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Need to make a decision.
There's been this thing kinda building up inside me... and ... its becoming painful.

Its one of those things that I dearly want to tell the world about.. yet, its so private, in a way. I'm so afraid of getting laughed at .. for making a decision that might be "contrary" to what people think is "the way to live". And it seems so trivial.

Edit: At first i was going to make this friends only, but HECK. I gotta be who I am. So, its public.

So, i've been playing this game called "Guildwars".

I REALLY REALLY like playing this game. Its very simple, yet complex. Its well balanced. I'm finding it to be a metaphor for life... I have many interesting adventures with all kinds of personality types. It brings out the creativity in me, to a certain extent -- on how to mix certain skills together, plans of attack, etc.

However, i've been playing it in my spare time. Which, if you've been keeping up with my journal, you'll realize that, I don't have.. Sometimes, i'll get online on the game, and only meaning to play for 30 minutes, and 2.5 hours later, at 2am, i'm finally leaving it. I timed it once -- i was just going to "chooose some skills" to go hit something. 45 minutes later, i was done researching the skills and discovered that what I wanted to go hit ("Iron Mines of Moladune") was not the place that I thought it was ("Iron Horse Mine") and that, well, it wasn't going to happen.

The net effect of this is - loss of sleep.
With loss of sleep comes a feeling of being "stretched".
This is not bad when it comes to stuff like hanging with friends in the evening, or doing the things I like to do.
But when it comes to work, its a killer.

I don't work in a job where I'm like, 100% happy to be there. Not even close. After 15 years of doing pretty much the same thing, over and over, with slightly different job responsibilities... I have the "7-year itch" recurring, and its pretty damned strong. I do enjoy my work, when I have enough sleep.. The first thing to go when I'm low on sleep is my happy joyous attitude at work.. and all of a sudden, i'm very unhappy with myself, unhappy with life, grumpy, not the person I want to be..

Different thread -- possible career choices. Maybe there is a career that I can really enjoy for the next 7-8 years. I know that I'm definitely a technologist -- using technology to change process, enable people, solve problems. I also love flying (when I get a chance to be near it). I love empowering people, helping them to be the best themselves they can be. I love being of service. I love collecting and organizing. But.. focus on the game for now...

The game.

The things I love about the game ...
Using skills and tools to solve the problem of the quest or mission.
Teamwork. Especially creative teamwork where the process is established.
Helping people, empowering them to be the best themselves they can be.
Being of service.
Collecting and Organizing.

Wait. isn't that the same as above? (actually, i already knew that. I have a long thread in my mind about the metaphor between GW and real life, and its amazing the similarities. Yes, GW is a metaphor for life, for me. I get to experience the pattern of life, except that its time-compressed.)

What I want to do is -- make a commitment to playing the game -- to make it a Healthy part of my life. Not just piecemeal. I need this, so that it doesn't upset the balance of my life and take everything else down.

Many people will say: Just don't play.. Kinda like, no, don't follow your dreams, do this instead, life is hard and you need to suffer through it to make ends meet. But ... I LIKE it. And, there are a lot of people whom I'm pretty darned sure, like me playing with them. Who are you to tell me not to do something I like? Do I tell you not to Golf? not to run a company? not to do woodworking?

There's definitely an urgency about playing. I've found that whenever that urgency is present, then there are usually fears driving that urgency. What are my fears about not-playing?

FEAR: If I don't play, then everybody will leave me behind. This is a big one. Its actually come true, in a way -- when I first started playing, Luci Xav and I were the same levels, now they're both like level 20 and practically to the end of the game, and I'm still about half-way.

Yet, stepping back and looking at it -- looking at GW as a metaphor for life -- both Luci and Xav are the kinds of people who love to charge ahead and do stuff. Luci does it kinda, well, a bunch of chaos, and Xav is usually fairly thorough.

I'm not that kind of person. On a speed scale, I'm like, 6.5, versus their 9 or 10. :] If I tried to keep up with them, i probably wouldn't really enjoy the game.

And what I'm finding is -- there are other people who are slower than me (although, they are playing 4 characters each, etc etc) -- and I don't think of them as "left behind". Actually, i get a LOT of enjoyment out of going back and doing something with somebody where, its a new and cool experience for them, and for me, its a chance to do it "smoother than last time". I love watching how my character, as it gets more levels, can go back and do things which used to be hard fairly easily.

FEAR: If I don't play tonight, I'll miss something. It used to be the fear of missing the chance to play with Luci and Xav -- and part of that was based in the fear of playing with strangers. I wanted to play with people I know and love, or not at all. :]

What's happening is, there _are_ other people showing up regularly, whom I get a chance to play with. True enough, nobody is at the same level as me.. but then, are any of us ever really working on the same thing? I think that's almost impossible with this game. So, i'm so grateful that Ryan (FortyFive) and Reneau (Otter) are playing, on somewhat comparable schedules to me -- and Igor and Xav too, although that's less often.. and Diddy as well... I so much value the time we spend together. Thank you, mates.

