2017 has started and I sit here at my keyboard, alone among my many possessions with still so few to share my passions with. It's frustrating, its debilitating and more than anything else it's depressing.
As I get older my circle of friends of my own age group get smaller. Those in the younger age groups seem to be reluctant to embrace those who are older or not amongst their initial group of friends. I have spent hours watching YouTube footage of conventions and it is depressing to see that while it is refreshing to see a resurgence in my hobby, it is not so great to see the discrimination there seems to be between the groups of hobbyists. This is of course from both camps, those who have been there from the beginning - like myself, and those who have just arrived on the scene.
Recently a new business opened in the city and I saw photos of the events hosted there. They showed attendees who were all young people (compared to me), dare I use the word - trendy, cafe type, hmmm, perhaps I'm not quite able to find the right word to describe the group. However what they are is not people over 50, so where have all the gamers gone who were at the cusp of gaming back in the 70's when the revolution started? Has the reality of life truly had such significant changes on their lives that they stopped altogether what they once loved? Why? For example a person who loves reading doesn't suddenly stop reading (except for exceptional circumstances), so why would you leave a hobby you love?
I believe that the hobby is a highly social and interactive one, the need to be with people is the key to why being successful in interpersonal relationships is key to long term gaming life. The majority of people tend to form a gaming circle of anywhere between say 4 to 6 people and that will be the group they will stick with over the lifetime they may have together. It will shrink eventually to the point where the group will be untenable to function. The people from this group then have the difficulty of having to find others! If they have only had their own insular group then attempting to find another group or others can be difficult, finding others whose temperament may fit into the group is another factor. This is the all defining problems with ageing game groups.
How then do people find new people? That's the problem? As an ageist I find it difficult (though not as difficult as those of many my age) to relate to those younger than myself. Finding others to share my hobby with is a challenge? Where do you go? Who is going to accept you? Who are you going to accept? The questions are almost limitless... I really have no definitive answer except patience and the hope that you can find others, and the only way that may occur is through social media and clubs or other such venues that will allow people to network without cost.
A friend of mine once said to me "you have a magnificent collection of games, you can easily host games that people would be willing to play, you could charge a small fee (say $5-$10 a head) to play, have a bar and nibbles canteen, all to fund new games to build a library and continue the cycle". Sounds wonderful doesn't it? My answer was "who will come?" and that's that crux, and will come. I built a magnificent games room and library but it has attracted nothing but jealousy. People may want to know me in a social context of a club, but once we walk out the door, no one wants to spend the time of day knowing me. If I pass a person in the street, they will pretend not to know me, sad but true. So it's a depressing time in life, the older you get, the fewer the opportunities in life you retain and the chances to improve your life reduce accordingly.
So if you are a younger person, remember, you to will be an old person one day. Take the time to cultivate relations with all age generations, maintain them, enjoy them. Nursing homes are not the only place that have lonely people.
- Attempt a regular home based gaming group
- Resume Role Playing
- Start painting miniatures
- Try linking with others, push the comfort zone (not really possible but will try)
- Try living, rather than seeking death