Derek Tillotson

Cutting back (maybe out?)

This is my first Lent as a Catholic. And as is tradition among Catholics during Lent, I chose to “give up” something during this period of six weeks. However, about a week ago, I decided to make a turn and added something else to my Lenten penance: Stopping video games.

I’ve done gaming breaks before. And when I reflect on those breaks, a few thoughts hit me:

  1. I always find that I don’t miss gaming nearly as much as I would think.
  2. I end up reading a lot more.
  3. I find it easier to concentrate throughout the day.
  4. At the end, I tell myself I’m going to “ease back in” and within two weeks I’m back at full speed.

But now, after about a week, I’ve decided to finally start taking steps to make either a “cut back on” or “cut out” gaming a reality. I’m making plans to sell at least one older console (that I mostly use as a DVD/Blu-Ray player), I’ve replaced Windows on my Desktop with Linux (specifically ZorinOS), and I’m looking into offloading a few other consoles and such.

Ultimately, what I’m leaning toward is that the only video game devices I have left are my Nintendo Switch and my iPhone. And the iPhone is an SE, so gaming on that is…not always pleasant. As for the Switch, I’m not too sure what the future has in store for that thing. I may just pack it away and take it out only when there are specific things I want to play (like new Pokemon content). The idea would likely be to force myself to unbox and connect the Switch to the TV each time I want to play, then box it back up after each session. That seems inefficient enough to make it worthwhile. But I’m not too sure if I’d be disciplined enough to follow though.

But gaming has been a big part of my life for pretty much all of it. So if I stop, what then?

1) Read more. Right now, I’m trying a system where I’m balancing 4 books at once, and I’ll read from at least two a day. First, I’ll read scripture. I’m working through the Gospels, one chapter at day, using the Word on Fire Bible. With that, I’m also reading all the commentary and teaching alongside it. I’m trying to also read the daily Mass readings of the Catholic Church. Alongside scripture, I’m also reading The Brothers Karamazov, as that is something I’ve been wanting to read for a few years. Given the density of that book, I suspect it’s going to take a while. I’m also poking at C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and Ovid’s collection of myths Metamorphoses, but I’m not too concerned about how quickly I get through them.

2) Eat better. I’m fat. Time to be not fat. Once I get enough energy, I plan to start working out more. Maybe I’ll join a gym.

3) Write more. Like this.

4) Focus on being a better man. I wasn’t asked to choose a patron Saint when I was confirmed, but if I had, I would have picked St. Joseph, as he’s someone who you can model masculinity after.

5) Better myself in other ways. I’m taking a course to see if I’m intrigued by teaching English as a foreign language. I’ve inquired about volunteer roles. Maybe I’ll do another graduate certificate paid for by my employer. I’m not too sure where this will lead me, but I’m excited to go there.