My gaming took the opposite track to you in the early days. Funnily enough, games then were 2 player at best and unlike the Internet multi-player games we have now - which I tend not to play. In the days of the Commodore 64 we’d sit around and take turns. There was also a large social aspect in “swapping games”.
We were lucky to have the C64. Dad won it at work as a prize for sales I think. That wasn’t his job, but I expect in early 80’s few knew what the prize was. And it was a doozy. A Commodore 64, TV, printer and 5.25" drive.
Fair to say the opportunity was my gateway drug into my career.
I got back into tabletop role playing a year or so before Covid. I’d wanted to play again for a long time. With nobody to play with I headed into my local gaming store and asked if there was a game going. I enjoyed it very much. As an adult there was so much more I could bring to my characters. Covid and anxiety had me pull out. I was playing and DM’ing. It became too much. As a DM playing on Sunday afternoons, not thinking about the game all week until the next Sunday morning and then politely swearing to oneself is a sign of too much. I’m reluctant to get back into it because I’m concerned I’ll end up leaving again at short notice and that’s not fair on others.
I like your guitar story. Justified embellishments aside, were you that self aware of the decision at the time? I’m not sure that I would have been. Hobbies are wonderful things. We each get deep into what calls us and that’s often to the bewilderment of others. They can bring us together in weird and wonderful ways.
Two of my workplaces have had a “What was good last week?” check-in and depending on the cohort in the meeting I’m met with crazed looks or murmurs of appreciation.
Changing habits. Let’s not mention that.
I think my awareness on guitar went as far as this: I am enjoying playing music with friends in all forms, whether with my nascent band at the time or in jazz band and wind ensemble at school, while the video games feel less and less present to me. It just wasn’t a thing I was reaching for with my friends or a thing I much felt like talking about or engaging with anymore. My love of computers didn’t change, and this was an era of all kinds of horrible skinning you could do on Windows and futzing with Linux desktop and the like. But games just fell away, maybe because of shifts in friends or just shifts in priorities. I don’t think the awareness extended to “this is a thing I can do with my friends now” but it definitely was an awareness of “this is a thing that I love doing that energizes me, that is not”.
My early computers was not from the Commodore 64 days– I was at the very early Windows 3.11 Gateway 2000 club. The new hotness was the CD-ROM drive where I had Dinosaurs and Encarta and I spent tons of time browsing through both.
Things come and go. Sometimes I like cooking, sometimes it feels like a chore. Sometimes I like playing guitar, other times I haven’t picked it up in a few months. I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it, but I do try and remind myself that these things bring me joy, and sometimes I don’t feel like doing something because I haven’t done it in a while. Sometimes, I’ve forgotten what things mean to me, and I have to force myself out of a bit of a slump. The activation energy is hard, because remembering the joy can be really tricky.
I think you should head back to the TTRPG world. Just take it easy. I have found that it was way too easy to leave things behind due to COVID that I actually don’t want to leave behind. It has taken real effort to re-introduce those habits and hobbies, but also a great reminder of why they’re important. You need to fill that bucket up. Maybe being a DM is just not a thing that you can keep doing at this stage, or maybe joining an existing campaign will make you realize how much you miss it and give you the motivation to not feel like DMing is Sunday anxiety and drudgery. Or maybe you should try something like a trading card game or board games to see if that can generate a similar joy and social connection without the pressure of DMing each week. I think part of why I have moved away from, and stayed away from, video games is because most of the games I liked were huge commitments. I just didn’t have the energy to play like that anymore, and that’s why it became a chore.