Here’s a theme that I find myself talking about a fair bit: why do I feel so unable to commit to my hobby in a meaningful way?
Why do most gamers seem to play one-shots and short-lived campaigns while I yearn for something longer and deeper? But then, when players show up wanting to play the longer game, why do I lose momentum and enthusiasm?
Why is it that everyone seems so well trained in buying and collecting new game materials but are unlikely to bring many (if any) of them to the table? I am pretty sure I am not alone in this habit, especially as the creative community seems to be exponentially producing great material.
Perhaps I am not committing to my games because, deep down, I am really not a gamer. Maybe I get a kick out of collecting and exploring the products but not playing them? There is a definite proportion of the mainstream gaming population who are being serviced by companies producing adventures and supplements designed for reading rather than playing.
Perhaps the immense choice is paralysing. We know that humans are very bad at dealing with abundance and the continued acquisition of new products simply compounds the problem. My most productive and long-running games were back when I was young and had only a very few choices, and again when I returned to the hobby and could only play in a very narrowly defined set of systems. Each time I get a new game it excites, and I allow myself to be distracted. Maybe less would be more: those who only play one game, such as D&D or Cthulhu, seem to be more consistent than I do.
Perhaps the problem is that I don’t really understand what I want from my hobby. I dearly love to explore so perhaps being the GM is not really the right path to tread. But then I find being a player is often dissatisfying because the games are not hitting the beats that I would like to dance to. I change my mind about my characters more often than I would like to admit. What seemed like a good idea before the game starts can so quickly prove inadequate or limited once play begins – and in a long game, having the wrong character is demoralising.
Whatever it is, I am forever fluctuating in my commitments and easily distracted. I am undergoing diagnosis for ADHD and perhaps, if that proves positive, it’ll help to explain my lack of focus. But I can’t help fear that it’s simply flakiness and a serious lack of character that marks me so fickle. Most of the time, I don’t even know why I change my mind. But it drives other people crazy.
Am I just another in a vast tribe of people who are simply lost in an abundance of choice? Or am I alone and simply unable to commit. Too afraid to succeed, some have even suggested. Others say that I am simply too quick to learn and too much a neophile. Will I ever overcome this push and pull of conflicting desires?
I don’t have any answers. Just questions. Endless questions. And sometimes the questions threaten to overwhelm me.