In my college days, I could spend a free afternoon playing for hours on end. As a single man, I had a few nights after work where I would play into the wee hours. Now that I’m married and have a child, that kind of play schedule is no longer a thing, but I try to strike a healthy balance between family and personal time.

I can’t do raids in Destiny anymore, as 2-3 hours of free time aren’t really a thing. I try to play games that either have matches that last a few minutes or allow me to quit at any time. Turn-based strategy games like any of the entries in the Civilization series afford me the latter ability, and Overwatch has quick-ish rounds that I can jump out of when they’re done. I do have problems with getting leaving penalties, especially when my child wakes up at night or during a nap, but I’ll gladly take those if it means that my family is ok and my kiddo is able to get back to sleep. Those are the best kind of bonus points.

Having games with that kind of flexibility also gives me the opportunity to get a little playing done to get that itch scratched so that I can focus on being a more attentive partner. Sometimes after working all day and finally putting the kiddo to sleep, I just want to take a half hour for myself. I’m usually relaxed and my partner has finished up whatever followup they needed to make at the end of the day so we can just hang out. As long I don’t go overboard, which can happen, it all evens out.

I don’t play as much as I used to, which is probably a good thing in the long run. I love games, so much so that I’m mostly writing about them in this two month challenge. I also have a life, and it rightly commands much more of my attention. In the end, it’s better to strike a balance between your inner child and your real one, and to be there for your loved ones than be lost in a fictional world far from them.