"Whenever I have some time to myself, I panic."
Whenever I have some time to myself, I panic. Unstructured time — especially spent alone — is phenomenally rare in my life and I feel an overwhelming obligation to make good use of it. I should get some laundry done. Meal prep. Ask each item in my dresser if it brings me joy. Figure out how to fold a fitted sheet. Paint my nails. Work on the play I’m writing. Do a face mask. But instead, I deal with my option paralysis in the least helpful way possible: by scrolling through my phone alone in the dark until I run out of battery (literally or figuratively) and put myself to bed feeling like I’ve lost something valuable and hating myself for it. I can’t be productive, and I can’t fully relax, and I can’t possibly be alone in this.
Not alone at all. Not at all.
The feeling described in this article by Molly Conway is one of the reasons that I so love to play boardgames and roleplaying games. Contemporary society, at least as far as I’ve known it, doesn’t generally value or respect playtime (especially for adults).
Sitting down with a group of folks to play a game, especially a time-consuming one, takes a concerted effort of scheduling and intention. You have to want to play…to prioritize it. This isn’t to say you have to turn play into work, but, it has to be something you want to do enough to make the time to do it. I like that. I want play to be something that I prioritize.
So, rumble leaf, tumble leaf — go play!