Time Doesn’t Grow on Farms

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My cropsies sent me an email today: They miss me.

What are cropsies?
They are the anthropomorphic fruits and vegetable cartoons in Farm Heroes Saga.
(Yes, there is also an app for that.)
Facebook sent me an email on their behalf, reminding me that they were waiting for me on the farm.

I am very good at Farm Heroes saga, and I advance my cropsies through many an adventure.
I am also very good at Candy Crush.
And Pet Rescue Saga.
Diamond Digger Saga.
Gardens of Time.
Mahjong
Bubble Safari
Pyramid Solitaire
and the dozens of other games I’ve quit.

I’ve quit them.
Over and over.

I’m good at pattern recognition.
It’s one of my quirks.
This is helpful in business, it enables me to apply learnings from one situation to another quickly.
I organize information and have a good recall of who said what, where things fit, and logical sequencing.

I’m also good at matching games.
The repetition is soothing and instantly rewarding.
Games, like gambling, activate the reward receptors in the brain.

Games, like gambling, have a cost.

I rarely gamble.
When I have gambled in a casino it’s because I was there for a work meeting.
(Yes boys and girls, way back when Borders had meetings in places with casinos.
No, that is not why they went out of business.
Casinos are pretty cheap places for meetings.
As long as you don’t buy their food.
Or gamble.)

At those meetings I put $20 in quarters in my right pocket.
Any money I won went into my left pocket.
When the right pocket was empty I went back to my room.
My promise to myself was that I didn’t spend the winnings.
And I wouldn’t spend more than that first $20.

I knew that gambling would be hard for me to control.
I’ve known ever since I won my very first BINGO game.
I drove a neighbor to her regular weekly game.
As a thank you she bought me a card.
While she played her 10 cards (with NO markers! by memory!)
I sat next to her with mine.

I was one number away… one number… one number…
C’mon number!
Just one…
One more….
No, not that one…
No
No
No…
BINGO!

I won! I won!
I won!
$35 dollars! (Would have been more, but several of us won on the same number. They won on MY number! MY NUMBER!)

As I stood to get the payout I felt my face flush.
My heart was hammering in my chest.
I could hardly breathe.
I WON!
And there was going to be another game right away!
Where are those markers?
How many cards can I play?

This was very very very bad. Image

I knew that Flo would need to find another ride to this event next week.
I could never go to that bingo hall again.

I didn’t need to, though.
I found Gauntlet II.
A friend gave my daughters a Nintendo system and several games.
One was Gauntlet II.

Red Wizard and I smashed through level after level.
(“Wizard is about to die! Needs food badly!”)
Ghosts were eliminated.
Death vanquished.
Potions obtained.
Dragons slain. (“I have never SEEN such courage!”)

It took time.
There was no internet cheat site.
No one I knew played the game.
I used trial and error, taking notes as I worked through the levels.
Yes, I did once wake up my daughter to have her play with me… but that was the only way I could make it through one of the levels.
Yes, I did stay up all night.
Once.
Maybe more than that.
OK, many times, but I was off work the next day.

My daughters took the cartridge away from me and hid it.
It was a not-so-subtle intervention.

My daughters are not here now.
I need to police my obsessiveness on my own.
I need to rein in my urge to go for one more level.
One more puzzle.
One more game.

Games, like gambling, have a cost.

Frankly, I’m too frugal
~OK, frankly, I’m too cheap~ to be a gambler.
I won’t spend the money.
Not even on scratch dollar tickets.

I do rationalize to myself that online, on phone, and on laptop, games aren’t gambling.
No money changes hands.
But I still pay.

I pay the dearest thing that I have.
I pay with time.

Time is finite.
I know in my heart I only have so much.
Eliminating crystals, matching cropsies, solving puzzles, sending gifts to other players, breaking through levels…
Time.

Most games allow you to send moves to other players.
The games describe the gifts as “sending a life.”
It allows the person receiving it to play longer.

In real life, it doesn’t work that way.
No one can send me another life.
I only have this one.

So I quit all the games this week.
Again.
I had gone on a bender after I finished school.
Two weeks of unrestrained puzzles, gems, jewels, pets, balloons, crystals and cropsies.
Wasted time.
All that and I didn’t even get a BINGO payout.

I could have been exercising.
Spending time with the husband that has waited for four years for the studying to end and my evenings to be free again.
Could have been reading.
Could have been sewing, making jewelry, writing a letter.
Heck, could even have been cleaning the house, or sleeping.
Maybe even start learning more about how to write that book I’m thinking about, someday.

Instead I saved cropsies.
And threw away time.

I’m refocusing on my priorities:

  • Eat mindfully.
  • Move more.
  • One blog entry a week.

Half-way through the year and weight loss has stalled.
It’s stalled because I let it.
I let it by not spending my time working toward my goal: Hitting 14 in 14.
I haven’t lost ground… but I haven’t gained any ground.

It’s cold turkey-time for me.
Apps are deleted from my Facebook page, and they will be gone from my phone tonight, too.

The price is just too high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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