Published on January 21st, 2015 | by Westin
Gaming while Unemployed. Why it’s not-so-great.
Wake up, work out, eat lunch, lounge around for an hour, search for job openings, maybe apply for one or two that seemed to have career potential, eat dinner, watch a movie and then… play video games.
For three months, that was my life. It was an endless cycle that quite frankly felt more and more depressing with each following day. Why? Because I felt stuck. It was like playing an unfamiliar game genre for the first time with no hints. Ya, good luck getting to the next level without the internet (the main reason why I don’t live in the middle of a forest).
Anyway, as I mentioned before I was feeling depressed and when people feel depressed, they often look for ways to divert their attention from the matter at hand. Some people exercise, some people abuse substances, and some… play video games. I was the latter.
Despite having played video games for years, this was the first time I could recall playing for a reason other than just having fun. I was really trying to escape. To think about something other than my less-than-desirable situation and I quickly noticed to my dismay, gaming lost much of its magical, happiness producing goodness. Not because the games I played were bad (The Wolf Among Us was awesome), but rather that when gaming I felt I wasn’t positively contributing to my future.
I know that seems kind of silly because when most of us play video games we don’t go into it thinking “I’m positively contributing to my future” in terms of financial or career growth (though I would say it can positively affect our emotional day-to-day state). That lack of personal growth produced a feeling that negatively affected my gaming experience. I even came to a point where it just felt wrong to play like I was doing nothing with my life. And even though I would only play late at night and never during the day (which I reserved for being productive), I just couldn’t shake the feeling.
I soon realized that up to this point, gaming was always an add-on to my life rather than the main part. Like an add-on to school or when I was trying to build a YouTube business. But now, I had no main everyday activity that was moving my life forward. I was in a limbo and it was especially hard knowing that I’d be getting married in less than a year with no job lined up. Not to mention that my fiance was working full-time.
For the first time (or at least one of the first times), gaming wasn’t making me happy. Really all that was was seeing my fiance on the weekends and seeing friends from time-to-time. But thankfully after a long three months, gaming and I once again enjoy spending time together. The solution? Well, getting a job.
While on some level I wish I could say that gaming helped me overcome my hump, I’d be lying to you if I said it did. However through all of this, I’ve come to better understand my relationship with gaming. I, and I’m sure many of you, need to feel that you’re moving forward in life and since gaming wasn’t enhancing my ability to earn more money, have the career I wanted, or bring about world peace (at least not yet), gaming has become that buddy I hang out with on occasional evenings and with groups of friends. Unfortunately, gaming can’t solve my problems or times of emotional hardship, but it can help with blowing off a little steam and having a fun night of storytelling and gameplay.
What has your experience with gaming been like while being unemployed/employed? Has your relationship with gaming changed over the years? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!