Monday, January 14, 2008

WoW Temptations: Welcoming Wearyiness

I started playing the game because my wife was so tired during the first four months of the pregnancy. She wanted my company but lacked the energy to do anything together, even to watch a movie together. After she got home from work I needed to be in the same room as her while she read for an hour or two, and to remain interruptible so that I could care for her when she needed help. With World of Warcraft, I could be with her in the ways yet also be spending time with friends. Both of my wife and I felt spoiled by the arrangement, even if we would rather have been able to do more together. It was certainly vastly superior to some traditional types of husbandly recreation such as spending time with friends at a bar or bowling alley.

Now that my wife has energy again, I have found I need to resist a certain temptation to play the game when I am too weary to be productive but not tired enough to fall asleep.

The game is great for when I am such a state. It is just as fun and social as when I am more alert and clear-minded.

Such a brain-weary state used to be my nemesis. When I ran a congregation I was so busy that I tried my best to always either be productive or be sleeping. Of course there would be a few hours each week, usually among weekday evenings, when I got weary and would waste time on the internet (I don't have a television) because my brain was too worn out to do more productive work but my body was not yet tired enough to sleep. This benefited my friends and family because I would find funny things to link to in my blog!

Now those hours each week I spend playing World of Warcraft. I'm no more or less productive because of that change in how I spend my brain-weary time.

However, I no longer am quite as diligent about having a regular sleeping schedule and getting regular cardiovascular exercise with running, biking, or skateboarding. If I have a few more hours of "worn out" time each week because I am not as disciplined... well, it does not seem to be much of a loss because I get to spend that time with friends and a fun game.

It is probably healthy that I don't have such a packed schedule any more. I'm noticeably happier in general, and enjoying an overall increase in productivity, because it is mentally healthy to have switched to something more fun and social in my hours of mental weariness. However, I do need to be alert to the temptation of lazily allowing my amount of brain-weary time to increase.

Now I typically play the game a little when I get home after teaching math, to wake myself up a bit before doing something productive. After teaching three copies of the same math class my brain needs a little excitement! Then I face a different temptation related to brain-weariness: after re-energizing myself I need to stop playing the game and switch back to being productive instead of playing the game during potentially productive time.

So far neither of these temptations is very large. But even as a very self-disciplined person I can sympathize with someone surprised by or not used to these temptations.

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