Being a geek is a full-time job. There are so many comics to read, movies to see, shows to watch and games to play that you could spend every moment of available time consuming it all. For creative geeks, it’s even worse; you have to spend time making your own stories as well. And most of us don’t have the luxury of being able to do that for our day job; we need to find the spare time to fit in being a geek.
Add a personal life into that equation, and it’s no wonder that it’s hard to be a geek.
But it doesn’t make it impossible.
I’m the creative kind of geek. I write. A lot. Not just columns like this, or for BigShinyRobot.com, but books, screenplays, comics and all manner of media. And I love reading and watching movies. Plus, geek television has never been more pervasive. There is just so much for me to do.
I also have a day job. And a pair of kids. And adult relationships.
I’ve been accused of having a mutant power. My acceptance letter to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters would list “time management” as my special gift. Maybe that’s true, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. I’ve found that balancing my geek life can be difficult; sometimes it’s even too much to bear. There are weekends where all I want to do is play board games and read comics, but I have to fulfill my responsibilities instead.
The easiest way I’ve found to double up on my time is to share my geek time with my friends and loved ones. With my kids, it takes a lot of work to pick out things for us to do that allow us to spend quality time together and help us scratch our geek itch at the same time. We have different interests, but we figure out where those interests overlap and then focus on spending time there.
For example, my son loves the Pokémon card game. I’m not a fan of that game, but can handle other card games, so there are three or four we’ve found that we play together. The most recent is a World War II tactical card game called Spearpoint 1943. When the whole family is around, we play the Munchkin card game. My daughter loves building things and playing with LEGOs, and her favorite board games are ones like Creationary and Pictionary.
But after the kids go to bed and you’ve worked a 40-hour week, you still want to be social and do something to unwind. Sometimes that’s catching an episode of Arrow or Game of Thrones with a significant other, or reading in bed while cuddling.
As for fitting video games into my hectic schedule, that isn’t as easy. For the past six months or so, I’ve been assembling online with a group of friends for a weekly session of Diablo III on the PlayStation 3. We drink beer and chat via Bluetooth headsets like the nerds we truly are. It’s a few hours a week to unwind and think of nothing but sending demons back to the infernal pits of hell. It’s therapy of a kind.
I guess my point is this: The key to finding balance between your geek life and your real life is to double-purpose everything so you’re never serving just the geek life. Make sure you’re multi tasking with your other, more important, purposes.
Pick what’s essential to you, establish a set amount of time to do it and then jealously guard that time. Whether it’s 10 hours a week to write or to play video games, if it makes you happy and doesn’t turn you into a zombie, it’s the right choice.
Adults can still read comics and play video games. They just need to get smarter about it.
Bryan Young is the editor-in-chief of BigShinyRobot.com