Tuesday, May 5, 2015

With a little help from our friends

I've learned a lot in the last month or so about this silly idea of "growing up" and what most of American Society expects of that.  I've also learned that life gets busier with each passing day and that usually means "less play time", so the notion that we give up our hobbies and childish ways is usually an easy sell.  I'm 29, have bills for a house, a car, all the insurance and operating costs that go with those, a second car that I own and work on, and am happily married.  I've got a full-time job that can be a little demanding on time, but nothing unmanageable.  My wife works, but has been putting in part-time hours recently as she helps with her mom's health issues.  So naturally, I'd fall into this case of "oh well he just needs to grow up" when it comes to doing stuff like Nerf and Laser Tag.

My free time slips away from me pretty easily and, as this blog has recently reflected in it's activity, so has my time for my hobbies.  I know there's plenty of other guys in my position and many times, when things get busy and "life" calls them, most assume that it's time to give up the fun and "grow up".  Rightfully so.  There's already the expectation people have that associates Nerf and Laser Tag with children and, as such, anyone older who is still enjoying these hobbies is simply acting childish.  I'm happy to report that this kind of surrender won't work for me... and here's the simple reason why.  I've got great friends.

Now this isn't to say that those who give up their hobbies don't have friends, but rather that the bond my buddies and I share has been forged through working, playing, and enjoying these hobbies together.  It's something that I overlooked before, mostly because I just felt like that everyone eventually gives up doing the things they love.  However, even when I had thought about giving up, it's my friends that have kept my heart in it.  When I've got a full load of stuff to work on, my buddy is sending me a text about the next Laser Tag game that he's running.  When I haven't been able to get to the workbench in ages, a friend messages me with photos of Booster Boards for IR LEDs that he's been developing.  When I get a call from a guy who moved away in January, he's telling me how he saw the video I made featuring the blaster that he built.  These guys are all my age and have pretty similar stuff going on in their lives.  They've got bills to pay, jobs to go to, and lots of other stuff to do.  They're also incredibly loyal, supportive, and genuinely interested in the stuff we've been doing together for ages.

I suppose it's no surprise.  Since June of 2006, we've been organizing weekly outdoor Laser Tag games together.  This summer will mark Season 10 of these events being held.  If it were a fad, it would've run out of gas by now and we'd be hanging up our blasters and doing that "growing up" thing.  Sure, people get genuinely burnt out on things.  Sure, there's situations where that spark is flat-out lost and you're not interested in it anymore.  What I'm getting at is this: don't give up on that stuff because of anyone's decision but your own.  In my case, I can't give up Nerf or Laser Tag because I'm still in this with my friends.  If it were me flying solo, yeah... it would probably have been done awhile ago.  I've written several times about how enjoying these hobbies should be a social event.  That's still true today, and it's THROUGH that interaction with people that I think I've been able to keep enjoying things.
We get by with a little help from our friends.


  1. Two thumbs up

  2. Oh phew! I thought that this was going to be a final post after the first two paragraphs. I am so relieved that it isn't!

  3. Excellent post. I'm a 30 year old Nerfer, with a job, bills, and a wife (who is very supportive of my hobbies). As an introvert, I am usually content to just mod and paint blasters. I don't often get the opportunity to play.
    However, I've recently made the realization that real community is something that can take a fun hobby, and make it into something meaningful.