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As a parent, I normally take great pride in my children’s accomplishments. I’m pretty sure it’s a written rule somewhere in The Parenting Handbook…which was buried centuries ago on Oak Island. But I’m competitive too, and that’s not always a good thing. Especially when those accomplishments overlap. I’m pretty sure there’s also something in that handbook about being a gracious loser, and I am. Or at least I try really hard to be. We all have our moments of parenting fails, and that’s when we have to admit our mistakes and trust our kids are gracious with us.

Don’t worry – I’m not writing about a parenting fail. At least, not right now.

It’s no secret I like video games. The obsession interest took shape just before Big Guy moved out. He got me hooked on Guitar Hero. And since his Xbox 360 went with him, he conspired with Hubby to give me my very own. I’ve wasted hours of my life since.

Unlike Little Guy, I’m not obsessed with earning all the trophies and racing through the levels. I try to enjoy the journey. Until I get stuck and force one of my kids to get me over the hump. I’ve helped them through a few too, but at an ever decreasing rate. Worse, I’m at a higher level than both of them, but can’t seem to kill it quite the same way. And the algorithm groups me with players who are levels below me.

It can be frustrating!

In the Summer, after a particularly brutal game of Monopoly, I felt conflicted, so I wrestled through this question: When did my kids get better at everything than me (leaving me feeling like a washed up loser who is ready to sit in a senior centre and weave baskets while singing Kum Ba Ya)?

An aging gamer, Theo Karasavvas described gaming in his younger days as “breathing…then all of a sudden, after thousands of hours spent playing across genres and platforms, boredom hit me hard for the first time”. He assumed he need only find a different game to stimulate his interest once again. He also blamed more responsibilities and stress in life for ruining his appetite. But is his reasoning completely accurate?

Sure, our appetites changes as we grow older, but (sometimes sadly) so do other things. Like our priorities, our sense of accomplishment changes too. High scores pale compared to a lower body mass index, especially as muffins tops sprout exponentially with every decade.

The desire to compete also decreases with age. The core gaming market targets 18-30 year olds. Many of the first-person shooter-style games, like my favorites, Halo & Overwatch, take time to develop skills. Older gamers simply don’t want to invest that amount of time, and prefer slower-paced, or solo games.

And who can forget that our bodies and brains are slowing down with every passing birthday! We tend to buy into the lie that we can’t keep up with our younger counterparts and our struggles become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sometimes we can’t keep up, but gaming continue to have benefits as we age.  There are a number of reasons why I play video games. And as long as my kids don’t mind if I sometimes slow them down, I’m going to keep playing. This “senior gamer” prefers to call it – leveling up!

Happy weekend!