Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Obsession and Real Life Strike Back

I'm not the kind of person to do things at any percentage less than 100%. This approach often leads me to the Dark Wood of Burnout. If I watch a Clint Eastwood western, I usually spend the next few weeks obsessed with all things cowboy. If I see something related to Star Wars (like my son's Millennium Falcon playset) then of course I get a burning desire to dive into a galaxy far, far away.

Oh yes, that's where the burnout comes into play. I'm also sure that burnout is somehow connected to my greatest nemesis: Gamer ADD. But I've conducted what I think is a pretty successful war against that dreaded affliction, having run a coherent Castles & Crusades campaign over the last year, and now I'm running a Labyrinth Lord campaign on which I've been very focused.

When it comes to my return to table-top roleplaying, a venture that I've been succeeding at for about a year and three months, I've definitely been plowing ahead full speed. Both as a player and, much moreso, as a GM. I've always found myself more often in the GM's seat, and I'm quite happy about that arrangement.

However, I firmly believe that GM's make the best really good players, because they know what it's like to be the puppet master behind the screen. So I do find myself from time to time yearning to be a player.

OK, I'm rambling (surprise, surprise).

So, what's my point in this post? Well, I have to admit to myself that I'm feeling a bit burnt. Not the sort of burnt that makes me want to walk away from the table-top. Perish the thought! I'm having way too much fun on a (mostly) weekly basis with some cool people at the shining beacon of All Things Fun (the best little FLGS in South Jersey).

The burnout I'm feeling is due to my penchant for thinking about gaming all day long, every day. Literally. I know I can't be alone in this obsession. I spend so much time every day dreaming of gaming, thinking up plots and hooks, reading gaming materials, etc. At this point in my revived gaming life, I'm feeling like my mind has become a cacophony of gaming thoughts.

There's such thing as too much of a good thing, folks. I have gathered up so much gaming stimuli in my brain, and I'm stirring it up every day to see what shakes loose.

The other source of burnout is "real life." I've got issues with my house and subsequent financial consequences. I've got a wife who I want to spend quality time with, and growing kids who are engaging in more and more extra-curricular activities (such as a pool membership for the summer, and those kids are half fish). I've got a pretty demanding job with an even more demanding boss. And there's other issues in my extended family that I won't go into, and they're taking an emotional toll.

On top of all this, there's all the books I want to read and other personal activities (hiking, exercise in general) that I have been eschewing in favor of all things gaming.

So what's a guy with limited free time to do? The first step is admitting that I need a break. I need to take a step back and collect my thoughts, take a breath.

On a practical level, I'm going to need to talk to my gaming group to let them know where my head is at the moment. I definitely think I am going to have to step away from the GM's chair for a bit. As I've said many times before, they're a great bunch of folks who I know will be supportive. And there are a few of them who are ready/willing/able to run games in which I can be a player.

This self revelation does not equal a cessation of my gaming life. This does not in any way spell the end of my return to roleplaying (or blogging, though my posting has already slowed a bit). I've only just returned "unto the breach." But a soldier needs a respite from the front lines now and then.

Thanks for reading, folks. And as always, happy gaming!

1 comment:

  1. All of this hit me this year as well. So what did I do? Eventually I deleted all of my gaming bookmarks (blogs, resources, forums etc) from my bookmarks bar so that I wouldn't sit at my chair reading it all day long. I gave up trying to play all of the different editions and clones and just stuck with the system I was most comfortable with, despite it not being my "ideal" system because, really, wtf is that? And I just play the game once a week and that's it.

    And it's great.