Sitting down to play Diablo 3 the other night I was suddenly hit by something. There are so many simple, but mostly happy lessons I wish could have been taught to me when I was younger. Things I wish someone had been either willing, or able to tell me when I was a lot younger. So I decided to list off a few of them, who knows they might even help someone else.
Patience really is usually rewarded: For those who don’t know it, Diablo 3 had over a decade of build up to its release. Seriously, 12 years of waiting semi-patiently for the next part in the adventure. And guess what? The wait was worth it, worth every single second. It’s every bit as good, as exciting, as generally wonderful as I’d hoped. And so was Diablo 2 after the 6 years it took for me to finally have a PC that could run it.
I genuinely owned a copy of Diablo 2 for 6 years, but never got to play it because no PC or Laptop I owned in that time was able to run it. But I kept the faith. I was patient. And eventually I got to play it, and I did for three solid months. Patience really is sometimes rewarded.
You’ll get to do it when you’re older, and older isn’t that far away: My family were never well off. I don’t like to imagine the sacrifices my mother made to allow me to do the things I did get to do like rock climbing, scouting, owning a computer (Amstrad 6128). Because I know we didn’t really have the money for any of it. But even so there were so many things I wanted to experience when I was a child, and a teen.
I never owned a Nerf-gun, or a super soaker. My brother owned first a NES, and later a Megadrive (Genesis if you’re in the States). But we could afford maybe a game every six months or so. And the rentable ones in our town were parts of a very limited stock. Besides this was the 90’s there were over half a dozen consoles out there, and hundreds of games. Hell let’s make this simpler, I never really had nice clothes that I liked back then. I’m not talking labels here either, even then I wasn’t that dumb. Just nice jeans in a style I would have enjoyed wearing, or a jumper that hadn’t been either a: knitted, or b: owned by a cousin.
But you know what? Time passed, I reached a stage where I had money of my own, and the freedom to choose for myself. I got to own Nerf-guns (love them! ‘Specially the modded dieselpunked ones), I have emulators for every console, as well as roms for every game I ever wanted to play. And my wardrobe is filled with clothes that I like, admittedly almost all of them are secondhand, but they’re still the ones I want.
Time passes, and as it does you have more freedom of personal choice. I chose to stay a kid at heart. Admittedly a kid with really big boobs, but still a kid. Wanna Nerf-war? Huh huh? Do ya?!
Monsters are real. but they get beaten/die just like anything else: My mother, in fact every responsible adult in my life when I was growing up told me that monsters weren’t real. They were wrong. Either they didn’t know, or they just plain lied. But there are monsters in the world. Lot’s of them, and some of them got their claws into me when I was too young, and weak to defend myself against them.
I genuinely don’t believe that the adults in my life did me any favors. If I’d known there were monsters out there. If I’d been told that they look just the other people you meet on the street, but that they always ultimately reveal themselves. If I’d been told that they can be beaten, and how to beat them, I may not have had the horrors in my childhood that I had to deal with.
That’s what I wish someone had said to me.
You don’t need to feel guilty over saying “No!”: This one is equal to my wish I’d known about the monsters, because it would have saved me so much heartache over the years. Because I’m a very Dominant personality I have a really strong drive to make sure everyone in my life is safe, and happy. The sight of someone I care about looking sad, upset, even bored is physically painful to me. So I tend to say yes to most things (things that will be safe, and/or productive), even when I know the cost to me will be too high. But this is not just because I want them to smile, it’s also because of the gut-wrenching guilt I feel when I say no.
I’ve gone on nights out knowing that I’ll spend the next week going from the bedroom to the bathroom.
I’ve accepted compromises in my love life which actually reduced my self-respect far too much to be healthy.
I’ve quite simply said yes to things which I should never, ever say yes to.
I don’t do this anymore. I have a boyfriend right now. He’s a real sweetheart, and a boylesquer (suck on that girls. :-P). And recently I was supposed to go see him perform. The thing is between his asking me, and the night in question my health took a serious nose-dive. Before I would have still gone, and damn the consequences, consequences which for me would have been dire. But instead I said “No.” I didn’t want to say that. I wanted to go and watch the other girls in the audience lust after my boy, while I sketched him. But I still did the right thing, I stayed at home and rested.
It may not have been a pleasant sacrifice, but it means that I’ll recover quicker, and for longer. It means more higher quality time with him in the future, instead of less, and lesser quality time last week.
It’s nice to have learned not to feel quite as guilty about it either, even if that lesson took the better part of 30 years.
Well anyway there are many more of these. And I bet you have a few too, want to share them?