Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Balance

So today I wanted to talk about something that is WoW related and not WoW related. Please do not stop reading just because I said this. I actually think that it is an important topic that we all need to think about every now and then. Recently I have seen a disturbing trend within our blogging community. It seems like a lot of us are losing our balance. No, I am not talking about stumbling drunk from the consumption of too much adult beverages (as one friend puts it), but I am referring to our balance in our daily every day lives. We saw the first signs of this way back when a well known blogger made it very public that he was dealing with some very real life issues regarding neglecting his family because of spending so much time in the game. It has continued on over the months but here recently we have seen a few more well known (and perhaps not so well known) bloggers decide to step away from WoW (and blogging in some cases) because they had lost the balance in their life.

I know that here recently I have made mention several times of going through some personal stuff which has kept me away from blogging as much as I would like. Some of it has been simply needing to run some errands or do some chores and some of it has been more serious matters. In the end, it all boiled down to balance. Sure I could stick my head in the sand and ignore the things that needed to be done, but that would lead me into even greater issues I am sure. Instead, a long time ago (probably unknown to many) I created a simple balance chart. If I feel I am spending too much time doing something, I can make a quick check against it and say nope, that fits in here or damn what in the world was I thinking (?)! Actually, let me show you exactly how my list looks today (simply as an example):

  • Health - Have to be well in order to be of any use to anyone else.
  • Family - Above all else, my family is important.
  • Work - This was a toss up, but without solid income you would not be able to pursue much else.
  • Friends - I try to be there for my friends whether it is moving furniture or being a shoulder to cry on.
  • Home - The place where you live deserves a spot on your list. If your roof is collapsing, then you best get off your butt and at least dial a roofer.
  • Recreation - This is the stuff you find relaxing. Throw a lot of different things in here including sports, movies, television, games, and even blogging.
That is pretty simple but it is what I follow. I know I mentioned this earlier, but I will say it again here. We have seen some pretty good bloggers decide to give up playing WoW and some that have even stopped blogging altogether. It is not an easy task to find balance in our lives; however, you have to at least try to. I am fortunate in that my wife plays WoW and because of this fact, we can spend time together playing our alts or wreaking havoc in battlegrounds. Sadly we do not get to do enough of this because her schedule constantly changes and I went from normal wake up in the morning and work to waking up in the afternoon and working till late night. Often times I arrive home to see her heading to bed. I know it sounds like a good life right? Well, let's add in my son, who I am not kidding on this, his first words were "zug zug"! Yes, you may play a little too often if your child's first words are related to any video game. Now that he is older, my wife will sometimes allow him to take control of her character and he runs her all around Dalaran (although he spends a lot of time running into walls). Our guild is familiar with our son since he is extremely loud and loves to talk with Edyion in vent (ask if you do not believe me). If he is being roudy, I will sometimes calm him down with a nice WoW Machinima. For some reason he loves "The Lament of the Highborne" on the WoW media tab.
So why all this personal talk? Well, because I feel that too many people become too burried in this game. Yes, it is an escape of sorts from the real world where we sit at our desks, stand in lines, run cash registers, manage departments, organize large events, ect. The problem often is that as human beings we are easily addicted to things. I like to call them crutches. Instead of facing our problems and dealing with them, we are content to get by one more day with whatever our fix may be. I really started thinking alot about this over the last few days since my good buddy Fish has decided to stop playing WoW. You can go check out his post, but the short end of it is that he lost the balance in his life. He does not blame this solely on WoW, but he does point to how much time it has taken up of his life and the things that he could be doing, such as cleaning the house, going to the gym, and practicing his wrestling finisher! (You will have to get him to tell you about that some time.)
I just think that all of us need to make sure that we are living healthy well balanced lives. Ask yourself when was the last time you considered going out with friends as actually going out with friends and not logging into vent to prepare for the epic raid? I know the one area of my life I have been most guilty in is losing touch with my friends that I grew up with. Now I lost touch with many of them long before WoW came into the picture. Some I lost touch with after I got married, and then there were the ones who never played WoW or quit playing WoW that I did lose touch with because WoW was taking up more time. I have cut back some from the game and have decided that I do have some areas of my life that do need more focus on than others, but I refuse to simply reshuffle the deck and throw something else out of balance. I think the big take away from those who decide to give up a game, smoking, alcohol, or anything else that is addictive in nature, is not the fact that they have given it up, but the fact that they know they are out of balance. For the things which can shorten your life, definitely stepping away from it is a good thing, but I would challenge those who have gotten theirselves in a habit (habit equals addiction in nice terms by the way) to not simply push it away but rather learn from what got you there and balance your life out. Am I saying that if you stop playing a video game that you are wrong? Absolutely not, especially if it has had a negative impact on the quality of your life, but do not stop playing one game and replace it with another. Instead take some time and really think about the situation and rebalance your life so that you can live happy with yourself and your decision.
I wish the best of luck for everyone who has made the decision to make these changes as they are often not easy to make and truly take some time to decide upon. Fish, buddy, best of luck in staying away from WoW. Lord knows you are going to need to be strong considering how much we talk about it. I am glad you are going to continue to blog and like many other people have said in your comments, I will miss your take on WoW, but look forward to hearing about your thoughts on other games, especially since I am way too cheap to go out and waste more money on games like Warhammer. Oh and while you may not have been the most coordinated raider out there, you definitely always made it fun, even if it made you mad and angry enough to punch a baby!

3 comments:

RatherNotSay said...

Nice post man. Well thought out. A little more serious than what I expect, but it was personal so kudos on sharing.

Oh yeah!

IM BAAAAAAAACKK!!

Ruhtra said...

Thanks and welcome back.

Tamarind said...

I'm going to miss Fish's blog too - hopefully he'll post occasionally just to keep in touch :)

I am very conscious of the life/wow balance is my own life - I have few committments than you do (no family, so it's all my own selfish pleasures) but I find that when other things go wrong in my life, the balance tilts towards WoW. If everything is rolling along naturally then I find the balance is pretty much self-sustaining but when I get a bit stressed about work or a bit down in general, suddenly I find myself in WoW a hell of a lot more than I, well, I would normally be ... and maybe more than I should be. Like Fish, I don't think this is a problem with the game itself as such but it does provide you with an instant!escape, that's all too easy to over-indulge.

Thanks for the post - gave me pause.