When I was a child, we had a Super Nintendo, a Sega Genesis, and a Game Boy. While my brothers and I weren’t exactly starved for game options, what we had was what we had. And I loved all of them. I played them all to the point where I can still pick them up and know exactly what to do to beat them quickly and efficiently. I also remember how much fun I had playing them in non-traditional ways. To this day I still find myself gravitating toward the games I played as a child, because they represent a vital aspect of life that I might not have developed without them: contentment.
New is Not Always Better
Gaming culture is big on nostalgia, and a big part of that is what I described above: when you only had access to one game, it became the most important game of your life. Modern gaming has become more approachable, more iterative, and more diverse. And more forgettable.
But every game has it’s charms if you steep yourself in it for long enough. Take Destiny for example: In it’s initial release, it was an ambitious game with robust multiplayer elements that fell flat for a lot of reasons, mostly because of the lack of narrative progression. But it had charm, and it grew into a very enjoyable experience for those who stuck with it. Now my friends and I talk about our “Vanilla” experiences with nostalgic smiles, even though it wasn’t amazing at the time. Had I moved on to another game, I would have missed out on this nostalgia; and I wouldn’t have as much fondness for Destiny.
Finding Contentment in Love
Spoiler alert: I’m not really talking about video games here. I mean, I am; but I have a larger purpose. I went on that tangent to describe the power that contentment can have on a relationship; whether it is a relationship with a video game or a relationship with a person.
In today’s world there are almost always alternative choices, no matter what you’re talking about. If I want to go on a date, I can download Tinder and swipe through profile after profile until I find a girl I want to go out with. If I want to play a game, I can choose between an epic first person space adventure like Destiny, or I can mindlessly teach a fish to jump to ridiculous heights (Yes, I still play Magikarp Jump…)
This is where contentment comes in: There is no way that I would have put over 600 hours into Destiny, or (sigh…) reached level 60 in Magikarp Jump if I allowed myself to get distracted by every new game that came out. Likewise, I would not be in a healthy relationship if I was still on the lookout for a “better” partner.
Contentment isn’t really something you find; it’s something you make for yourself. I am content playing Destiny and Magikarp Jump; but you might be content with Skyrim and Bubble Witch Saga. The key to building contentment in a relationship is simple: appreciate what you have, and don’t compare it to anything else.
In contentment, “good enough” means that even if nothing changes you can accept and find joy in something; be it a game, a relationship, or a project. In complacence, “good enough” means that it is passable; you can meet the minimum standard, but you don’t care enough to go farther than that. That’s when you stop caring, and that’s when your relationship starts to sour. So find ways to appreciate and feed your relationship, and be content with what you have!
What does contentment mean to you? Have you experienced contentment in your relationships? I would love to hear about your experiences! And while we’re at it, what are the games that you are always content to play?