For most of my childhood, I played with three things: stuffed animals, action figures, and video games. I’m probably biased, but I would say the late-80s through the 90s was prime for all three. While he wasn’t really interested in my stuffed animals, my older brother and I went back and forth for hours during the summer, exchanging controllers for figurines. When our little brother was old enough, he was invited to join our very exclusive, two-person gaming sessions. My favorite games were classics like Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros., Top Gun, Paper Boy, A Boy and His Blob — I could go on forever!
Video games and playing with action figures had a few things in common. The good games always had fun, creative storylines, many times including some kind of puzzle, which kept our minds running. This affected how we played with our figurines and characters. It constantly sparked our imaginations to create different stories, with one more interesting than the other. If what we had created was lame, we went back to the drawing board, aka the Nintendo. For the record, I want to add that I also read as a child, just in case anyone thinks I only stared at the tv. Anyway, the best part about creating our own adventures was that there were only two people in the audience — just me and my brother. The only people we needed to please and entertain were ourselves!
As an adult woman, some may say it’s time to move on from the stuff you did as a kid. But why? Why would you give up a part of your life that brought you so much joy and defined so much of your personality? To accommodate others’ views of adulthood? Uhhhh, no, thank you.
When I have a stressful day or need to shut off my brain, that’s when I turn on the console. Depending on my mood, I have the option of exploring ancient ruins for treasure or play a game of soccer with rocket-powered cars. And at the most inopportune time, right when I’m in the middle of a level, inspiration strikes and I have to find a notebook.
It may sound silly, but I only recently put together how my interests when I was young affected the rest of my path. I started college as a business major, realized I hated it and quickly changed to an English lit major. From there, I studied public relations and marketing. When I’m working, I create copy and campaigns the same way I created stories when I was seven — to entertain myself. Sometimes, my boss or the client hates my pitch, and that’s okay. I was once (or twice) told to come up with something new because my original idea was deemed “too fun.” That was seriously the best criticism I’ve received because Lord knows it’s better than the alternative.
Stay loyal to your childhood self. Life is better that way.