I came to this conclusion today. And it made me extremely sad.
I went down to the local gaming store today to take a break from studying by playing a little Magic the Gathering. I had a new Commander deck with me that I built a couple of weeks ago, but for whatever reason I have not had the chance to use it. I get to the store, and it’s pretty empty. There are six guys sitting around playing a gigantic game. One girl sitting with her collecting in a binder, looking over cards. Another three guys are buying or trading with each other. And some guy’s girlfriend is off in the far back playing games on her phone while her bf is playing in that single game happening.
I walk over to the table, say hi to a few people that I recognize, and sit to watch the game. It’s as slow as cold snot. No one is in a rush to make a play, or to even contemplate their next move. They’re sitting, and chillin. Talking. Discussing cards, or their life, or whatever. Wasn’t really paying attention. What I was noticing was that no one in that store was in a particular hurry to get anything accomplished: the guys selling weren’t in a hurry to get their new cards. They didn’t actually seem interested in the cards- they were flipping through binders just to have something to look at. Not even the girl waiting on her boyfriend to finish his game seemed in a rush to have his attention back. All these people were just here to spend the time.
And it was making me as anxious as hell. I came with a purpose: I wanted to play a game. I wanted to test my wits, to test my focus and ingenuity. To see the results of my deck-building efforts. To push myself. I ground my teeth realizing that I was the only one here with that purpose. None of the give people playing the sole Commander game in the building had these goals: if they wanted to play play, they would have played two smaller games. For anyone reading who doesn’t understand Commander: the more people that play a game, the longer that game will take. And the longer the game is projected to take, the more hesitant the players will be to knock players out early (it’s a social, political game in addition to a logical one, thanks to the group dynamics). It was difficult to put myself in their shoes: why would they want to waste sooo much time playing one single stupid game? What were these people doing here? Didn’t they understand that their lives were being wasted? They only get so many years here on this planet, in the wealthiest, safest country in the world. And how do they use this precious luxury? Small talk while playing a dumb game that involved very little skill or effort.
And then I realized why it was bothering me so much that they were wasting so much time: I was wasting my time. Sure, probably none of these people have any serious goals. Simple lives and simple people. Myself, however, I have huge goals. And every moment that I stood in that shop, I proved myself to be no different than the people who will do nothing with their lives.
I stopped getting angry at them, and picked up my cards. Maybe they don’t have goals; maybe they don’t want to be anywhere else in the world but in that shop enjoying the company of their friends. That makes them more successful than me, and it reminded myself to stop blaming others for my own restlessness and unsatisfaction. I left the shop, with the intention to doing something more productive.