I don’t play very many video games now. But as a much younger child I did. I remember endless nights of staying up, trying to get to the next castle in “Super Mario Bros.” only to find that the princess was actually in another castle. I remember getting as close as possible to the television screen while playing Duck Hunt to make sure I didn’t miss any birds, mostly because I couldn’t stand that stupid dog coming out of the bushes and laughing at me. But another thing that stands out vividly in my memory of video games is how often I pressed the reset button.
Oh, died 10 seconds into the game? No worries, reset. You’re about to lose to this boss? It’s okay, reset. I was always resetting and starting over. Whenever things got too tough, reset. And I think that’s filtered over into my adult life. Two years ago I was on my way to gaining the recognition from writing I so desire. I had a column and wrote editorials in this very newspaper that garnered me praise and awards. I was made an editor my first year in the class. I was sending out manuscripts for short stories that never got published, but at least they were looked over and rejected, which is a start. But things started to go bad. A relationship turning sour. A job I couldn’t stand and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t stand me either. No money, no car, no nothing. In my eyes, things were falling apart. So what do I decide to do? Hit reset.
I packed up my bags, called my parents, and went back home, home being a tiny desert town two hours to the east. In small towns, nothing really matters. In small towns you’re just trying to find ways to pass the time until the next beer. In small towns, no one judges you if you spend all day sleeping and all night on the streets. In small towns, you can hide from the real world. And hide I did. I spent a year and a half doing absolutely nothing. I got away from the stress of real life. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I knew I couldn’t be happy for long living like that. Sure it was fun for a while, but when you’ve already set goals and made plans for your life, it’s just not that simple to give them up. They’ll sit there and poke and prod at the back of your mind. And no matter how many “Bud Lights” you drink or illicit substances you take, they won’t go away.
Because the thing about the reset button is, you eventually have to start over. That’s another thing I remember about playing video games. I may have started over a million times, but I never hit the off switch. And I don’t plan on starting now.