The Difficulties of Being a Generalist

I’ve always been mildly envious of people who know exactly what they want. Who love a thing so unabashedly and completely that they rarely get distracted. Those people tend to excel in whatever their chosen discipline is – or for our purposes, their chosen hobby.

I am a generalist. I have been a generalist for as long as I can remember. There are so many things I love and adore, I would need ten lifetimes to get even reasonably competent in all of them, and at least half a dozen to even experience all the things I would like to experience.

Yep, that’s a nerd girl problem for sure.

My house is cluttered with supplies for a multitude of arts & crafts projects. The list of movies and TV shows I want to watch is so long and overwhelming, I frequently find myself tossing something on the television that I’ve seen a million times over because it’s easier than choosing from all of the worthy (and perhaps the not-so-worthy) options I haven’t seen. The only reason my TBR pile isn’t scattered over every flat surface is that I went primarily digital years ago.

And then, there’s the video game library.

While that’s not a completely accurate number, it’s close enough for our purposes.

When I started my game-a-day blog back in 2016, I though my library (which was certainly less than 500 games) was unmanageable. And it probably was. Just over three years later, it has become such a mighty and unwieldy thing, I find I do even LESS gaming than I did before. It’s become my “What to Watch” conundrum all over again.

It would be easy to blame deep discounts, and the proliferation of bundle options, but let’s be real. It’s a problem that comes from being a generalist*. I want to play ALL THE GAMES, but honestly, who has time for that?

So I keep building up my digital library at a faster pace than I could possibly work through it, and then, when I have time to play, I frequently find myself suffering from paralysis of choice, unable to commit the precious commodity of leisure time to any one suitor.

I’ve joked for years that my Steam library isn’t a backlog. It’s a retirement plan. It’s a security blanket for the time when time is abundant.

Yet I also understand that there’s a deep flaw in that reasoning – new games will keep being made, put on sale, tossed into the Humble Monthly, and I will keep acquiring faster than I can enjoy. It’s a hoarding behavior I haven’t been able to overcome, and one that’s been enabled by the digital marketplace (because can you imagine having that many physical games – where would you put them???).

In the past year, I’ve tried to remind myself that some games are not for me. I have stopped adding things to my library that are praised for being “fiendishly difficult” – I know my reaction times are not what they were 20 years ago, and they weren’t great then. All the critical acclaim in the world isn’t going to make that any less true, and I’m not here for frustration.

What I want from games is an experience. Challenge my mind. Tell me a story. Show me something beautiful. Make me think. Make me smile. Hell, make me cry like a baby.

I’m ready to play now.

*Ok, time to say what you’re all thinking. The real problem is a lack of self control when it comes to things that are cheap or free. I’m a damn Yankee, and I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m 41 years old – I’ve learned to love that part of myself.

4 thoughts on “The Difficulties of Being a Generalist

  1. ” I frequently find myself tossing something on the television that I’ve seen a million times over because it’s easier than choosing from all of the worthy (and perhaps the not-so-worthy) options I haven’t seen.”

    I can totally relate to that. Enjoy Blaugust and good luck tackling the “backlog” of stuff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Are… Are you me?

    Seriously, this could easily be responded to with that Spiderman meme from the cartoon of the two spidermen pointing at each other.

    I have frequently thought of this as a ‘problem’ that was in need of a fix, but I think I’ve come to a realisation that it just is what it is. It’s only money already marked discretionary that goes into it. There is no dread associated with the size of the backlog.

    So I’ll just let it be! Bring on the next Humble Monthly! xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I see people on Reddit or wherever agonizing over their backlog, I just shrug. The games will be there. Someday, the extra funds for buying games might not, but I’ll still have more than enough to keep me occupied.

      Liked by 1 person

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