This is EXACTLY how I feel about Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (which I just completed after 77 hours of gameplay). Gaming during the pandemic has brought normalcy back to a lot of us who have lost our regular routines. And more often these days, I think people from the non-gaming community need to understand that it's not all about jumps and colours.
Gamers are spending those hours using their mental capacities. We exercise so much creativity, strategy, judgement, emotional intelligence and moral ethics (The Last of Us II pops in my mind) within several hours that few exercise in such variety in a typical workplace.
Thank you for writing this, Steve! And thank you to the game developers who have evolved our gameplay experiences over the years. In a time like this, they gave us tools with which to still sharpen our minds.