Tooned Out

Suburban mommy talks about kicking her online gaming habit.

Location: Redmond, Washington, United States

Just another face in line at the grocery store...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dream On!

I don't update this blog nearly enough, even when inspiration strikes. Today I just happened to check my Statcounter account and that reminded me of an idea I'd had several weeks ago and wanted to write about. I'm pretty beat just now after a busy (and long!) weekend so I don't know if I can do it justice, but best not to put it off any longer. So here it is in a nutshell:

I think that people who game obsessively are missing something. I don't mean that they're a few cards short of a deck, or a couple doughnuts short of a dozen, but rather that there's something lacking in their life, whether they realize it or not. When I started gaming, I had a very full life. I had a husband, children, a house, lots of stuff and loads of responsibility. What I didn't have was a self, an identity. Before Toontown, I lived for my husband, my kids, my house and they were how I defined myself. With Toontown, my identity became a little brightly colored collection of pixels who had a cool name and was way cute and way tough. And had lots of friends. And never got tired. And always had a clean house. And when she got her butt kicked all she had to do was hang out in the playground collecting stars or whatever until she was good as new, ready to take on the toon world again.

Fact is, I couldn't have quit playing and gone back to the same life I had before Toontown. In a weird way, I was more in my fantasy world and once I quit I had to be more in the real world. Toontown kept me in a holding pattern at a time when my real life was overwhelming and overwhelmingly boring at the same time. It kept me limping along, but it was a crutch I used for far too long. It helped me not think about things, but while I was not thinking about things I wasn't dreaming either and I wasn't growing as a real person in real life. I had to quit playing to start dreaming and growing again. Now that I'm not incessantly thinking about the toon me I have time to think about the "me" me. Who that character is, what she likes to do and what she is capable of. It's much harder than playing a toon character, but in the end it's sure to be much more rewarding.

Now instead of my real life suffering because of my fantasy life, my poor little toon is sadly neglected. She may never grow up because I am rarely interested in visiting her. Ah well, better her than me!