There is a really fantastic article titled You’re Wasting Your Spare Time, and It’s Killing Your Success. For the lazy, the upshot is that ‘spare time’ really does define the overall success of one’s goals.
Most adults focus our non-spare time on the bare necessities - working on jobs that pay for food, rent, and other essentials. But all of us have goals outside the basics needed for survival. Write a book, get in shape, learn a new language - whatever. The point is, no matter how small or large the goal is, by definition it has to be done in one’s spare time.
The more I age, the more I realize that what you do in your spare time really does define you as a person. This is particularly important because spare time is one of the few moments in life when no one watches you. You might be all alone at home on a weekend, locked in your room. You can do anything with minimal consequences - except, of course, opportunity costs.
Activities like video games have an effect of taking up virtually all of my free time. This is particularly true for mobile games that constantly require more time and money; the games themselves are designed to be habit-forming (read spare time sucking) and ultimately swallowing up one’s entire life. And the benefit is extremely minimal.
There are of course social benefits - relating to gamers (who are prevalent on the internet), understanding the esports space, and relating to general pop culture (games like Skyrim were a phenomenon). But I’ve found gaming is one of the most addicting hobbies to have, and it’s been a hobby I’ve done for most of my life. I’m not really learning anything new, and more importantly, none of my long-term goals are advanced by it.
A lot of people ‘actively’ play - they analyze games and use insights to develop games of their own. But the vast majority, myself included, just zombie-out after a hard day with some video games - taking the ‘edge’ off. More and more, I think that line of reasoning is just a cop out solution that serves to hide the underlying issue without addressing the real concerns.
Over the past month I got fairly deep into gaming again, and I’ve definitely reaffirmed that I’m not missing out on much. I started watching Twitch, following popular Hearthstone streamers on Youtube, and got very actively involved in the esports Twitter scene. It was a fascinating month-long ‘research session’ into how esports has evolved and the various opportunities in the space.
While it’s interesting, it’s definitely not for me.