As I write this, my youngest daughter is home from day care with a head cold. She’s in the other room, engaged in a pitched, no-holds-barred fight with the Sleep Monster, but will eventually succumb.

In addition to the virus that’s been working its way through the family for the last week and a half, a number of other obstacles have cropped up. Our home server started rebooting at random, taking a week of troubleshooting and rebuilding. My phone decided that it didn’t want to receive email or even phone calls on a regular basis. The laptop decided that I would be best served by a white screen after about five minutes of operation. A car battery experienced a slow, lingering death. One of the smoke detectors decided to start chirping in the middle of the night. And my home game suffered a TPK, requiring some ‘reboot’ attention.

I’m not asking for sympathy, pity, or even attention for all of the above. (The server is better than ever, the phone is rebuilt, and the laptop and car battery were under warranty.) But I felt guilty about my lack of productivity for the site, especially on the heels of our end of year reassessment, and so I am stealing some time from all the unfinished chores to finally write an article.

And then I realized that this is just a hobby. It’s a hobby I love, and spend time and money on, and that intrudes into my other interests and responsibilities. But it’s a hobby, and sometimes more important responsibilities come first. As I’ve said over and over to apologetic and frustrated gamers, “Real life comes first.”

Yes, it’s frustrating, but that’s life. It’d be great if we all could do whatever we want, whenever we want, but it doesn’t work like that. Stuff happens, and we get to clean it up. Responsibilities grow as we grow, and I’ve found that the best way to deal with the obstacles is to acknowledge them, and get past them with a minimum of griping and complaining (and guilt, if your responsibilities are impacting others).

So when your group is ready to take on the BBEG, but the player of Sir Abrams the party tank has a sick wife and child, don’t take it out on his character. When your hard drive crashes in mid-prep, and you don’t have any of the data you’ve been working on all week, don’t let it ruin your week, even if it royally screws up tonight’s session. When you haven’t gotten any game time in months because you grossly underestimated how much time and attention a newborn baby requires, think of all the time you can game with that little bundle of joy when he or she gets older.

And now that Little Bit is asleep, I’m off to clean her bottles and do the laundry.

Got anything else to add, or just want to vent on that time when something kept you from your game? Sound off in the comments and let us know!