Is a Life of Games a Life Well Lived?

Image credit: Greg Ortega

Ask yourself: when you’re at death’s door, are you really going to wish you’d played more video games?

Well, maybe.

I mean, why not?

James Delingpole recently suffered a pulmonary embolism, which could very well have killed him. Writing about the experience for The Spectator, he discussed the ways his priorities changed after facing the very real possibility of an early death. For one thing, he decided to play more games.

Playing games is easily one of the top 5 things we’re expected to regret when we look back at our lives, up there with ‘arguing on the Internet’ and ‘watching everything Netflix has to offer.’ But Delingpole makes a strong argument for why his answer to mortality is to play more games, read more books, and stop worrying so much about the details.

One effect is that I’ve been dedicating a lot more time to playing Call of Duty, Saints Row 2 and Medal of Honor on the Xbox … In the past I would have felt guilty about this spectacular waste of life. Now it causes me no qualms whatsoever because a) I’ve decided that it’s an important form of therapy, and b) I’ve remembered how very much I enjoy playing video games and, now I realise how precarious existence is, it seems quite wrong to deny myself so vital a pleasure.

He goes on to talk about his job, and how a possibility that once seemed impossibly stressful–falling out of his current career path of freelance journalism–really may not be that worth getting worked up about.

If you don’t want to die young — and I really don’t — I think this ambivalence is important. Anxiety, fear about your job, about where your next work is coming from, is an absolute killer. It can be so all-consuming you might as well not exist, because it ruins even those moments when you should be relaxed and enjoying yourself. It makes you desperate, needy and afraid to say no, which isn’t exactly conducive to great self-esteem. ‘He ate shit because once you hit 50 what other option do you have?’ I’m not necessarily sure it’s what I want as my epitaph.

There are real, practical factors to consider when we decide on our priorities, and caring less about work isn’t always possible. But one thing is certain: when I look back on my life, I’m going to be a lot happier with the time I spent playing games I loved than the time I spent worrying that I might be wasting precious time.

[The Spectator]
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