Monday, December 23, 2019

Home for the Holidays

Well, now. It's been a busy week and a half.

Folks who have (or who have had) young children can understand the busy-ness of the last couple weeks of the year, what with school ending for winter break...complete with classroom parties, holiday concerts, and field trips. Adding to that the shopping, decorating, cookie baking, office Christmas parties, prepping the house for the arrival of guests (in my case, my wife's parents: mis suegros will be with us till January 4th, which is awesome), sneaking around presents and wrapping stuff...well, it's been crazy. The in-laws are late nighters, especially given the two hour time difference, and I've been up till 1 or 2 in the morning every night since they've got here (along with waaaay too much alcohol consumption). Given that the dogs still get me up early, it's been rough.

Not that I'd change it. Exhausting as it is, and as costly (make no mistake, feasting relatives for a couple weeks is a drain on Ye Old Coffers), the festive holiday atmosphere is amazing and this time together with family is something to be cherished.

But it is a constant nag at me that my familial responsibilities pull me away from my game-related activities: not just blogging and biz-related writing, but playing...both in the form of actual table play and the "DM play" of prep work and world building. And, YES, I understand and realize that there are many, many folks who would happily change situations with me, that they would prefer doing festive holiday "stuff" instead of gaming, but that gaming is all they have, or that gaming is a much-needed escape from the toils and hardships of a not-very-festive season. I get that.

I also get there are plenty of folks who incorporate their gaming into their holiday festivities, that gaming is something they look forward to during the holidays with family and old friends. But that's not me; it's just never really been me. Gaming is something I've always done separate and apart from my family...with the exception (sometimes) of my brother, though he's never taken the gaming thing as serious as myself and games with him always had a good chance of devolving into frustration.

My identity in my "real life" is just so different from the one I bring to my gaming activities. Or, rather, it's NOT all that much different, but it seems strange to my non-gamer family, friends, colleagues, etc. that I would bring such seriousness to something so "silly" as a game. Why do I need to spend so many hours and work on such a thing, reading and writing and researching and thinking and prepping? Why is it so important? People whose most complex gaming is Apples to Apples or Monopoly just don't get it. There are more important things to worry about in the world; they don't have the free RAM space in memory.

And, yet, the things that matter to my loved ones ARE important to me, too: religion and politics and child raising and family and being a constructive member of society and how the local sports team is doing (very badly after yesterday) and...well, whatever. These things matter to me, too, and it's part of why I so enjoy my time with my non-gamer clan.

But a lot of times I feel they don't get me. And a lot of times I feel like I'm being a bit of a fraud...not only because I put on a face of "it doesn't bother me that I'm losing time that could be spent on my gaming obsession" (which it does, even while it would ALSO bother me if I ignored my family to indulge in the game thing)...but because I'm not including them in my passion. I keep it to myself, perhaps selfishly.

Mainly because when I bring it up and they hit me with a blank stare and a look of ''huh, what?" it makes me question the value of something so much a part of my identity.

My son gets it a bit. I've molded him a lot in my own image, of course. But I don't want to game with him, not yet. Hell, I really want him to develop his own imagination and way of thinking...I don't want him being a carbon cut-out of his "pops." And I want him to have a chance to be a child; I don't want him to step into the mental shoes of an adult (even a fantasy game version). But I don't want to tone down MY game for HIM either...I have no interest in running "No Thank You Evil" at this time. I'd rather play Axis & Allies (or some form of BattleTech) with him.

Or, heck, we get a lot of mileage out of just passing the football back and forth. And it's a lot more (mentally) relaxing.

But it's the wife that really hurts. I love my wife, but...well, never mind. Now is not the time to air out all the ways she and I don't jibe, when we DO get along in many ways that are very important. If she could have "cured" me of my gaming obsession, she would have done so years ago.


The point of this post is: I'm busy at the moment. Busy having Christmastime fun, busy with family, far too busy (at the moment) to write the posts I want to about bounty hunters and alignment and campaign world building and illusionists (illusionists? what? see Anthony Huso's blog for more info). I spent a lot of free time yesterday going over my posts from last April regarding the Grand Duchy of Karameikos: there's actually a lot of nifty ideas in there...kind of want to take the best of them and squish 'em into something.

[I know it's a little ridiculous to read my own content for authors read their own novels after they've published them? But that's the kind of stuff I'm often looking for...and so seldom finding...on the inter webs. I'm a strange duck]

I hope to get a couple more posts done before the end of the year...I was really hoping to get MORE posts done than 2014 (when I hit 120). We'll see if it happens. Regardless, I doubt I'll have the chance to blog again till after the please let me take this moment to wish you ALL a very merry Christmas and (regardless of your religious persuasion) a joyful week. If you can game, do so. If you can be with loved ones, do so. And appreciate the time you have. My very good friend just lost his mother yesterday, unexpectedly, and it's just another reminder of how precious our time here is. Enjoy it the best you can.

Happy holidays to one and all.
: )


  1. Merry Christmas to you and yours, JB.

  2. It's sad that you can't enjoy and embrace your greatest passion with those you love. Heartbreaking, actually. I would count myself lucky that I have a partner who enjoys all facets of gaming as much (or at least close to it) as I do. But I don't do that because it wasn't luck - I long ago decided that I would rather spend my life alone than be with someone who didn't "get" my passion (or, worse, derided me for it). But your online family does "get" you, so from one "strange duck" to another, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

    1. @ ChrisB:

      It may well be that I’m the one who needs to adjust unrealistic expectations...and who knows what the New Year will bring (as our family dynamic constantly changes with our growing children)?

      Regardless, I appreciate the kind wishes. Merry Christmas!