I ventured into the world of blogging at the beginning of this year. The first month or so I posted once a week maybe (I think). But my inability to balance life and my blog caught up to me quickly. I had to learn that delicate balancing act and I got up and running once more, with one (1) semi-regular reader supporting my cause (thanks, as always, Larisa).
So when someone starts to blog, is there a strategy that they form to define themselves in the blogging community, or THIS world as I refer to in today's title? Some people create gold-making blogs, and blog about little if nothing else. Others create class-specific blogs, only discussing those issues pertinent to that class 95% of the time. I think no matter the type of blog, a few % of the posts we allow to be about a holiday or announcement or something completely different, as long as that blog sticks to it's core.
So when I started this I had a purpose, I had things that I wanted to say. My blog is based on the concept of Dualism, or the theory that considers reality to consist of two irreducible elements or modes (i.e. relating to the belief that humans are made of two irreducible elements [matter and spirit]). In WoW there are two irreducible elements, Person and Character. When I play I become the spirit of the character who is on my computer screen. I cannot separate one from the other, because my characters don't exist without the person controlling it. We share experiences together, feel things (not literally feel, I mean that would suck to be cleaved by an axe in real life), laugh and cry at our successes and failures. Immersion into a fantasy world demands from me that I attempt to become one with my toon.
It's always with this in mind that I write about things, and will continue to do so. Bots aside, every toon we pass in the streets or the killing fields on Azeroth is a real person, a fact that is often discarded or taken for granted. I can't explain bad behavior, I don't think I'm smart enough to guess correctly why there are jerks in the game. But there are jerks in real life, everywhere we go. WoW, in that respect, is no different. I poke fun at these discourteous souls because they are easy targets, but am I much better than they? I hope I am; I make fun of bad behavior in general, I never attack someone specifically with cold, calculated malice.
Real lives interfere with the game quite often, well more for some than others. For me it's quite often. Most recently I had to suspend my raiding activities due to serious physical disabilities, I could not handle the stress raiding placed on my physical being. But this act, although necessary and understood by my guild, has had a negative impact on my raid team. Since my departure they have been hard pressed to find a suitable replacement healer, a fact I was made aware of just last night. I felt sorry for them, I knew that it was my abscence that has evidently stalled them. I can't speak to their recruiting efforts, I assume they are trying. But as Wrath is winding down, there seems to be greater difficulty in recruiting sufficiently geared and skilled replacements.
For a moment last night I felt the subtle peer pressure upon my mind, pressure to return to the group that wants me to come back, but knows that I cannot. That sentiment lasted for about 10 seconds, then another image passed through my mind. I was lying on a blanket in the middle of the park with my two boys. It's 7:30 at night, the sun has gone down over the western mountains but there's still enough light that the stars are not yet visible. This scene could never have taken place if I was breaking my body for a few hours of raiding because I felt guilty for abandoning my guildmates. That guilt is quickly wahsed away in the knowledge that I made the right choice. I'm trying to heal, trying to get myself well so that I can go back and contribute some day.
Our lives, our games, they can both have significant affects on our lives. Gaming is no passing fancy for many people, young or old. It might be, but it doesn't have to be. Building model ships, joining a chess club, playing on a softball team, and many other hobbies are a part of our lives. They serve to expand our experiences in one way or another, and can be as small or large part of our lives as we choose. We find enjoyment in these activities, not because we separate ourselves form the act, but because we immerse ourselves in it, making it of worth in our lives.
For me, to make it of worth in my life right now I moderate my play time. This allows me to enjoy it while I'm there, and heal when I'm not. I don't believe in excess of any hobby, I think your real self can be stunted by making your hobby your job. (Unless you get paid to do your hobby, then you're just a lucky devil). I had to learn how to balance my blogging into my life, which included my games, now my blogging is a sub-section of that hobby that brings me smiles and enjoyment in an otherwise difficult situation.
Please, remember that that person you just ran a dungeon with is a person. It doesn't take much to say "Hi" or "TY". So do it. They just might say "hi" right back at 'ya.