Wednesday, February 09, 2011

My Secret Addiction

They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one .... I certainly hope so.

You see, I DO have a problem -- a dirty little secret I have kept hidden for months now. One that I am almost too embarrassed to confess. Something that started so innocently has now become nothing less than an addiction. This addiction is the reason my bed is not currently made, the dishes in my sink are dirty, the laundry in my home is reaching mountainous heights, and my blog has suffered from lack of posts for almost all of the last year.

I haven't come forward with this news before now because I thought my secret was something I had under control. What I was doing was not hurting anybody. No one had to know about it. It was just a guilty little pleasure that brought me joy.

Besides, it started with great intentions. I was invited by a friend to join this new website -- a website where I could write in the presence of friends, much like my blog --- the blog which I had originally started as a way to stay in touch with friends and family who lived far away. What was the harm? All my friends were already doing it. It seemed like the whole world had already discovered it. Facebook.

I loved Facebook from the start. I loved that I could now connect with friends I hadn't seen or heard from in years. I loved (and still do) seeing photos of their children, reading about their travels, their jobs, their lives. I loved (and still do) posting my own family photos, writing about my travels, my adventures, my jobs--past and present, my children, my life. Yes, this writing took away from the time I had previously spent on my blog, but I was now connecting with many people I hadn't heard from in years. I received immediate gratification for any wisdom or wit or even seemingly mundane moments I experienced and posted .... I loved (and still do) reading the comments, and leaving comments, and savoring the wit and wisdom and mundane moments experienced by my friends and family around the world. It felt like I finally had everyone I loved in one room, ready to chat over morning coffee. What a blessing!

But then -- here comes the embarrassing part -- I discovered .... Facebook games. At the request of friends, I opened a Farm, a cafe, a fish tank, and spent endless hours nurturing my crops, animals, and business. So much time, in fact, that my Farm became more beautiful than any garden I had ever cultivated, my cafe served up culinary delights that had never graced my kitchen table, and my fish were more well-kept than the real-life pets that currently lived in my home. Over time, thankfully, I noticed my virtual life was becoming more glorious than real-life, and wisely took action. I retired from my farm where I had become a virtual millionaire, closed my very successful online cafe, and allowed all my fish to be adopted into better homes.
That should have been the end of it, right? Problem solved. My secret addiction should have then become a fleeting memory. But then, a friend sent me a request for Family Feud, and another friend was achieving freakishly high scores on Bejeweled, and I thought, "What's the harm?"

Well, I bring you to the present time. This week, I have unleashed my brain power -- not on solving real-life problems, or saving the world, or earning money, or studying for an advanced degree. No, I've used my intellect to answer Family Feud questions so my friends could earn bonus points. My hours at home were not spent organizing, writing, cleaning, or otherwise doing anything useful. No, they were spent trying to beat my friends' ridiculously high Bejeweled scores. (Really, who can actually win 589,000 points within the span of a minute game of Bejeweled? Who? But darnit, my competitive streak was going to try!)

Finally... my secret is out. I have become addicted to Facebook games. Me! The mother who is always nagging her children to get off their video games and play outside, or read, or practice music or do homework or anything more productive than sitting in front of a computer or television screen.

I will say, however, that it does feel good to admit the truth. Hopefully, my admission, however embarrassing it may be, is the first step to freeing myself from this problem, once and for all. The first step to becoming more productive, more creative, and ending my secret time-wasting habits for good.

But, in closing, I can't help but wonder ... which of my friends is currently toppling my latest Bejeweled score?! :-)

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