10-Year Breaks

Between my “most professional” gaming days at the end of high school, selling all of my consoles and games in college, and restarting after being gifted a Nintendo Switch a few years ago, I spent almost a decade playing near-zero games. It was a productive break.

In those ten years, I’ve attained two college degrees, made many friends, and learned to fend for myself in the world of writing. I’ve built a career I love, found a home, and fell in love with a wonderful person.

And now, after all that, it was a great time to rekindle an old passion. I’m less obsessed about video games than I used to be. I can play casually and enjoy each game for its own sake. The habit has returned as a hobby, this time. Nothing more, nothing less.

In hindsight, I would do it all over again — but that’s the thing about 10-year breaks: You can’t plan them. Can’t “decide” to take one. Can’t put it on your calendar and “lock it in.”

If you love video games, roller-skating, or comic books, and a good friend tells you, “Hey, why don’t you stop all of that for ten years?” you’d give them a crazy look and go about your day. But we do it all the time, don’t we? We drop habits like apples accidentally falling out of our grocery bag, not even realizing we lost them until years later — and when we find them again, we conclude: Actually, the timing worked out rather well.

If you end up taking a 10-year break from something, it means that whatever lands in its place will be a better fit for your life at the time. Don’t worry so much about what you hold on to vs. what you let go. Allow patterns to flow in and out of your life as needed.

It’s never too late to catch up with an old friend — and perhaps, after a decade-long detour turns out to be the perfect time to meet again.