FEAR: of playing with strangers Very similar to a pattern in my real life. What I'm finding is, if I take my time with forming groups, putting out my intention of "being loving, kind, helpful" as I go into the group formation process.. being positive and happy about everybody who comes along (as opposed to, wondering how this person might screw me over) ... I _do_ end up with really awesome groups of people. Sometimes, things go horribly horribly wrong.. and its fun! I laugh about it, as I lie there dead squished under an Ettin's foot.. "uh, did anybody else pack a rez?" ...

At one point, we had 8 people in our party -- we were trying to run to Temple of Ages, to do Villainy of Galrath. 1 dropped connection when the going got rough. 4 of us died (including me). 1 was left -- "Six Fire" i think was his name. W/Mo20 -- and he was surrounded by, IIRC, no less than 5 undead doggy-things, and like 7 Lvl14 apprentices, and 2 Lvl 24 necromancer types. In a perfect circle. He could NOT get out. He was blinded all the time.

Impossible odds -- yet, his healing could keep up. Those of us left in our soul-state (reminds me of Obi Wan Kenobi!) were totally cheering him on.. and totally in awe of watching him do his thing. Oh my God, it was so awesome.. And we snooped around the bad guys, and we figured out that over time, he WAS making a difference. It took like 4 minutes of constant fighting and healing, but he EVENTUALLY killed off one of the hounds, and was able to make a break for it.. put speed on and run again. And we made it.

Why i bring this up: I may not have been able to help out in person there. But I was able to be morally supportive, and that means a LOT. this is a game of real people playing with real people, and as long as I bring my "I love you" attitude with me, it seems to be a pleasurable experience all around. And people appreciate real team-players, i've found.

(might be a pattern to apply to RL as well).

Anyhow, so, my fear of playing with other people -- vastly lifted! I've gone through akward circumstances, and its come out okay. Occasionally there are some nitwits who think i'm doing something funky, but all I have to do is treat them with respect ("Sir", or "Ma'am"), apologize for my parts, and its worked out okay -- they've gone of pissy and fuming, and I'm like, "love you buh-bye!"

FEAR: That i'm avoiding something else This is the case for me -- its very easy for me to avoid emotions, feelings, by entertaining myself. I used to do it with computers, then I did it with Legos, and movies, and novels, and Mudding, and ... everything. This is a case of personal responsibility -- to leave time to feel, and if things don't feel right, then to take the time off to figure out what the heck is happening.

(starting to run out of steam, i better wrap this up).

So.. what am I going to do?

Well, i can't do anything about how others play the game, but I can ask people to play with me if they can.
I can't do anything about how others think of me or treat me, but I can be nice just because its the right thing to do.

What I can do is make GW a priority -- same as the other stuff i've got in my life. I set aside specific times to do those things.. and I do them week after week -- and it works out for me.

So.. that's what I'm going to do. I don't have the details right now, and I need to do a little fudging for monday night, but, at least for this week or this month, look for a regularly scheduled Sunny appearance on GW.

Lots of love,

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"That i'm avoiding something else"

Escapism. Both of us reek with it.

*from the guild wars community*

well- at least you care enough about yourself to not become a total drone- and recognise, that in quitting the game, you'll not be being true to yourself either.. you got it worked out fine, it seems.. giving yourself 'game time' along with everything else you must schedule for..

roleplaying.. whether it be tabletop dice based games, video games, or multiplayer online games, have always been theraputic in ways for me thoughout my life, though at times, i've worried about similar things as you.. i find i go in phases.. sometimes i may play and crackout alot- other times, i don't even play for awhile, (it's been almost three weeks without playing now- and i'm a weee level 8 me/mo. *laughs* still not alot of time spent playing yet- but i'm still weening off of FFXI too- heh. GW was my escape from that realm.) but i've found with many- it usually works out.

there is nothing wrong with adoring a good game that you have fun with.. in such a banal world, could you blame yourself for wanting such a harmless escape?

like i said, at least you know enough to not let yourself become a total waste of life drooling at a computer screen 24/7.. you won't because you know know enough now to be concerned, but accept that the extreme times you do, will always be offset in the future.

speaking of that- i may allow myself some guild wars time tonight, seeing as i haven't in awhile. *giggles*

*also from the guild wars community*

Part of the reason I've not played GW in a bit and have been mostly playing Halo 2 on Live is that Guild Wars seems to eat an hour of your life minimum, whereas Halo is at least broken down into 10 minute games - I may keep saying "one more game" but that's a lot better than "one more mission"!

One of the reasons I like guild wars is that, as it's free, I don't feel like I have to be playing or waste money. I don't play for a month - hasn't cost me a penny. Miss a month of WoW, and I'm pissed off because dammit, I PAID for that month.

Re: *from the guild wars community*

*bounces* I LOVE finding that people can be just like me, that I'm not just some wierdo. Thank you.

Wait - I play chaotically? :)

Oh, well.. not that bad. Just running like crazy across the map, ignoring all quests and missions, and then doubling back when you needed the xp... it was really cool to watch. Compared to us slowpokes here *raises hand* :]

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