Flask Half-Empty

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The Lull of Summer

Little Sproutling is too sleepy for beach time fun…

Ahh, summertime. The sneaky creep of hot weather and lazy days is among us. Or is it…?

It’s the summer lull that’s been knawing away at my mind, knowing that expansions and new releases are abound and on the horizon. So close…yet so far. On first glance, the chanced sightings of friends and guildmates online have been slim: WoW seems like a barren wasteland nowadays, with guild members online in the zero-to-single digits, and friends logged onto other games. And even in said other games (I’m looking at you, Diablo 3) friends are progressed into Nightmare-Hell modes, and some even Inferno — far beyond where I’m still lurking, in the early Acts on Normal.

I suppose this is where I feel a bit wistful. I wish I didn’t always feel as if I were far behind everyone, but at the same time the last month has been all-around tasking with work and my slow transition into the next phase of my life/career, moving from research to secondary education.  A classic case of real life “getting in the way” of the fantasy escape. (…it’s been nearly a month since D3 released? Geez, I am behind the times!)

I think these are the questions I always find myself asking:

Did I find happiness, having followed my priorities? Or is there some way I could have managed my time to have squeezed in more gaming?

The answer should be simple. It should be a given that I’m satisfied, maybe proud even, that I’ve been so focused on the next stage of my life and career. When I received my acceptance letter to the teacher residency program I interviewed for, it was surely an “Achievement Unlocked!” moment. And I felt that way again, after I started back on my routine of jogging 4 miles a day. But I couldn’t help but feel selfish at the same time. Maybe I felt like I ditched my friends, guildmates, or even characters. Maybe I missed the structure and set-paced schedule of progression raiding. Maybe I just miss playing hours on end and devoting more time to a hobby I love. Maybe I even felt guilty for playing so little of something I’ve paid for. Or maybe in the end, it’s a kind of withdrawal syndrome.

But back to finding the happy medium. I think the dissatisfaction of being perpetually “behind” stems from the social aspect of these games. Seeing friends take down fantastically designed bosses in D3 has me longing to be there alongside them. It’s hardly so much that spoilers are everywhere I look, but the fact that I take delight in viewing said spoilers is the double-edged sword that has me yearning to catch up to everyone and stop trailing behind everyone. I think this is something I need to discover and remind myself; to be perfectly okay in being slow in progress, but to remember to set aside some game time into my schedule as well. I’ve had laughs with a close friend about planning out “when to work on what” in various games in my agenda, but I think it’s not too far out there. I’ll keep trying to squeeze in time every day, but I’m doubtful of returning to the times where I’d have solid blocks of hours to grind. Oh, how I’ll reminisce those good old days of spending hours and hours with friends doing silly things.

On a positive note, I guess for now the summer lull is a hidden gift. While people may be burning out on end-of-expansion boredom and looking to other games, I’ll take the chance to explore things slowly at my own speed — explore every nook and cranny of maps and crack open every barrel and chest, without anyone to pressure me to “hurry and catch up!” It’s also perhaps a perfect time to squeeze in time to work on my WoW Ironman Challenge, since I won’t be leveling like crazy to hit 90 and then the ever antagonizing grind for gear…yet. So I should probably get on that, yes. Until next time…