Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thirty-Something Weekend Warriors

As some of you may or may not know, I just turned thirty-one. And so far I have no idea how to deal with it. 

Don't misunderstand- I'm not having an emotional breakdown or an early midlife crisis/ delayed quarter-life crisis (which is totally a thing for my generation- that actually wasn't a joke). I just don't have a handle on the whole "being a thirtysomething" thing yet. 

Take this weekend for instance. My twin brother came to visit on Friday. I love when we get to hang out- since we stopped living together (and even moreso since I moved an hour or so away) the long weekends of getting to hang out just don't happen often enough anymore.

We had all the time we wanted to goof off and just be silly, the way we used to. We got up on Saturday morning, I made a pot of coffee, and we played video games. Just... not the way we used to. 

Each of us was at out own computer, playing his own game. 

This didn't strike me as out of the ordinary until today. When we were kids, we would spend hours sitting on the couch in front of the Super Nintendo, playing through Super Mario RPG for the fourth time, couch co-oping through the players guide. It was just how we spent our time together. But we didn't do that this weekend. We have practically every video game pre- N64 at our fingertips thanks to the internet now. We could be chugging through games we only dreamt of owning as eighth graders. 

But we didn't. It didn't even occur to us. Even later, when we tried to co-op a game that neither of us had ever played (Curse of Monkey Island, if you must know), it just wasn't the same.

Mind you, it isn't as if this whole scenario snuck up on me. I long ago accepted that some things I used to enjoy as a kid would fail to hold  my interest as an adult (the pawning of my anime DVDs is proof enough of that). However, I guess I never anticipated how that might affect mine and my brother's weekend activities. 

For a brief moment I worried that Graham and I were growing apart. We never would have played separate games if given the opportunity to play something together as children. It can't be the case that we've just grown apart, as so many childhood friends do, can it? 

After some soul searching, I've concluded that no, that's not it. We enjoyed doing those things together as children because that's what we enjoyed doing as children. That came naturally to us because we'd be doing it anyway- it only made sense to include your best friend as part of it if you could.

However, as my tastes mature with my age, I'm at a loss as to what to do for fun with my friends, especially the ones I've known since childhood. Those very activities that I find myself aging out of are the only ways I learned to share my time with my friends. I still desire sharing the time, but the same methods that we used as children just don't work anymore. 

So what's a thirty-one year old twin to do?

Well, the obvious answer is to share the activities that I enjoy as a thirty-one year old with my brother. Which works just fine- we shared a run, and it was great. It's just not the same, that's all. And it shouldn't be. I shouldn't be eager to jump right back into the life of a teenager every time I want to hang out with my old friends.  But I can't lie- it stings a little bit that I'll never be able to recapture the simple joy of wading through a stack of Super Nintendo cartridges with my best friend.

 I'll never love a game as much as I love Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past because I'll never be 14 again. Likewise, the best I can do as an adult is to re-learn what I thought I already knew; how to spend time with the people I love and start to shape a whole new set of experiences that, twenty years from now, will seem bittersweet and poignant in retrospect.

Of course, by the time I get it figured out as a thirtysomething, I'll probably pass into another life stage and have to start all over again. Damn, can't this life thing slow down for just one minute?

(edit: no, I did not get rid of my Cowboy Bebop DVDs. I'm an adult, not an idiot.)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, why AREN'T ROMs a good multiplayer experience? But I don't think videogames are the thing you have to give up. I've had great game parties with adults, either riffing as a spectator or analyzing the game and trying to make up new rules if the game as presented by the developers isn't fun enough. The gist I get from this is that it gets harder to devote as much time to learning an imaginary world, and the games are also easier on average so there isn't as much to learn anymore, so you're not bouncing strategies and metagameplay off each other's heads the way you did playing Maniac Mansion.