Is there an “off” button?

I’ve been playing a game for years. I can’t say it is fun, but it is addictive.  I can’t even say how it ends as it has no hard stop. And I can’t say there is a winner. I question if this is really a “game” in the traditional sense,  but yet I play and play and play and play.

I’m captive. 

The game gets especially competitive in the wee hours. From 12:30-2:00 am is prime time play. Maybe I jolt awake because I’ve been called in. Maybe this is an honor for advanced players as the game goes into speed rounds at this time. Round after round in rapid-fire.  I assume must be in the top 10 by now, but no leader board to be found. I could very well be at the bottom.

I don’t remember when I started the game. I don’t think I was always playing or maybe I can’t remember that far back. I can’t nail down the first play. In the beginning, I think it was fun and felt productive. It felt “adult.” It felt responsible, but I had no idea that it never would end. I had no idea what I just subscribed to.

And that there are no winners only losers. 

Maybe you play too. 

The game is like solitaire. You play it solo. You can play it anywhere and sometimes you play it around others (they just don’t know). It always starts with “What if…” and really there is not much stopping the play from there. It spirals into many “what ifs.” “What if Steve gets the virus?” What if because of his lung situation it can advance too quickly and we can’t get him tested?” “What if the grocery’s don’t get ordered on time?” “What if Sally from work finds my email offensive?!”

Most people I think stay on the beginner level with “what ifs” based on the future, but I don’t stop there, I’m definitely at the advanced level of the game. I play “what if” with the past and imagine new nows. This stage of play I’m finding destructive as like the future play it is never-ending. “What if Mind the Gap was opening this fall and we had all these young adults moving to NYC?” Overwhelming anxiety overwhelms me thinking of the students and faculty on my care. “What if I didn’t send that email?” Overwhelming anxiety that I did the wrong thing.

And it’s crippling. Truly crippling. As the permutations are so numerous so infinite and the past is over, but yet I’m redoing it.

I want out of this game. I do.

Anyone have the off button?

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  1. my off button is listening to podcasts – it is better than listening to a book on tape as usually in podcast you have two people having a conversation – it needs to be interesting subject but not sensitive or that would bring up any guilt or what ifs – and you might need to have Earbuds in, just make sure your phone is on airplane.

  2. I’m with you. I’m also level “imagine the nows.” Can be so destructive and hard to turn off. I was playing it first thing this morning already. It’s an addictive game.

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