I've been so busy the last couple of weeks that it was starting to feel like free time was but a distant memory. This is the first evening I have had to myself in over a week, and it feels amazing. It was starting to feel like I'd never get to play a board game again.
Our society prizes hard work to a degree that is unhealthy. We praise (or secretly resent) those who are first to arrive at the office and last to leave. When we talk to each other about our lives, many of us want to emphasize how productive we are—not how much time we spent "playing."
But for me, board games are a statement I make to myself about what I value in life. I want to have energy at the end of the day for more than a Netflix binge (although I enjoy those as well). There is something that feels radical to me about spending hours pondering a gameboard and devoting my mental energy to something that not everyone views as "productive."
Gaming also does more than provide entertainment—the temporary mental escape that I get from gaming helps me to break out of the rut I settle into during stressful work days. The challenge of solving an interesting problem, combined with the escapism of pretending to be a castaway, a paranormal investigator, or a fantasy hero, allows me to keep my mind engaged while also allowing me to step away from my "real" life and then come back to it with a different perspective.
One of my New Year's resolutions for 2017 is to consistently make time to play board games. My life feels a whole lot better when I do.