in those 2 years is a 4 on 4 off shift pattern. With holiday allowance included I have over half the year to myself. The gaming addiction spiralled out of control. It's always been a means of escape in a bid to fend off the anxiety disorder I've lived with for over 9 years now. It helped me get through a parental upbringing of parents who were materialistically giving but rarely ever showed love or gave me or my brother attention. It lead to me and my brother showing a great many signs of autism. Whilst undiagnosed in both of our cases it's clear that we're a long way up the spectrum. We were both in our own worlds as children. But we're like chalk and cheese. He rarely wanted to play so I was left to my own devices. It helped nurture a wonderful imagination but that slowly got eroded the more time I devoted to gaming after owning my first console when I was 7 years old.

At this point gaming feels like an unwelcome means to simply get through the day. I'd been pondering quitting gaming for a few weeks now. I have to say that doing the maths made me realize that I need to stop gaming completely.

In recent years I've made improvements to help my mood and gradually accept my anxiety as a friend and not a foe. An instigator of change as it were. In the early years it felt like it had control over my life and was the ruin of me. Now that i've gotten closer to where I want to be in life (bought a house, found someone right for me, got a good job etc) there remains one last hurdle in achieving a happier and more meaningful existence; I have to stop living in the realms of fantasy and nonsense that I've devoted so much time to during my life.

To think that I'm more than a third through my life and I've spent over 20 years of my life prioritising gaming over nearly every aspect of my life is a rather unnerving realisation. 

I'm currently putting out offers to sell my consoles and PC etc to friends and such. It'll be good to have spare money as we're currently renovating our new home. Not only that but I'll be deleting Facebook - I miss the few years when I left social media entirely. I stopped reading the news 1.5 years ago now too. My circle of concern in life has got smaller as I've gotten older. And if anxiety has taught me one thing; it's that worrying about situations you have no control over isn't healthy - thus I realized the news wasn't for me. If something happens that'll affect me personally, I'll hear about it. But asides from that I figured the doom mongering, the violence, the wars, the corruption etc etc simply wasn't worth my time.

Another change I made 3 months ago was getting rid of my smart phone. Going back to a basic phone has made things so much simpler. Speaking of simplifying things I'm going to do 1 final PC build. This time it'll be an HTPC build. A mini ITX case with no GPU other than what's integrated. It'll simply be a means to keep my films, tv shows and music and it'll plug into the TV on the wall in our living room.

Since realizing I needed to quit gaming I've noticed the time spent gaming on my PC has dropped off almost completely. I feel utterly drained of any enthusiasm or love for it. After today's realization I feel rather embarrassed that I let it get this far.

The beginning of this year I had my artwork displayed in a gallery for 3 months during an exhibition. Since being told I'd been accepted into the exhibition I stopped drawing altogether. I find the enthusiasm for other hobbies comes and goes. In this dry spell with my art the gaming ramped up hugely. The same with my photography, guitar, cycling, cooking, creative writing walking...everything eventually wound up on the back burner because sitting down in front of a video game was easier than putting the effort into indulging in hobbies that'd actually CREATE something in the REAL world.

But nothing in this life that's worthwhile is ever easy. Gamer friends tried to justify trying "moderation" but I encountered that old phrase before I ended 7 wasted years as a stoner. I find I tend to be all or nothing and if I continue down this road with my gaming addiction I think it'd leave me with nothing to show for it except an ever increasing self hatred.

Similar to my journey with anxiety, this road won't be short and simple. But I know it'll help me grow and mature as a person. In the end this realization that gaming was simply another addiction that took more than it could ever give is a blessing. I'll keep you guys posted. The journal won't begin properly until I've sold the aforementioned items.

Ed

Edited by raggamuffin
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Thanks for your reply and taking the time to read my post.

Since I did the maths and realized how much I'd been gaming I haven't touched any games in the past 2 days. 

It feels similar to previous addictions; when I reach a point of stark realisation that it's ruining the quality of my life or jeopardising my happiness and fulfilment in life I tend to quit cold turkey with very little resistance. 

That's not to say that I won't still be selling my gaming related tech, because I think it'd be counterproductive to leave me access to something I've clearly been addicted to for most of my life.

Ed

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