I was just thinking a little while ago about how running seems to be one of my latest obsessions... or addiction, if you will. Of course, to me it doesn't quite seem that way, but the strange looks that I am getting from people on the street or in their cars for running on the street in snowy, icy conditions at nosehair-freezing temperatures attests to the fact that OTHERS are certainly thinking that I may be a little... well, you get the point.
Now here is the kicker though... yes, I am running about 4 times a week, so it can certainly be compared to another obsessive hobby that I used to have (namely, EQ) - but that's where the similarities end. Running: between 1-2 hours each session, so at most 8 hours a week of actual running; then count in about 30 minutes each for stretching; on average about 1-2 hours a week maintaining my running blog, reading running news or browsing running items online; 30 minutes a week a emailing my running buddies. So now we have a high end range of ... 12.5 hours a week! Woa, mama!
Actually, not really? It's rather pitifully minimal compared to the 30-50 hours a week I would put into MMOGs during my heydays.
If I actually spent 40-50 hours doing running stuff, I doubt I'd still be alive and kicking. I can't imagine being out and about running for 16 hours a day... I can't even imagine doing that every weekend day, like I used to do with EQ on a regular basis.
So now what do I do with the rest of the time I have? Watching TV (sometimes it's nice to be passively entertained), cooking, reading, browsing junk on the Internet, playing guitar, debating with friends, writing ... the point that I am trying to make here is that I am doing such a variety of activities that won't make me an expert in much, admittedly, but that certainly keeps me more sane and responsive to the external world than sitting in front of the computer every bloody single minute that I have to myself. I still like D&D, I still like the Internet, I still like to try out new games. Just not MMOGs, because of all the computer games I have tried, none have left me as grouchy, mentally checked out and low in feelings of self worth as MMOGs have. The latter is just a god-awful feeling... have you ever felt it?
Let's face it: You are spending 10-20 hours a week on your MMOG of choice? Move along, you likely have little to worry about MMOGs impacting your well-being negatively. 30-50 hours a week? It's time to stop being such a fierce defender of your game existence and insist that it's yo choice to live your life, buddy. After all, you're not ACTUALLY fighting for the last tree on earth. Or trying to find the cure to save the world from Armageddon.
At best, you are only harming yourself. At worst, you are causing some heavy-duty damage on others who rely on you being in this world.
P.S.: And before you start thinking that it is "only" time that is the difference here, think again... time is limited and at the same time pervasive in all aspects of our lives - the length (and sure, the type) of your commitment to a particular aspect of your life and the combination of those commitments shapes who you are as a person.