For several years now, I've felt like I have obligations to things that I have started (and later regretted doing so). Mostly it has been websites. I would join a website, perhaps out of curiosity or because of a friend's recommendation, and for a while I might be enjoying myself on the site, but after some time I would grow bored. In some cases the site was not important to me, so it was easy for me to quit going on it. But in other cases, I had spent a long time building up things on my account that I had become proud of, and I didn't want to leave because I was afraid all that hard work would go to waste. And I ended up weaving a kind of spiderweb around myself, trapping me in an endless routine of visiting websites, making it feel like a chore and not something done for fun.
It happened to me with video games as well. I used to brush my dogs in the game Nintendogs every day. I kept them in good condition - they were always in the hygiene state of Beautiful, they were always fed and given water, I took them on walks every few days (to go to the discounted shop to buy dog food, water, and collars), and I trained them until they could easily win the Agility contests (which allowed me to make lots of money). In fact, I earned enough money to be able to remodel my house all the way to the most expensive kind, which gives you a view from Outer Space.
I really didn't want to abandon my dogs because I feared they would run away (they run away if you neglect them too long, and I prided myself on never having a dog run away) and because I thought all the work I had done, every day, for years, would become meaningless. It was only when I had to prioritize my activities (and Nintendogs was one of the ones I decided to sacrifice) that I stopped playing the game. (And anyways, my DS screen was ruined from all the brushing.)
Indeed, I am still playing Animal Crossing: Wild World to this day because of my annoying sense of obligation. I turn on the game once a day in order to water my plants. I have cultivated a vast garden of flowers. I also used to spend much time in making money, which really did pay off, because I was able to expand my house to its utmost capacity. (It has three floors - there is one big room and three smaller rooms on the first floor, one small room on the second floor, and the third is a basement type of thing where my "people" sleep) Always, always, always, I feel like I can't possibly part with these things, however material and shallow they may be, because of all the time and energy I devoted to them.
But I know, with a sinking feeling, that these things must eventually be put aside... The older you get, the less time you seem to have (or at least, you have to spend your time on other matters). And I fear eventually I will not have the time to even water those flowers, that they will all turn brown, and wither up and die, and weeds will take over my town. I am sure this has already happened for other gamers, who have grown bored or simply cannot find the opportunity to play anymore. And I am unwilling to buy Animal Crossing: City Folk, the newest of the Animal Crossing games, because I don't want to become interested and motivated, and then have to give it up - it would sit, collecting dust, like many of my Gamecube and some of my Wii games. I feel terrible now for having wanted video games, when I really don't use them much and they do cost a big chunk of cash. That money could have gone to worthy causes, or even to my retirement, which I moan and sigh over so much.
Eventually, I know I must disentangle myself from the trap I have laid around me. I need to learn the lesson of being able to give up certain things, without worrying so much over them the way I am wont to do. I wonder if it's just a part of my nature and I won't ever be able to overcome it. I really hope that is not the case. It unsettles me to think that things are impossible and that the sky really is the limit.
Labels: accomplishments, age, animal crossing, fun, future, hard work, human nature, letting go, money, nintendo ds, nintendogs, obligation, problem, sacrifice, time, trapped, video games, waste, website