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I have a confession: My husband is a gamer. Although this is no secret, I set it up like this because I notice I am confronted by an onslaught of judgement, preconceptions and assumptions when I describe him in this light. It seems clear to me, gaming is still not socially acceptable. There are a lot of nerd categories and people who embrace geekiness to some degree (I, for one, am a self-proclaimed literary nerd). In many ways nerdiness is the new cool. After all, The Big Bang Theory is one of the top rated shows on television. What makes it even more comedic is if you actually know what the characters are referring to.

However, the other day I read a blog about how to quit gaming forever. The blog was written by someone who had fallen out of balance and was gaming sixteen hours a day…every day. There is a line and if crossed over ends up in the territory of gaming addiction which is a whole other topic completely. So, I posed the question, should someone who does not let gaming distract from their real world lives quit? The article made it seem like gaming was not a desirable way to spend one’s time, ever. The response to my question astounded me. The response was that if you are spending your time gaming then you are not spending your time growing. I figured this statement would open a whole new can of worms (to use the old cliché).

My first question was, what if I were reading a book (which society deems a commendable way to spend time) that did not have very good literary content and was purely entertainment? I do not grow from it. The book was not life-altering in any way. I  merely enjoyed it. Would that mean that I wasted my time, because I didn’t grow? What about movies? There are the educational kind for sure, but what about the Thor movies, or Transformers? I didn’t grow from those movies, so are they not valuable because they are purely hedonistic? This lead me to a different question altogether: Is it natural to grow all the time?

The tulip has a winter. It does not grow 365 days a year.

I, personally, think I would cave in on myself if I did not just do stuff for pleasure as opposed to growth. I need the down time. Like, the tulip, if I do not take the time for hibernation and “non-growth” I would not have the strength to grow.

The blog did have some eye-opening breakdown as to why people game. Games give you constant measurable growth and they are social at the same time. I would be lying if I told you that my husband and I had never argued about gaming. It is a life I never understood. It was my lack of understanding that caused the arguments, not the gaming itself. I also had to come to terms with the fact that I did not put any value in gaming. I had many arguments with myself about why I thought this. Why, if he were spending his time reading a book would I appreciate it more that hearing the incessant click of a keyboard? After reading that blog I understood the attraction and it actually made me feel more accepting of gaming in general.

Today I went into a “nerd store” so my husband could buy a new monitor for his computer. A guy that worked there got onto the topic of gaming with my husband and we then got into a conversation about how it is not socially acceptable, but on its way. He told me he knew guys who were addicted. One guy (weighing in at 400 pounds) played so long that he ended up with a blood clot that almost killed him. After that he changed his life. He was working in the same store, and I saw him. I would have never guessed he had once been overweight. This particular guy still games, but it is now in moderation. I believe that is the message. Everyone has their reasons for doing things, but balance is key.

I don’t agree that my husband should quit gaming because he does not grow when he gets in front of the screen. The down time gives him a break. He is a better husband for it. I do not have the right to judge. After reading that blog, my judgments are off the table.