When I was younger my gaming group was also fairly small. More to the point though we consisted of a fairly tight knit group of friends. There was maybe five of us total, but we hung out all the time. This made gaming sessions really easy to find. If we were hanging out, and not specifically doing something else, odds are we'd start gaming. The gaming session wasn't a "Thursday at 6" social meet up - though we had that game too, every Saturday at the FLGS with a different group - but just "do we have enough to do something? Yeah? let's game."
It is something you lose as you grow older, or at least so it seems. This is only logical when you think abut it. Getting older brings about day jobs, significant others, wives, husbands, kids, and a number of other responsibilities that get in the way. Our lives have a tendency of getting cluttered up. More to the point, we have a tendency to clutter up our lives. Other things become more important than socializing and having that fun. Other mundanities get in the way. Sometimes those other things are very very important. Sometimes they're not, but they're still there.
The worst part of this is that even if you can be available to do this one night, odds are the rest won't be. Then when they're available you won't be. The need for a scheduled game becomes more necessary, but along with that comes all the baggage of the social contract.
For example, I have a LOT of games that I'm in right now. I'm enough of an addict though that I want more. I have systems that I want to try, characters that I want to play. However, to get one of those games going I have to be willing to commit another night on a regular basis to that game. As do the people involved in the game. That can be a lot to ask.
Still, I'm wondering if the "Whenever We Want, Whenever We Can" method of gaming necessarily has to die with old age or does it just have to be a lot less regularly occurring? My cousin, his wife, a friend, and I have a game that we play whenever we can all get together. That means holidays for the most part, but when that happens we hit the games fairly hard. Granted, none of us have a child to worry about so that makes it easier. We've also started something like it in my house, a small Pathfinder game to kill time on days when we're all bored (though, this may change to Fate Core or something easier to run quickly depending on time constraints in the future).
I'm not sure, and this has become more rambly than I originally intended. What do you guys and girls think? Does growing older necessarily mean that you have to lose out on gaming time, and on gaming casually instead of on a set schedule? Sound off in the comments.