Stop… and Breath… and Game…

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Like racing through that last lap on Baby Park in Mario Kart: Double Dash, I’m frantically trying to stumble across the finish line after what has felt like an endless race. Over the next 30 days I will be writing two, 15 page papers on theology, entertaining nearly two dozen guests staying at our house, graduating from seminary, wrapping up my time at my previous church and starting a position at another one. Not to mention E3 and finding out the gender of my child (which will inevitably lead to a total overhaul of our spare bedroom/soon-to-be baby room). Needless to say, I’m a bit frazzled.

What’s funny about times like these though are that when life tends to ramp up and my time is outrageously stretched, I tend to play more video games. I have no doubt that a month from now when things start to settle down a bit (well more like two months from now because of Comic-Con in July) I’ll begin a steady, rhythmic diet of gaming. As it stands now though, the last three years of school have often left me as more of a binge gamer, racing through 30 hour games in mere days so that they didn’t conflict with the onslaught of tests and reading.

However, sometimes I feel like this is the best way to play a game. By allowing myself a few days to block out the world and settle into the realities of Columbia, Arkham, or the Mushroom Kingdom, I’ve often found that I’m able to return to the grind of the real world with a sense of vigor and clarity.

In many ways, gaming sessions like these can act as a form of meditation, they still our hearts and our minds so that our system doesn’t get overloaded.

The end result is that I’m typically better able to prioritize the things that I need to get done because the fiction of games helped to reorient the necessity of reality’s gnawing requests.  So next time your schedule feels like its dragging your behind the leash or the weight of your responsibilities seem to be crushing your ability to enjoy life, maybe take a moment and escape from reality. Let the linear, constricted, and repetitious movements of a fictitious game world take over. Give in to a place where the worst thing that can happen is a game over screen and the demands are never beyond your trained ability. You may find that a break from reality is the most pressing choice that you could make.

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