Saturday, October 01, 2011

Wasting Time

I sat down at lunch earlier this week with some IT guys who asked me some pretty fun questions about knitting - and then the conversation went to a place that was pretty interesting and thought provoking. It caused me to be a bit more reflective about my past and what I have done in my life.

As I sat there, knitting on one of my current WIPs, one of the IT guys asked if I felt like I was wasting time. He went into a long story of him spending a lot of time at night recently playing skee-ball on his phone at night. That there is a leader board and he's trying to get listed. Obviously we were curious what in the world this story had to do with knitting (much like you are right now, eh?), but then he asked me how I felt.

If "every time you do a loop, and another loop, and another loop, do you ever wonder if it's worth it." Before I could say anything, another IT guy says "of course its worth it, she'll have a scarf when she's finished." He said that in the end, he would have his name on the leader board too, which is his overall goal. And then the other guy said "yes, but hers can keep you warm in the winter" and he laughed and retorted "having all those unknown people thing I'm wonderful for being so awesome at skee-ball will keep me warm too." Of course, we all got a laugh.

But then I went into how its not a waste of time for me.

Fiber arts is soothing. It relieves stress and gives me an outlet for my creative self. It takes me away from television and games, both of which I have wasted a lot of time doing. It also allows me to create useful items that I use within my own home (dishcloths, washcloths/soap savers, blankets/afghans, and my kitchen chair covers). I can make all sorts of items as gifts for my family and friends, but I also have an opportunity to create wonderful items for various charities. These are items that can put a smile on someone's face because they know that whomever made it, made it because they care. There is something about being able to create to give you a feeling of accomplishment.

The list goes on and on.

After the lunch conversation and I was back at my desk, mindlessly scripting away, I thought about the hours he was putting into this phone app trying to get on a leader board. I can't say that I don't understand what he is doing because for several years (yes, YEARS) of my life, I played an MMORPG (that shall remain nameless) and it is safe to say I was highly addicted to the game.

With the man working evening shift, I had nothing better to do. We had one vehicle and he took it to work. I sat at night by myself after the children went to bed. And I would usually log into the game rather than pick up my hooks or needles. I somewhat admit I became rather "high profile" in the game due to hosting events and starting/maintaining a high-traffic website dedicated to decorating homes within the game. The last few years I spent working as event staff for a popular free server.

The game did nurture my sense of creativity as I ended up focusing on building decor in game and when working as event staff, did create a lot of role play events and items for the players to enjoy. It was a fun time in my life, but in the end - what do I have to show for it? Did I put smiles on people's faces? Sure - at the very moment something was going on - but are they reminded of those times? Probably not. At least not by looking at something tangible. I personally have nothing but time spent to show for my efforts, and some great memories. I cared about those players and when I left the free server, I admit I cried a bit - how could I be drawn into the virtual world that way? I don't know, but I was. I was going to miss the people who used the same virtual space as their get away.

I am glad that I 'wasted my time' playing that game. That 'virtual space' opened up a lot of opportunities for me including a stint as an internet radio DJ and station manager. I met some wonderful people that I do call friend. I am, though, glad I was able to break that cycle of having to be in a virtual world. Enjoying my time with pixels more than my time in the real world. I was able to get back on track with many things, including my fiber arts.

I still play games but for some reason, I am more grounded with them, although I have not logged into the game mentioned above for a very long time. I'm sure all of my accounts have been wiped and all my items have disappeared or made their way to someone else's stash. Perhaps I'll log in again one day, just not right now. I sometimes play RuneScape with my son (if you play, shoot me your username, I'll add you to my friend list in game). I play other games on the PS3 like Call of Duty and Battlefield, but not too often. Family, work, and school always come first.

And of course, my fiber arts.

Hmmm so what in the world is this post saying (considering it went in a VERY different direction than I had originally planned).....

Find balance. You can play games with no tangible outcome and feel like something has come of it. You can create crochet and knit pieces for others - just find balance in what you do and you can feel accomplished and not feel like you have wasted anyone's time, including your own.


CrochetBlogger said...

This whole post reminds me of an interesting lecture I went to by Jane McGonigal about the value of video games and how they can improve lives and maybe even save the world. She has some great writings and TED talks about this. It made me think of games in a whole new way, in a healing way which is how I also think about fiber arts. In my opinion, things are not a waste of time if they give you pleasure, help you expand a skill or learn something new about yourself and connect you to a greater community in some way.

Caz said...

I sometimes have this arguement with myself! I knit ALOT and alot fo people find it boring and think I am wasting my time! I go through phases of i actually wasting my time? But then if I wasn't knitting what would I be doing? Playing The Sims or watching tv! This post was very thought provoking I have to say ;-)

Cris said...

I think what many people see as wasteful are the things you cannot physically see or possess. Yes - knitting yields a scarf. What does putting together a virtual event do? It is not something you can hold. I remember trying to talk about "the game" with people and when I would think about what I was saying, it had to sound absolutely loony!

But yes - what would we be doing instead?

Cris said...

I'll have to see if I can't find this lecture somewhere :) Heck, I know I surely could write a lecture based on my experiences alone *laughs*

We have to consider that means of connecting to the greater community have definitely changed in the last 20 years.

florencefrazier2002 said...

Very interesting.  I actually became very addicted to some games on line and finally had to close my account to get away from it because I spent more time on there than I did with my family.  You are right it's an escape.  I use reading as my escape as well.  Balance is very important.  My youngest has been bugging me forever to make her a new hat because a naughty child at school stole her hat.  Yesterday I was picking up another skein of yarn to finish my current project and I spied a beautiful skein of yarn.  I immediately bought it and decided to amke younger a hat.  I've spent so much time of late making things for charity that I've not made anything for her and I decided I needed to get it done.  I makes me feel good but it also makes her feel like I care because I devote time to making something just for her.

Thanks for the reminder!!!

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