how to quit playing video games

Do You Play Video Games? Or Do Video Games Play You?

Procrastination 2 Comments

I’ve been playing video games my whole life. I’ve played dozens of different ones, resulting in thousands of hours of entertainment.

 

I did have a bit of a gap, though. From about 2001 to 2009, I was on top of the world. I had lots of friends, was in the greatest shape of my life and did well in school. I didn’t really have time to play video games because I was busy doing other things.

Sure- I’d pick them up now and then. But the number of hours I spent during that entire stretch of time is probably about the same as I played in 2015 alone.

 

Since 2010, I’ve been a regular gamer. In the last six years, I’ve spent thousands of hours playing video games.

The funny thing is- these last six years have been the least productive years of my life. 

As I write this I’m overweight, have the lowest income since getting my undergraduate degree (because I’m in school again) and have neglected dozens of side projects.

It wouldn’t be fair to blame video games of course. Nobody forced me to play them. I chose to do it to escape from reality. But escaping from reality that much makes me think of this quote from Seneca’s essay The Shortness of Life“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”

There’s an opportunity cost for everything- just like we all learned in Economics. By choosing to partake in this form of entertainment and escapism, I paid the cost of not doing more productive things like call old friends or work out.

While I don’t want to work 100 hours a week, I do want to be more well-rounded. Play a musical instrument. Build a side business. Reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. Do more home improvements.

…well, maybe not the home improvements.

That’s why I sold my Playstation 4 today, and am going to put my gaming PC up for sale as well. 

I’m not giving up video games forever- this is more of a recess. Just a few months ago I talked about how I don’t think I’ll ever completely give them up.

This is a time for me to buckle down and focus on other things, like completing projects (such as this website) that I started and are important to me.

When I picked up my empty bookbag and walked away from the Playstation, I felt lighter. My bookbag was only a few pounds lighter, but I felt about 50 pounds lighter because I knew I had one less thing dragging me down now.

 

2 thoughts on “Do You Play Video Games? Or Do Video Games Play You?

  • Alex

    Hey man, I have been at the same spot a few years ago. Let me tell you are on the right path right now.

    Don’t stop doing what is most important to you (writing, working out…). Don’t stop no matter what, do it first thing in the morning if you have to.

    When the initial excitement passes (unfortunately it will) and when doubts start creeping in, come back to your first posts and remind yourself why you are doing this.

    Make consistency the new habit by never missing a day of doing what is important.

    I’ll be reading.

    Best wishes

  • Justin Post author

    Thanks for your comment, Alex!

    The funny thing is that I’ve taken small breaks from video games in the past and have found I don’t really miss them. Sure, they’re nice on a lazy Sunday afternoon or to burn a few hours late on Saturday night. But to have it sitting there tempting me away from more important things all week just isn’t worth it.

    Instead, I’ll just fill those evenings and afternoons with other things I enjoy like reading and sleep! If I’m going to be waking up earlier (because I’m more productive early in the morning,) I need to get to sleep at a reasonable time, like 9pm.

    Anwyays, thanks again for your encouragement brother! Take care

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