Candy Crush, I Think I’ll Miss You Most of All

I deleted all of my game apps today.

At first, I kept my two Bonzas (National Geographic and regular) and my beloved Solebon Solitaire because … well, come on. You gotta have something to do when there’s train traffic ahead and you’re stuck underground for an extra three minutes. But, then I started to write this piece and, “I deleted most of my game apps,” just wasn’t impactful enough.

I’ve been thinking about getting rid of my games for a while. I have no idea how much time I spend crushing candy or tapping dollar signs in Springfield each day, but I know it’s a lot. Meanwhile, I’m always rationalizing that the reason I don’t write or read more is that I simply don’t have the time.

Here’s how my day starts too many mornings:

Wake up, grab phone to check time; roll my eyes because once again, I’ve slept less than 4 hours.

The phone and I head to the bathroom. On the way, I tell my Amazon Alexa good morning so I can hear her dumb joke or interesting fact of the day. By the time I’m peeing, I’m two moves into my first Candy Crush game.

From the toilet, I ask Alexa to play NPR then I sit and listen to the news while swiping Tic Tacs and Gobstoppers across the screen, usually until I’ve exhausted all five lives. Sometimes if I’m on a good run, I’ll play long enough to get a sixth one. It’s those moments I hate myself the most. Fortuitously, today wasn’t one of those days.

This morning, “On the Air” was on when I had Alexa play NPR. They were featuring a segment called, “In Defense of Boredom,” and talking about how constant stimulation via our smart phones is keeping us from thinking creatively.

The guest was Manoush Zomorodi, author of “Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self,” and her theory is that we need those distraction-less moments when we’re waiting on the coffee to brew or the bus to arrive, to give our brains space to be imaginative and do some “autobiographical planning” for our lives, creative and otherwise.

Halfway through game two, I put my phone down and by the end of the show, I’d started deleting apps and thinking about writing this essay. Over the couple of hours I’ve spent working on the post, with intermissions to make breakfast and refill my coffee, I’ve reached for my phone no less than 5 times to try to open Candy Crush. Once was to see out how long it takes for a life to regenerate, the other times were to play a quick game.

Each time I remembered I’d just deleted all my apps, I experienced a pang of sadness and regret. Phone games are my go-to when I get stuck on what I want to say next when I’m writing. I’ll hit a mini roadblock and think, “I’ll just crush some candy for a second until I come up with the next idea.” 

The problem is, it never lasts for just a second … and way too often, I never come back to that next paragraph to finish writing. Instead, I go into a cycle of flipping between apps so I have a constant flow of gaming lives while my real, creatively unproductive one ticks by. Like I alluded to, I rarely sleep more than four hours a night, so I’ve got 20 hours a day to work with. I could be getting so much more done that’s a lot more satisfying than passing levels and earning bonus candies. So, I decided to give boredom a shot.

Three hours in, I’ve already posted to my blog more than I have in months. Let’s see how things go from here.

 

 

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About Susan

Susan Kent is a small town Georgia girl living in Brooklyn, NY, and working on those deep rooted issues from her southern upbringing. She's a freelance writer and storyteller and co-host of Tell It: Brooklyn, a storytelling show for grownups. Susan frequently performs around NYC at shows like The Moth StorySLAM, Yum's the Word, and Mara Wilson's "What Are You Afraid Of?" Her stories have aired on a variety of podcasts and radio shows including, The Moth Radio Hour, Kevin Allison's Risk! podcast, Dingmantics, You Can't Make That Up and many others. If you want to get more intimate with Susan & her thoughts, feel free to follow her on Twitter @TheSusanKent. (Not to be confused with the Canadian actress of the same name, which happens more than you would believe.)

2 thoughts on “Candy Crush, I Think I’ll Miss You Most of All

  1. I never played games on my phone, but I did do an experiment a couple of years ago where I stayed completely off of Facebook for the month of December — phone and computer. It was a struggle, at first. Constantly reaching for the phone or the computer only to stop short and remind myself that I had more productive methods of filling my time. It was a good experiment, but even for it being just a month, when that month was over, it was like an alcoholic getting his first drink again when I opened Facebook for the first time the following January.

    I’ve since decided to remove Facebook from my phone, but I kept Messenger simply for the instant communication factor of those that I can’t get via SMS or Google Hangouts. I did, however, reinstalled Facebook during Irma because it was the easiest way to stay up to date with what was happening around me since we were running skinny on power for the various Internet components and, at the very least, the shitty 4G LTE Verizon service would suffice.

    Today is the 17th and the storm was on the 11th (for us) and I still had Facebook on my phone. I had fallen back into the trap. I saw your post on FB for this entry on your blog (ironically enough via Facebook on the phone) and immediately un-installed FB from my phone, again.

    I do suffer from boredom, severely at times, and it’s super easy to fall into a pattern of dead-brain activity via some type of technological stimulation. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time completing any of my fucking books! My imagination is suffering. Goddamn you Zuckerberg!

    Thanks for waking me up, Susan! 🙂

    • hell. yes! so glad to help & it’s inspirational to know i’m not the only one fighting the struggle. 9 hours in & i’m at work on an awfully slow shift. i keep wishing i could do some crushing, but instead i’m engaging with the few customers i do have & writing responses to blog comments. #winning

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