I caved and bought an iPhone earlier this month. It is shiny and efficient and useful. It’s also a whole lot of fun. Addictive fun.
The first game I fell in love with was “Candy Crush Saga”. This puzzle game is colourful, satisfying, and always just difficult enough to keep me coming back. It also limits me by only allowing me five lives and forcing me to wait about half an hour or sometimes a whole day before I can play again. In this way, I can play for a few minutes, put it down, forget about it, and then play again when I’m bored in the check-out line. This is a distraction I can handle.
The next iPhone game to truly pique my interest was “Campus Life”, a game that could be described as similar to The SIMS but instead of creating a family you create a sorority. I’m not sure why this game was so fun for me. I am not in a sorority. And many things about the game trouble me; namely the fact that all recruits come in one shape—stick thin with large, perky breasts—and the fact that the chief way to earn points is by buying the best stuff and hottest clothes. But despite all of this, I got sucked in. “Campus Life” is designed to suck you in. There is no way to pause it and many of the tasks must be completed under a time limit. This kept me coming back not only when I was bored in line but also when I was at work and had to sneak away to the bathroom or the elevator in order to complete a recruit’s date with her crush or buy more property. I was playing late into the night and first thing in the morning. There were a few times I considered paying real money in order to get fake money in order to buy more fake stuff so that I could have the best fake sorority house ever. I was playing “Campus Life” when my boyfriend was over and trying to have a conversation with me, when I should have been spending time with my family, when I should have been working on my to-do list.
Things were getting out of hand.
I thought about quitting. I told myself I would within a matter of days. I didn’t.
Then, sometime last night at about 2:00 a.m. when I was still moving my characters around my little sorority house and putting off the cleaning and writing I had planned to do all evening, I remembered a Jason Mraz quote I had read a few days ago.
“Another year is fast approaching. Go be that starving artist you’re afraid to be. Open up that journal and get poetic finally. Volunteer. Suck it up and travel. You were not born here to work and pay taxes. You were put here to be part of a vast organism to explore and create. Stop putting it off. The world has much more to offer than what’s on 15 televisions at TGI Fridays. Take pictures. Scare people. Shake up the scene. Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I put down my iPhone. I blinked a few times. I was not born here to work, pay taxes or play “Campus Life”, I realized.
The next morning I deleted the game along with the pretty, pretty house I had built. Who cares if Prissie—the enemy sorority house leader—gets the best sorority? I do, a tiny bit. But soon I’ll be too busy writing and cooking and spending time with the people I love.
Some people may think the fact that I became consumed with this silly game a bit pathetic. They wouldn’t be wrong. There are probably a lot of people who could play “Campus Life” and not lose their real life in the process. I’ve never been one for self-control. But I think most people have some kind of distraction that has become destructive, a distraction that has gotten in the way of what they were born to do: “explore and create”.
So whatever your “Campus Life” distraction is, consider deleting it. Your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical life will be richer for it.