I’ve always been sentimental and tender of heart. No, really. I once buried a dead bee and held a modest ceremony for it. Even constructing a small, ornamental cross fabricated from twigs. I nickname my Pokemon after deceased family pets. And I spend more time reflecting on memories than I do firmly concentrated on the future, a mistake I’m looking to amend. The one thing I’ve always resented though is the implication that making the most of my youth entailed drinking excessively and spending much of my weekends in states of self inflicted unconsciousness. That always seemed contrary to the utilisation of youthful vitality. I guess one could argue that gaming was a careless use of resources but let’s not argue semantics. I’m glad however that this was a lesson I’d learned at a relatively young age and maintained a group of friends equally fastidious with their drinking habits. There was only ever one reason I continued such nocturnal proclivities and that was to meet a girl. Not just any girl. I wasn’t one of those guys that would/could attract women for one night liaisons. In my romantic mind I wanted to meet a girl I could eventually settle down with. So I was doubly lucky to have met my girlfriend at such a modest age. You see in the UK the vast consumption of alcohol is a culturally accepted prelude to marriage. You’re solemnly obligated by the writ of these nocturnal transgressions as a sort of biographical heritage to adolescent infamy and stupidity. A time when you were made of magic and elastic. When the whims of sordid nonchalance can be experienced and imparted to you’re children when they eventually continue with the traditional family heritage.
It was around this time that I neglected gaming, just stopped altogether. Instead focusing on being incredibly sociable. Actually talking, conversing and laughing with real people colloquially known as “friends”. It was a strange time in my life I’ll admit. I’d get home from work, have a quick shower, get changed, if time permitted line my stomach with whatever dinner my mother had prepared and head straight to the pub. At that time of partial independence, when I could come and go as I pleased without protestations from my mother, just as long as I was respectful of the neighbours, money was an expendable commodity. I could purchase consoles without hesitation, and did! I bought a GameCube with my first pay-check with enough games and accessories to make an Asian teenager blush! Now of course I have to consider the financial implications of such frivolous activities. I didn’t spend any time playing my newly acquired utility though, oh no. I was too busy engaging in all night drinking sessions that often ended with me collapsed outside a kebab shop covered in discarded salad. Thursday through to, well Thursday was our time to drink, play pool and make terrible attempts at wooing the fairer sex, with my idea of courting attractive young ladies involved avoiding any form of contact and instead relying on the mental clairvoyance I shared with them. It wasn’t that successful.
I never had a plan, hell I never wanted one! I thought spontaneity would evoke some kind of direction in my life. That Mufasa would beseech me from the heavens and instruct me on how to proceed. And in a way I guess that’s how it was, just minus the ethereal Lion emerging from the clouds! That entire year (of being 18) was a perpetual thrift of excessive drinking, partying and headaches. It was fun, but I’m glad I got it out of my system early. I met my girlfriend when I was 19, enjoyed further evenings of alcoholic consumption, just not in the same devastating way I used to. I also reconciled with gaming, making use of my additional funds to buy any game I desired and play until my thumbs seized into entropy. And I haven’t stopped since. I look around at people my age who persist in these arcane routines when maturity should have developed, plying themselves with liqueurs while you’re walking the dogs with you’re wife and kids in the park. And you realise that gaming isn’t the most childish thing you could be doing.
What are you glad you learned early? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.