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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

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A to Z 2013 : NOSTALGIA

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

Childhood. I always remembered the phrase: “as a kid you always want to grow up, but when you do you wish you could be a kid again.” Okay, I’m not completely certain that is exact, but you know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes kids try to grow up too fast. I think some don’t get to fully experience being young, whether by choice or forced (forced makes me think of those children beauty pageants that make me incredibly sick to my stomach). They can’t wait to have this profession or that (usually a cowboy or princess), can’t wait to drive, can’t wait to have a family; the aspirations changing through the years.

I can’t recall if I wanted to grow up fast or not. I know I wanted to be a cowboy, a cop, a private detective, and then a bounty hunter (are you seeing a theme here?). Then dreams of being an artist/writer of comic books and novels came about. I don’t think this meant I wanted to grow up any faster, but like I said I can’t recall my state of mind. My family would, but I haven’t asked them previously.

One thing I do know is that I can’t recall a lot of my childhood; just little blips. I see pictures my relatives will post, and I’ve absolutely no recollection of the event/time frame. We aren’t talking only pictures of when an infant to three years old, but where I seem to be ten or older. Not exactly sure why I can’t remember these events. People have tried to hypothesis a handful of reasons, most usually involving trauma.

Resistance is Futile

A good chunk of what I do remember, however, are times I wish I could revisit/relive. Some of my favorite memories revolve around my creativity. For example, I would make games for my brothers and I to play together. These games could involve paper, cardboard bricks, or whatever else I had access to.

The main building block... to many of these creations were Legos. I would use our coffee table to build an entire street of a town. Sometimes I would enact a movie for them, but other times we would play a game. The game had no real name really (that I recall), and it was a variant of one I made with G.I. Joes (we were all boys, so yeah).

I guess it was called Friday the 13th after the movies, because that was my premise. You had a character and you decided which location/house you wanted to be at in town. I’d then use cards, which were shuffled (every day I’m shufflin’), and lay them out face down in front of the locations. I think I sometimes allowed for a character move now and again, but once everyone was ready I would then flip up the cards one by one. Those that were inside the Lego house marked by a face card died. What killed them? You know... ghosts. It was a haunted Lego city no one moved out of... just moved a lot on the same street.

We all loved playing that game. Even the G.I. Joe version it originated from which used books as “cabins” and an “outhouse” was popular among them; the killing being dished out by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-esque Jason Voorhees.

Eventually the games got a bit more complicated; dice were added to the mix. One of my favorite games consisted of constructing a Lego base that was besieged by the Borg (of Star Trek origin, if you weren’t geeky enough). You had a limited amount of space you could move, and if you were engaged by a Borg you would “battle” by rolling the dice. Our characters got 2 or 3 lives before being assimilated. The other characters (I guess Red Shirts by all accounts) would only have one. It all played out like an epic movie. Trust me. I know. I was there!

The Brothers, The Brothers

Through the years, after (and during) all the sibling rivalry/fights, the four of us have gamed together; Magic: the Gathering, board/card games, but mainly video games. Once we all got our own places/families/lives we had a weekly designated Game Night (generally Tuesday evenings). My brothers would come over — their TVs and game systems in tow — and we would spend the entire night gaming together. This was usually the highlight of my week, and I’d like to think it was for them too. If someone couldn’t make it, we would get pretty huffy.

Like with all things losing its appeal, eventually attendance dwindled as life dictated, and eventually we all chose one system (Xbox) to play on. Soon everyone had the internet, were online, and could game together from home. Game Night was reborn!

Again, that too began to flux, to the point where now I may game with one of my brothers every few weeks. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t game as much, and two of my brothers don’t play on Xbox anymore. I’ve just recently made up for it some by seeing those two brothers on Monday’s and playing with them on the horrid PS3. The third brother I see often on Xbox still and we play when able.

I long for a monthly (being weekly may be unrealistic) Game Night where we can all get together and game again. It spawned from our holiday tradition of playing video games at family gatherings — like Thanksgiving — while the rest of the family watched football, and I am a creature of habit.

Touched

What I miss the most, though, is that creativity. I guess it makes sense that I would have aspirations to be a writer; writer’s can create entire worlds, people, etc. A game designer was also high on my list. I even began to create a card game, but eventually almost all of that — along with most of my writing — was lost in multiple hard drive crashes.

