Sometimes we think we’re the only ones who know how to really live life. We laugh at others who spend time thinking about or working on other things, things we personally could care less about. But we all have things we are interested in, and we all like to spend our time differently. We are free to do as we wish, all of us, and it is only natural that all of us would like to spend our time differently, seeing as how we are all very different and unique people. It’s true that some things are more productive than others, but who says that all activities have to be productive anyway? Some activities are done just to have fun, such as most games for example. Some games teach things as well, but the main idea behind a game is just to have fun. Some games allow us to win, or to lose, while some games are endless, they can’t be beat, and some are for one player, while some are for multiple players, so we see that the main purpose of a game is not always competition, it is simply to allow a person to have fun. Is there anything wrong with games because they are not leading up to anything productive? Are they simply a childish distraction from life? Not at all. We all love games, from small children all the way to elderly people. Babies are basically born playing, and whenever I visit my grandparents they’re diligently trying to fill in all the blanks of the newspaper’s Sudoku or crossword puzzle. Games like these are actually quite productive, since they allow us to exercise our thinking, as well our problem-solving abilities. It was actually a game of Sudoku which I played today, a game I’ve never seriously played before, which got me thinking about writing about this today. It was challenging, and I really had to use my brain. It took me quite a long time to fill in all the blanks. If we make a habit of doing such an activity every day then we will be sharpening our minds without a doubt. But apart from these productive games, there are many other games which, as we’ve mentioned, are not so productive. Should the playing of such games be avoided or kept to a minimum? In a way yes, but in a way no. I was never much of a gamer, but my youngest brother David really loves video games, and has a number of different consoles with different kinds of games for each one. My dad is always nagging him about reading a book, and sometimes I jump in as well and mention the fact that reading is a great way to learn about life and the world, but I feel bad because I don’t want to make it seem like gaming is an inferior activity, like he’s wasting his time by having fun. It’s true that we can become addicted to video games, that we can dedicate way more time than necessary to our progress in any game, but the games themselves cannot be blamed. We need to look at the attitude of the player. Everything in life requires balance, so it’s not good to do nothing but play. But the opposite is also true, since people who avoid all kinds of fun and games and are completely obsessed with study, or philosophy, or religion, or with any other scholarly subject, are often missing out on a lot of joy in life. Such people are usually attempting to cut fun out of their lives since they feel that it is a necessary sacrifice, one which they are willing to make in order to finally achieve that great success they are dreaming about. Not everyone can reach the greatest heights however. Many people go through life despising all the good things they’ve been blessed with. They can’t stop to play with their children, they can’t have a fun moment with their wife or husband, and they can’t let their children be children either, since they are always trying to get them to grow up. Other parents never teach their kids responsibility, and this is a great mistake, but to teach nothing but discipline with no time for fun is not good at all either. When I decided to stop drinking and smoking excessively, to start reading philosophical and spiritual books, to start meditating and trying to live life right, I unfortunately became a bit obsessed for a time. I was sick of my old life, and I knew that I needed to make radical changes in my life in order for me to really be able to change, in order to see some real results. The discipline was definitely needed, but one thing which I regret is having been so uptight about it in the beginning. I desperately wanted to change, and so I hoped to spend every second of the day meditating, reading, learning, watching documentaries, etc, and I started to look down at the world, as if everyone everywhere is always wasting time, as if people are simply passing the time without doing anything productive. I felt like this had been my life up until then, drinking and partying and wasting time, so I saw nothing but that in people’s lives. I was bothering my wife about playing too many games on the iPad, I was complaining to her, asking why she doesn’t like to read more, or isn’t more interested in spiritual or philosophical subjects. Everyone has their path to walk, and learning to live life right should not cause us to become more serious than it is good to be, it shouldn’t turn life into one long sacrifice, and it should not cause us to look down at other people simply because they don’t choose to spend their time in the same way as us. Sometimes all we need to do is to stop worrying, to sit back and relax, and to play a game and forget about the stress.
To be continued tomorrow, on Day 66.