When I was younger we had a board game called The Game of Life. Despite its facetious name I suppose it was fairly accurate. You went to school and got a degree, got a job, married, bought a house, had kids then retired. In a way that's what life is to most people. Now that I'm getting on in years I see that people around me are all in long-term relationships, or getting married, or having kids, or buying houses, or planning retirement…playing The Game.
When I was a kid we spent our days pulling pigtails and playing computer games. Now that I'm an adult it's kinda weird how everyone else is playing The Game but I'm still pulling pigtails and playing computer games. I don't dwell on it, but sometimes I think about all of the normal things I've never known, and probably never will know. Time is marching on relentlessly but I'm staying the same, getting more and more distant from my peers, never being able to advance beyond those first few squares. They're developing their lives while I'm treading water. Next they'll all be dying, just to make me jealous.
I suppose in a way my current abstinence from alcohol is simply a subconscious furtherance of this retraction from life. I was never the social butterfly, but when I was drinking I did at least have a reason to leave my house at the weekend when the sun was down. I wasn't socialising as such, but at least I was out among people. I wasn't diving from the high board, but at least I had my toes in the water. At least I was rolling the dice.
Every day when I go into work and hear about the lives of others it's dawning on me what "life" is supposed to be and the pleasure people get from it. If they knew the truth, my life to them would seem like the plot from some futuristic horror movie. They don't know the truth though, so instead each Monday they ask "What did you do at the weekend?"; faces aglow with fresh memories and enthusiasm.