Oh no, not That Doctor.
And not my friendly family practitioner.
The doctor I deleted was a knockoff of Doctor Mario – a free game I downloaded on my iPhone maybe a month ago, one snowy cold Minnesota Sunday when I thought, hey, I wonder if there are any Doctor Mario games I can download for free on my newly acquired iPhone 3gs? (Doctor Mario was my favorite video game back in my college days – it’s something like Tetris.)
And sure enough, there was one.
Thus began my addiction.
I played it to “de-stress.” I played it on Sundays, while the rest of the family played Xbox. I played it in the evenings after the kids went to bed. I played it in the evenings while dinner was cooking. I played it in the evenings after dinner while the kids did their clean-up chores. I played it on Saturdays. I played it while the kids would ask me if I wanted to play with them. Usually I’d put it down then, but not always.
These are the confessions of an addict.
I knew I needed to quit. Heck, I knew I should never have started. When Nathan inherited and fixed a broken Xbox and asked me about my interest level, I said, don’t get me started. I hadn’t played a video game in years, and for good reason. I get addicted.
This past weekend I went on personal retreat. Of course I had my phone with me. No, I did not play – or even feel tempted to play – “my game” during the whole weekend (I would have drained the battery and there was no electricity in my hermitage!). I read some books that renewed my inspiration to live generously, slowly, meaningfully (The Windows of Brimnes by Bill Holm, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren).
I came home truly de-stressed, and eager to live more intentionally, more present to the people around me in each moment.
And I succeeded, for maybe ten minutes! I hugged my family, played a card game with a friend’s daughter who was visiting; and then when the kids went in the other room to play some Xbox together, I went for my fix with the Doctor.
It was my last fix, though. That evening as I reflected over the day, remembering my kids seeing me pull out my phone and saying, “oh, you’re playing your game again aren’t you?” – and not in a joyous, “good-for-you” tone – I decided to delete the Doctor.
Clicking that little “x” felt great.
Now I’ve decided that a “de-stressing” activity should be something that is ultimately good for me – like exercise, or good food, a conversation with a friend, playing music, taking a power nap or curling up with a good book, catching up on the blogs I follow, or even watching an episode of The Doctor – the one I would never delete!
I know, I can always download the other Doctor again. But I’ll have myself, my family, and the expansive life of my dreams to answer to.