For Christmas I bought my husband, Rick, a Play Station 3. It’s something he has wanted for awhile, and I splurged after the crappy year we’ve had. He was thrilled as was our oldest son, E. They love video games.
When I was younger, I would eagerly look forward to visiting friends and babysitting children who owned Nintendos. I would play Tetris until I closed my eyes and all I could picture were shapes falling from the sky. As a child I owned an Atari. I remember once my mother getting furious with me because I had stayed in my room nearly all day with eyes glued to my little black and white television mastering level 473 of PacMan (which, by the way, looked identical to one of the first three levels). I loved video games as a child and teenager, but as an adult….eh.
With this expedition to try something new everyday, I figured playing one of the new video games with my son, E, would be a great idea. After all, it is so obvious when he plays how much fun he’s having. If it was that much fun, I wanted to do it, too. He begged me to play his NBA game with him, but I would like to end the day with some dignity. Therefore, playing NBA videogames against him is to be avoided at all costs. However…..FIFA soccer was a different story. He had not yet played that video game so it would be new to us both and I would have a chance …. albeit a small one ….. to avoid a slaughter.
You know how you have a picture in your mind of how things are going to happen before you actually do them. That was me considering today’s task of playing a new video game on our new video game system. I thought back to the glory days when four of the ten high scores in the Galaga machine at the local arcade had my initials. I imagined E and I battling it out, talking smack, getting our heart pumping from the excitement of a last second buzzer beater goal.
The reality: I played two minutes and was bored. Definitely not bored with my competition, but bored with video games. I imagined every time I tried something new it would be enjoyable and fun, but the reality is that’s not possible. And honestly, we don’t try new things just to do something fun. We do it to stretch ourselves and because it helps us to see the world in new ways. While I may have been bored with the game, I enjoyed the opportunity it gave me to share a new experience with my son. It wasn’t an activity I would choose to do for fun, but it is something he would choose. And that’s important. I hope during the course of the year, I can remember to not focus my new things just on me, but to find new things that help me to connect with others.
Oh, and if he tells you he killed me in FIFA soccer, he’s lying. Remind him that he barely won and that beating someone by just two goals is not killing them.