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I’m sorry I can’t play with you. My priorities have changed. Family, productivity, and longevity have replaced all the game playing of my former self.

Much of my favorite past-times consisted of playing games. Although I do see some value in the skills games cultivated in me as a young person, there’s just so little time for playing around today.

These days I only seem to find time to play games with my family. Games are a great way for me to show them I can disconnect from my work and just be with them.

I used to play so many games. I may have played more than a few with you. Yet arcades, online multiplayer, and the ilk have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Strategy takes on a different meaning. Instead of civilizations and empires I’m building brands and a company.

In lieu of fighting games and sports, I perform and compete in the real world, and even those games have purpose beyond just playing around. Real-life pursuits increase my discipline, knowledge, health, and stamina. My neuro-plasticity improves from constantly undertaking novel and creative endeavors.

Playing games may do some of this, but there are no consequences if I fail, and no real opportunity for reward if I win.

x-men cabinet

Photo by Kyle Nieber

I do still want to play with you. I can still feel the call of the games. The urge is still present.

I want to win, but in more than a “You Win!” or my initials on a scoreboard kind of way. Winning now consists of making good investments and acquiring income-producing assets.

I still want to chase and take down bad guys, but I can do that opposing real injustices, not just against pixels on a screen or pieces on a board. I want to take part in intense preparation and practice, and taste the sweetness of victory, but I want it to be worth more than just bragging rights and a quick dopamine hit.

In my life today there is no “GAME OVER,” except perhaps when death comes—and in that, I’m not truly certain. As soon as one project is completed, or some challenge overcome, the next few are already underway with even more queued up for completion.

Please don’t take offense if I’m rarely around, or my head seems elsewhere when I am. It’s not your fault. My desire to be a better husband, father, a better business-person, and altogether a better man, has replaced my once frivolous desire to fuck around.

And if I used to play games with you, I’ll always cherish the memories. Without them, and without you, I wouldn’t be on the path that I am today.

One day we may play some more  , but the games will surely look different—I’m certain. Instead of consoles, dice, and controllers, we’ll reenvision the meanings of words like cooperative and continuePlaying the game will take on a whole new meaning.

In the interim, however, I hope you understand why I’m telling you I can’t play with you.

Written by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Title photo by Andre Hunter

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