I like creating things for people, but mostly for those I love and cherish. Over the last few years, I feel as though I’ve lost that creative spark. I get little surges of inspiration, but I never end up following through and finishing any projects. This is where the lack of motivation comes into play. I never have the lack of ideas, just the lack of drive.

I wish I could channel that ability I had when I was a child growing up. To be continually active in creating new things for myself and those I care about; for the world. For anyone and everyone to enjoy if they saw fit. To see or hear about how something I brought into the world touched someone in a very positive way. Touched their heart.

Even if just producing one more additional smile or laugh in this stream of life.

What did you want to grow up to be as a child? What games would you play with your siblings? Any sibling traditions? What are you most nostalgic about?

8 comments:

  1. Nice post. It would be great to have something that one creates touch someone wouldn't it? I have a lot of missing pieces too Jak. Most of the time, I'm pretty sure that I don't want to know.

    What did I want to be? A writer first, also wanted to do many different things but they were all things that helped other people.

    Didn't really play games much with my siblings when I was a child...they were much older than me. Traditions...also no for when I was a child.

    Most nostalgic about playing with my cousins and going on camping trips together. It was so much fun!

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    1. That is the main goal, creating something that touches another in a positive way.

      It is pretty cool you always wanted to be a writer! Recently my father said I wanted to be one when I was little, but I don't recall it.

      Maybe you could plan another camping trip sometime? Camping is something I've not really done a lot of, although I love nature and the woods.

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  2. It was so nice to read about your brothers. I pray that my boys will find something to connect them and will make time together a priority when they are older.
    For several years, life was mostly good growing up. My siblings and the neighbor kids would play all day long outside. We lived in the perfect location. Woods to explore, a creek to play in, open fields to run through, a dead end street so no worries about cars, and bike paths through the neighborhood. We had a blast.
    But as we grew and my parents remarried, I just wanted to grow up so I could move out. Home was no longer happy.
    Now, I thoroughly enjoy getting together with my parents and (original) siblings. I don't want to go back, except to see the grandparents that have passed away. There was just too much misery back then.

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    1. I think it would be great if they could find something they can all enjoy together. It may be a bit rough when they are younger, but perhaps when the hit their teens+

      Sounds like the perfect set up for kids! I've usually lived places with a lot of land to explore (as is evident perhaps from some of the shared stories). Only once graduating and moving out did I start living in an area lacking wildlife. Miss it quite a bit.

      Sorry to hear things were so bad back then, but it is wonderful you are now close with your family again!

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  3. This was such a sweet post. Well, not all the bloodshed and whatnot :) but hearing about you and your brothers playing together, both as children, and as adults. I hope you're able to get a monthly thing going with them again!

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    1. Yes, minus the bloodshed! haha It seems like a monthly thing could be likely now that we all will soon be in a closer proximity.

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  4. As a kid I wanted to be lots of things - from the person who drives the street sweeper to an archaeologist (because they got to dig up dinosaurs). But when I think about an earliest memory of something I really wanted to be, that would have to be an actress. I wanted to be up on the screen with some Hollywood actor type playing out some dramatic scene. As I got older and realized I was way too shy to even try out for the school play it hit me that the whole time I was lamenting being an actress I was writing it down. I had at least 7 journals filled before I was even a Sophomore in high school. And I haven't stopped writing since so its likely that was the right choice (regardless of the fact I had about a billion other jobs over the years, I kept coming back to write it down).

    I hope you get a chance to have that bonding time through the gaming. Even if it can't be as often as it used to be because of busy lives maybe you can still find time to have some fun together! Oh & get a backup drive or something man, that really sucks!

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    1. Street sweeper eh? That is fairly interesting. I think for a blip in time I fancied being an archeologist too. I was also pretty big on dinosaurs for a time. Maybe I just wanted to be a dino hunter.

      Acting would be awesome, but I have bad stage freight/anxiety which would greatly hinder that heh Same with the whole being in a band dream. That is impressive you kept such extensive journals. Do you use any of them for inspiration/plot points in your writing ever?

      I think the bonding will continue, just at a more spaced out frequency. That is better than not at all!

      Yeah, the sad part is... I bought a external HD and knew my last PC was on the fritz... but did nothing. Not sure why. Maybe anxious I wasn't going to do it right? Makes no sense, but I have odd anxiety moments like that.

      Now I use Google Docs so my work is auto-saved on there :)

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