Growing up, I used to love playing video games. My next-door neighbor and I would spend hours camped out in my basement for our daily competition to see who would go farther on Super Mario Bros.
I also used to love digging in the dirt with my toy backhoe and dump trump, playing pretend with my Transformer action figures, and making mud meatballs out of the clay soil in the back of my garage.
Ah to be young with nothing but idle time on your hands.
I used to do a lot of things when I was younger – things that wouldn’t seem very appropriate if you found me doing them at 46 years old. Could you imagine what the neighbors would say if they saw me playing with my Transformer action figures out on the front lawn?
So then what would you think if I told you that I spent hours in my late 40’s still playing video games (this is purely hypothetical)?
For many, the response would be, “what’s wrong with that?” – as playing video games has transcended from being an entertaining activity for kids to an acceptable pastime for adults.
Adults get very defensive if you say anything against their “hobby” as they call it. Quick to point out reputable case studies which support adults playing video games as a way to relieve stress, ignite creativity, and increase hand-eye coordination. All good points I suppose.
But I can’t help but feel that society has started to blur the lines between youth and adults. We see nothing wrong with adults playing video games as an acceptable pastime, but would judge and criticize a 35-year-old woman if we caught her playing hopscotch with herself in the driveway like she did when she was a girl.
Do we see the double standard here? Do we understand that the things we enjoyed as children probably aren’t the things we enjoy as adults? That we find new things to enjoy and more meaningful things to do with our time?
For starters, our opportunities were more limited as a child – our choices were often made for us, or we were guided into activities parents thought we might find interesting.
But today, society is unwilling to give up its youth. We turn to chemicals and surgeries to fool people into believing we’re much younger than we are. We wear clothes that are not age-appropriate, as well as engage in activities that help to reclaim our childhood – to make us feel more like a kid again and less like an adult.
Look, being a kid was a great experience. No responsibilities, no stress, just nothing but time to explore and enjoy having someone else take care of you. I think a lot of us are afraid of getting old, afraid of being the one saddled with the responsibility of others, and dressing and behaving in a way that makes us feel young again provides a sense of comfort.
I get it. Just the other day I told my 8-year-old nephew to stop growing up so fast because once you do, you’ll wish you were a kid again.
But life is all about stages and while I loved being a kid, I’m not one anymore and nothing I do will change that. Stages are what help us develop and grow into the next phase of our lives. Try as you may, you can’t remain in one stage forever, for life brings with it a new set of circumstances that alter the reality you’re currently living in. That’s just the way life is.
Play your video games if you want to, but I ask you to remember the 35-year-old woman playing hopscotch in her driveway.
You wouldn’t think that was appropriate for a grown woman to be playing by herself, maybe it’s time you understood why some people think the same about grown-ups playing video games.