[TL;DR: I am content with my video game and online focused life and chew over why it is not a 'real' life in the defines of 'having' a life]
This time I woke up with a cat hacking up a hair ball on my back. I was able to eject her from that position before she accomplished her task. But the sunlight filtered in through my blinds, and I stared out at a deep blue sky and rich, green foliage. Summer is here in the USA. Real summer where it gets hot and the sun is up a lot and its quite beautiful from an air conditioned window. And I mean real summer, like real spring and not an Icelandic Summer which is probably like a US late Fall considering what an Icelandic Spring/First Day of Summer is like... anyway...
With warm 'good' weather (I'm a fall/cool but not Icelandic cool weather person) people often go off to do other things. This is at times called, having a life. While I understand this longing for a life and do not begrudge anyone their lifetime adventures one of its side effect is people start to quit the computer to go off and do things and they do not have 'time' for the internet anymore. Or, they decide that the internet is a horrible creature invading their lives and must be cast off to have a 'real life'. I then here how their life/time/whatever has been wasted for the past X/Y/Z amount because of internet/game/non-life.
This is where I sigh.
At work, we often have discussions about things like the perception of the internet. My co-workers may harass me for being a gamer. I ask them what is the difference between my playing my various games and their watching football, often while consuming vast quantities of alcohol to the point that they don't really remember what happened during their pastime. We do things we enjoy in the same chunks of free time. Many of my co workers say that as soon as they get home they are intoxicated and stay that way over their days off. I don't drink so I am missing out, I am informed. Why is theirs defined as a life and mine is not? Often times they say because they can do these things with people or at places. I point out that I can and have done the same. It may not be every weekend but I am not a social person that has any desire to go out and hang out every weekend, or most weekends.
People go out and go to sporting games and socialize. How is this different from me going to meets and making IRL friends out of online friends? I've mentioned my best-friend before. We both just turned 34 (out birthdays are 2 weeks apart). We met at 16. She is riding her motorcycle down to my house next week to hang out with me over the holiday. We normally see each other once or twice a year (we live about 500 miles apart) but the last two years have been busy and messy for us both. I probably will not post much if at all for that span of time because writing takes a lot of focus. Instead, the two of us will play video games, cook food, make candy, and catch up to each other with face time.
Did I mention I met her online, in a chat room, eighteen years ago? We've both grown up, gotten married, she divorced her wife last year, and our lives have moved on while our friendship has stayed strong and been a focus and positive for both of us for over half of our lives?
How real is my life? I work an average of 90 hours every two weeks. I have a home, car, pets, hobbies. I like video games and spend a lot of time at them. I read and write not just about Eve but reading and writing have always been my major pass times. I'm fortunate to be at a point in life where I do not need a second job as I held for most of my adult life to make ends meet. I love my video games and spend a lot of time with them. Do they destroy my life and take away the reality of human to human interaction?
Would I ever have traveled to Iceland and soaked in the Blue Lagoon if not for Eve? Would I have run around Vegas with people I have met IRL because of relationships online? This October I'm going to go and see the Grand Canyon, something I've always wanted to do, after Eve Vegas. After all, its only a fourish hour drive there from Vegas. I meet people and go places, how is that not part of a life? I don't consider myself that well travelled but I have been to more places and seen more of the world, met more people and experienced more things than many of the people I know that have 'real' lives compared to my 'wasted' life.
As a teen I was involved in a MUD (text based online RPG). We had meets up in PA once a year. I wrote 30,000 rooms and built fifty areas for that game. One of the creators of that MUD went on to be hired by Blizzard because of the MUD and technical abilities he had developed there. He went on to be part of Star Wars the Old Republic. I smiled when I saw his name int he developmental credits. He is currently working on his own gaming company. Another of that games developers wound up with a job at my best friends company that she helped him get, years after we stopped playing the game, because he was the perfect fit for the position and because of that they are now employed by a company who likes primary colors in their world known name.
I know well that someone can enter a game to the detriment of their life. But they can do that with anything be it television, movies, any other hobby, drugs, alcohol or even work. Life, to me, is defined by what you do with it. What you make of it. I've never understood why one must throw down their computer, their internet acquaintances and find 'life' as if it can only be found out in the sun.
I know that there is a social stigma around video games, still. And social pressures can be, and often are enormous. For others it is going cold turkey, to break an addiction. That to, I understand. One can have to much of anything to the detriment of ones life. I've developed a pretty hard line for when I will go to bed and I enforce it upon myself even if that means leaving fleets and missing out on grand, in game adventures with those that I play with. That's part of being an adult and something anyone may have to do for anything in their lives.
Life goes on. Things come and go. Changes need to happen on various levels for various reasons. It just seems that the internet or games are always a demon hindering a full life, in these things. And it is not. I count myself fortunate for the chances, opportunities, and people I have met because of the internet and games. May I find more in the future.