I wanted to write today about raiding 10-man Naxx last night. I wanted to write about downing my first boss in there (Noth) and how the "dance" on the second part (Heigan) was ridiculously fun for how much we died, never finishing, but having a blast because of awesome people. I wanted to write about levelling my DK, Friday night retro raiding, and enchanting my gear. I wanted to write about escapism.
The truth is, I can't focus on my fantasy world today, for once. I mean, every day since I can remember (and probably many before that), I've roused myself out of bed (I hate mornings) and put on a happy face (with a lot of grunting as Fuu can attest to). I approach life with the idea that each experience holds a lesson to be learned. If you find yourself in a cyclical downward spiral, you're not learning your lesson. It doesn't make you dumb, just... some lessons can be harder than others.
I've been in downward spirals, I've been through some shit. Losing your father at 18 doesn't help these things. Being the oldest of four doesn't help these things. Being a role model doesn't help these things. Feeling responsible doesn't help these things.
I've learned that you get through it by focusing on your blessings and learning your lessons. By keeping your head down and running against the wind. I've learned that I have a wonderful mother who is the epitome of a strong female heroine, fit for any inspirational movie about the human spirit. Her unshakable faith and unflappable courage continue to inspire me on a daily basis. Dating at 50? Yeah, not as easy as one would think.
I have a wonderful, close family and a loving, beautiful soon-to-be wife. I have a *job*, though I'm not sure how long its going to last. I have a degree, which is something to be thankful for. I have friends. I have a roof over my head. I am blessed.
I've learned things along the way. I had an extremely rocky relationship for five years in high school and early college: I learned not to take my significant other for granted. I've puked enough that I learned not to binge drink. I've coughed enough that I learned smoking isn't for me. I've been there for friends and had friends be there for me. I've learned that it isn't the material things in life that you take with you to your grave.
I'm only 24, but I think people who know me would say I've been "around the block". Sometimes that happens I guess.
Right now, on a global scale, things are pretty rough. People are losing jobs, losing homes, losing lives. Like everyone else, I'm worried sick. I'm scared. How does one plan things in the midst of all this chaos? What are the lessons we need to learn from this? Where are our blessings?
I have to say, I'm not sure all the time. I can find the answers about warlock gear, boss strategies, and super DK specs. Those answers are out there. But what I can't find is the answers for life's "mini"-bosses.
I read something the other day about the benefits/downsides of online gaming. The topic has been overworked, overthought, overblogged, so I won't bore you with another list of things. We all know the benefits. It's why we're here. I just wanted to relate a few personal touches, from someone who knows. From someone who's "been through some shit".
Just about every night, I log onto a game and escape for a bit. I talk with people who's face I've never seen, and I'm comforted by their words. I share stories, share victories, share lives. I've met some of the most courageous people I know online. Take, for instance, my guild leader. She is the mother of a child with cancer. Daily she amazes me with her profound optimism and inner strength. How does she do it? Or look at the raid leader I know who is a single father and has been through some personal upheaval of his own, yet he remains one of the most positive and loving people I know. Or for the RL touch, I have a good friend who I almost never get to see any more because he is over serving his country in Iraq. I only get to chat with him when he gets online. There is a good story where he was grouping with a guildmate and left suddenly, not returning for a couple days. Turned out, in the middle of playing WoW, the place he was staying had been bombed and he had ripped his power cord out of the wall in his haste to seek cover. He wasn't shaken by the fact that he was bombed, but more apologetic that he had left without saying "good bye".
These people inspire me. These people give me hope.
There is a good bible passage (even if you don't believe in such things) that says: "Left are these three: Faith, Hope, and Love. The greatest of which is Love." Now, my priest said that the thing people need most right now, in a climate like this, is hope. How strange that I get that from a "silly game".
Why am I writing all this? Well, every morning, I still get up, still hate mornings, and still put on my "happy face". Lately though, going into work is like dipping yourself in a vat of negativism. In fact, so is watching the news or reading the papers. It seems like there is no hope. It seems like people have no faith. It seems like we've lost sight of love. But, every night, I enter a fantasy world where all these things are very real. I enter a world filled with hope, with love and laughter, with faith in the unknown, with magical stories, many of which have nothing to do with cartoon characters on the screen.
So thank you, all of you. Thank you for reading me and inspiring me with your comments, thoughts, and caring. Thank you for your stories. But most of all, thank you for sharing the fantasy with me. I hope each of you find your faith, find your hope, and find your love. I hope each of you are able to learn your lessons. I hope you won't let the world get to you, even though it tries so hard to beat us down every day. Remember: "This, too, shall pass."
"It's just a game," they say.
Every morning, I get up to a world that is just a little bit less bleak because of a game. For that, I am blessed, and if that is the only thing I ever get from the game, I'll consider it time well wasted.