Giving Yourself Permission to Play

by | Mar 6, 2023 | Creativity

Home » Blog »Giving Yourself Permission to Play

How are you doing? I’ve been busy. It’s been three years since we last talked. I was promoting a documentary. I’ve since helped out on another documentary. It’s good. They are both streaming on Amazon Prime Video if you want to watch them. I knew a lot about the former and nothing about the latter. It was a blast to learn more about each.

April 2020. Man. That feels like 10 years ago now, doesn’t it? We were early in the pandemic and in shutdown. I had a feeling it would last a long time. I had mentally prepared myself in February 2020 that every time could be the last time I was around people. Then it happened. And while I was ready, it still was not easy.

I’ve had Covid-19 twice now, despite being one of the most cautious people I know about. The first time is unknown how I got it, other than I had it and it showed up on a routine scan. There was scarring in my lungs. But I had been asymptomatic. This last time was rough. I’m still getting over the effects of it. I may have picked it up in a hospital I was spending a lot of time in? I’ll never know.

So what have I been up to? I rediscovered video games.

I got a Nintendo Switch in September 2020. I haven’t played video games or owned a system since 1997. I fell in love.

My first game was Mario Kart 8. My friends had raved about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And who hadn’t heard about the Animal Crossing explosion happening during the pandemic. I was reluctant to get either. I knew I would become addicted to Animal Crossing, meaning I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy it. And Zelda games have never tripped my trigger. These two games combined account for the most time I’ve spent on games by a large margin. Animal Crossing was tasks and grinding. I love those type of games. But Breath of the Wild stole my imagination. I was captivated. Obsessed. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had no idea video games could be like this. I played it every chance I could get. And during this phase a funny thing happened: I started to feel creative again.

I ponied up for a next gen Xbox in December to play all the games I could want with a Game Pass subscription.

Look, I don’t know what the last ten years were for me. I had a couple of surgeries, one of them a major life altering one, and it put me on the shelf. I didn’t have any interest in doing anything with my time. I’d come home from a long day in the office, have a drink, watch something and go to bed. Before 2020, years passed like the previous one with no markable distinctions. I worked. I slept. And it wasn’t like I was suffering from severe depression. But I was depressed. It was like I was coasting because that was all I could do for a few years. Breath of the Wild started to wake me up.

Other games captivated me. Citizen Sleeper, Tunic, Sable, The Return of the Obra Dinn, The Show, Night in the Woods, Cult of the Lamb, and Elden Ring (I’m on NG+1 and I can play this game forever). None hit me as hard Breath of the Wild though. I was starting to think about building worlds. Building histories. I was starting to daydream for the first time in a long time. It was like my systems were coming back online.

Before I went to CCS, I was working 8–10 hours a day, and after I would draw at least two webcomics a night. About 10–15 pages a week. I was in my late 20s/early 30s. I’m now in my mid 40s. Shit moves slower. But it moves.

I got The Walk done before the end of 2022. I started that comic in 2013. I was shaken from surgery, from a lack of confidence in myself and my own skills. It took me close to 10 years to finish a 48 page comic. I don’t want to do that again. I’m doing more now than I have in years past. Keeping a sketchbook. Writing in a journal. Little things like that to keep me thinking and occupied. And while video games may have awakened my creativity, I’ve laid off them for a bit. I need to get all the stuff they filled my head with out on to paper. Out into the real world. I find time to play. You need to make time for yourself to play. That’s the most important lesson I learned: I needed to give myself permission to have fun. To not let work consume me.

I had shut down for years before February 2020, and I’ve been waking while the world locked itself up. In February of 2023 it felt like I have returned. And I’m excited to show you everything I’ve been thinking about.

You May Also Like…