I'll be the first to admit that gaming can be fun. Heck, I've been playing on games consoles for almost a quarter century, but one thing I can say is that growing up as a child I had a 'proper' childhood. Playing with toy cars, Lego, Thomas Tank's & drawing etc. I always would much sooner go out and kick a football around with a couple of friends than sit in on my own playing games or sit and play Lego with my little sister at the age of 12, making my Mum lock the garden gate so if any of my mates came they didn't see me playing with toys as a teenager.
I grew up in the era that was just before the online gaming phenomenon and am thankful for that. I came from a time when gaming with friends was sat on the same sofa playing split-screen games. I didn't get an online capable console until I was 13, but as soon as I got one it started to change. Sure we still went outside more than the current teenagers do but looking back I can see a decline in the amount of times I went out. A decline that sped up when I left secondary school, mainly due to us going to different college's & sixth forms and then onto Uni where our group became more spread out than ever. To the point where I almost never went out. I ended up joining an online forum and now I have a completely different set of friends from online with, to be honest, more common interests than my friends with a more physical presence, but none of the shared memories of years spent together in person. I became part of an eSports team backed officially by a well known Motorsport sponsor, it was probably at this point that I realised it had gone too far. I thoroughly enjoyed my time being part of that eSports team but it has recently come to an end after me realising that I don't want gaming to takeover my life anymore.
That epiphany came during a stroll around my local National Trust site with my camera. I left the house with only 2 hours before the sun was due to set yet I wasn't rushing. I was sat on a log with a flask of tea, not even bothered about getting any photos, simply being there, enjoying it. That 2 hours felt like 4, yet when I'm on my Xbox, those 4 hours can feel like 1! I thought to myself, what's the point? Why do I play Xbox? And, currently with no internet to talk to those online friends I am simply playing to waste time. Waiting for my Fiancee to return from work. So I'm making a promise to myself for the new year that I won't spend excess time with my face in a TV screen. I'm not one for making New Year Resolutions, but this year I need to. I'm challenging myself, if it's light outside and I have free time, I'm out with the camera somewhere! No questions asked. There's no excuse, I have all the gear to stay dry & warm.