At one point or another, every bright-eyed child grows up; becoming anything from a briefcase-toting executive to a grease monkey with a wrench. We can’t all be Peter Pan, and inevitably, our toys and game will migrate from our bedroom floors to a storage closet or Goodwill. The days when we were free to run wild and play become fewer and farther apart, until we find ourselves running back and forth to school or work or whatever it is that keeps us from getting our desired ten hours of sleep a night. There’s a question I often ponder when I’m supposed to be doing my assignments:
Is that little kid still there, buried deep beneath the grown-up we all wake up and discover ourselves to be?
Perhaps a better question would be whether or not we still have the ability to throw responsibility to the wind and play like we’re ten years old again. Sometimes I doubt it, especially when my youngest brother wants to rough-house. My usual response in these situations? Curling up into a defensive ball and attempting to burrow under the couch, or simply telling him I don’t have time. Usually, I don’t.
Even if we were to suddenly find ourselves with the unlimited time and freedom to run and play like we used to, would our adult minds be able to find that “Fantasy Gear” that was so abundant when we were little? Think about it: Suppose you were suddenly in your ten-year-old body again, and a playmate ran up to you with a stick and challenged you to slay the dragon. Would you be able to stop yourself from thinking “What dragon? I don’t have the energy for this?” or “This is stupid.”
It’s thoughts like that which seem to put our inner child insurmountably out of reach.
Maybe that’s why the geek community plays card games and video games that have most ‘reasonable’ adults shaking their heads in wonder or exasperation. It could be that it’s not just a bunch of pixels on a screen or some silly little game with cardboard rectangles. These are simply doors to a world that our ten-year-old selves knew very, very well. Every time we log into a game, we are adding to the story of the characters we play, and using our imagination.
When you take an hour or two to forget about that project or assignment that’s due tomorrow morning and just go play D&D, it could very well feel like you’re in that dark forest yourself, battling ancient monsters and saving the day in spite of impossible odds. Kind of sounds like the adventures we took upon ourselves when we were kids, doesn’t it?
So, bottom line…yes, I’m endorsing people behaving like they’re ten years old, if only for a little while, to keep themselves sane in this drab, boring world.
Wishing you all nat 20s on your saving throws;