...it's flaying me to the soul.
Nostalgia can lead to happy, rose-colored feelings. It can also lead to depression.
The other day I was posting about Alejandro and was feeling depressed I couldn't find an old character sheet for the guy. Tonight, I took the time to look through old boxes of RPG stuff that I haven't inspected in years. I found copies of "Alejandro." Hell, I found stuff going back to 1981 or '82.
Tons of stuff.
Character sheets upon character sheets upon character sheets. Several maps of dungeons. Almost no notes on what the dungeons held...unless for non-D&D adventures (like Dragon Quest, where I had to "convert" D&D tropes to DQ).
And mixed into it all, the documents of my life. I found notebooks for math, for science, for history. Journals. Information on colleges and universities. Information on scholarships. All with RPG crap written all over it or in the margins. Did I ever focus on anything besides gaming?
Apparently not. I'm a fairly smart guy and I got pretty good grades through my many, many years of schooling. But it is readily apparent that I wasted a lot of time. Focusing on escapist fantasies when I could have been doing so much more.
Shit. Now I see why I haven't looked at this stuff in years.
I have a pretty good life, so I suppose things have worked out for me in the end...I mean I have a solid job that pays moderate, has great benefits, and a government-backed retirement plan. I have a beautiful, intelligent, and talented wife that is adventurous and makes twice the money I do. I have a fantastic new house in my favorite neighborhood of Seattle. I have two beagles that are fairly well-trained and so cute they literally stop traffic. I've traveled to Europe and Asia and Central America and I've learned more German and Spanish in the last few years than all the French I studied in college. Plus, I'm still young enough and fit enough that if I put my mind to it, I could probably lose the extra weight I've put on around the middle over the last ten years with little struggle.
But it's depressing. I realize I have a touch of the obsessive-compulsive, and a predisposition towards escapism, but wow. What wasted potential. Not that I'd be out curing cancer, or even involved in politics (well, maybe speech-writing, probably not running for office). But, f---. If I was going to spend so much of my life on gaming, you'd think I might have done something with THAT. Like actually trying to publish something besides a blog....
I have spent many a conversation with peers, older folks, and "young whippersnappers" expounding on how the youth today doesn't learn shit in school, and are squandering their potential. And here I see I did the same goddamn thing in MY youth. Maybe I didn't have the internet or cell phones or texting or f'ing "twitter" but I did the same damn thing. Hell, I could have been saving the world, protesting a war, feeding the hungry or SOMEthing. Instead I spent time gaming, thinking about gaming, blah, blah, blah gaming.
[truth be told, I also spent a lot of time dating girls and/or pining after girls, but that's for a different blog from this one]
Now I have a mortgage, and a spouse and beagles to feed...I've got obligations to attend to, and gaming is just a nice little hobby on the side. But this stroll down "memory lane" has made me feel a bit o shame...that's the God's Honest Truth. And that's even without thinking about the shit that actually went down while or because of gaming...plenty of skeletons in those closets!
I'm not looking for hugs, or consolation. But while posting the past on this blog, I've been trying to give an honest accounting and not too rosy a view. And now I see that the past has even a little more ugliness than I remembered. It's like looking back on the landfill of your life and seeing there's a lot of stuff you could have recycled or reused rather than polluting the earth. Yeah, maybe it's not all that bad but Scorpios like myself sometimes wax negative (and exaggerate or exacerbate) with our perceptions. Just like Virgos can sometimes be hyper-critical (you know who you are!).
Ah, well...there's still good that comes from playing face-to-face RPGs. In the future I will strive to emphasize the positive and will do my best not to allow my fantasy world to interfere with tangible here-and-now.
'Course, that may mean curtailing the blog, as well....