Connecting with the Past

Do you ever wonder what you as a child would think of you as an adult?

Young me - not bald
Young me – not bald

I’ve been thinking about my past a lot lately. It’s not something I normally consider. I don’t really have a strong connection to people or events that happened more than a couple of decades ago, but last Friday night I started thinking about what I would say to a teenage me. I’m not talking about giving my past self advice or tips on the stock exchange. I’m talking about what it would be like to have a conversation with that younger me. What would he think of old me? Would we have things to talk about? How well would younger and older me connect?

I think it started after I read Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange by Mark Barrowcliffe. The book describes how Barrowcliffe made his way through adolescence as a gamer, focusing primarily on his discovery of role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. Barrowcliffe is only a few years older than I am, so I figured that it would be an interesting and thoughtful read. It wasn’t a very enjoyable read, but it was thought provoking. Playing RPGs as a teenager didn’t have quite the impact on me as it did on Barrowcliffe. I never felt like an outcast because I enjoyed playing games.

Earlier this week, GamerChris wrote about Getting Back to Some Old-School D&D, and how enjoyable it was to get back to his RPG roots. I loved the article, and it got me thinking about the simplicity of gaming back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. More importantly, it got me thinking about that younger me, and it made me happy to think that I still have quite a lot in common with him. That may seem strange to you, but it made me happy to think to I didn’t lose that guy that taught himself to program BASIC so that he could roll dice and automate the creation of Non Player Characters.

Maybe some adults would find this a little backwards, but I’m happy to still have that connection with games and gaming, and with play in general.

I think younger me, after the shock of finding out that he will be bald, would like me enough to sit down and play a game.

4 Comments

  1. amy

    Teenage me would be very surprised that I wasn’t either a millionaire or a political rebel living in a shack somewhere. (I didn’t have a clear idea about what I wanted as an adult, but I knew I was going to do it hardcore.)

    I didn’t play many boardgames as a teenager (my friends and I played a lot of trick-taking card games), but I was nerdy in lots of other ways and I’m glad that we nerds have pretty much taken over the world … well, at least the internet.

  2. Great article. Yes, I think about stuff like this quite a bit. In my case it comes from parenting, and I’m guessing you have a similar connection. I know more about what I’d say to my younger self, less about what my younger self would think of me. Though I always knew what I wanted to do, both in life & career, I don’t recall ever thinking much beyond the next step.

    Growing up in the 60s-80s, I recall honestly thinking there was a good chance the world would be destroyed by nuclear war. What’s amazing is how fatalistic I was about that. Of course it would tragic & unfair, but that wouldn’t stop it from happening. Thankfully, it kind of DID stop it.

    Anyway, good to ponder now. Thanks for the article. Made me think.

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