I have a rule of sorts when it comes to my iPhone and iPad: no games. I don’t play games through Facebook either. I’m not entirely against video games; I loved my Super Mario Bros. as a kid! I feel there is a time and a place for video games, but that window is very small. My boyfriend, on the other hand, finds that window to be much larger. Generally, I chalk it up to video games being his hobby, his downtime fun. Admittedly, this is sometimes hard to accept.
I spent months and months ignoring his and my friends’ recent addictions to Candy Crush. (Bright jujubees and jimmy-covered cookies, what’s not to like? Just like the taste of sugar, Candy Crush hooks into everyone’s sweet tooth.) Then I wondered, how had my addiction begun? Sitting in the airport one day while the boyfriend amusedly played on his cell phone, he suggested that I download Candy Crush onto my own phone to amuse myself on the plane. Done. The plane flight lasted an hour. The addiction lasted, more or less, sixty days.
Instead of reading, writing my novel, and being present, I was busy swiping and swapping in rhythmic patterns. Instead of grabbing my notebook to journal, or stretch into morning, I’d pull my iPad onto my lap until I lost my five lives. In the evening, I forewent blog reading or a relaxing bath for another five lives … and sometimes more.
I became irritable and complained that I didn’t have time to do the things I once had typically enjoyed in my down time. In fact, I wrote a list of all the things I would like to do now if I had more time. When I reviewed the list, it was clear that this simple game had me distracted. I had to delete it. What I would gain in doing so would be a half hour here and there that could easily add up to a half a day or more each month.
I don’t know about you, but I could do a lot with half a day. I could spend it at the barn riding horses, get through a chapter of a recent novel purchase, or better, write one. I highly recommend if you are strapped for time on a weekly or daily basis to make a journal of your activities. Perhaps you spend more time than you think with unnecessary activities and could take on more meaningful or satisfying tasks. Your vice might not be Candy Crush; maybe it’s a compulsive Twitter following or tv show. But take a look and see if you can surprise yourself and gain back the time we so often feel has somehow disappeared.