Thursday, January 24, 2013

And so this chapter ends

I realize that this post is a bit late (I mean hello where have I been for a month?!?!), but I wanted to make sure that I was completely at peace with this decision before posting it. That first sentence probably just gave away the ending (damn, no suspense!) but yes, this is the last post here at Tree of Life. I know I went away once before, but as difficult as it is, this time I have a deep rooted sense of peace knowing its the right decision. It's time.

About two and a half weeks ago, Jess and I sent a difficult email to our guild letting them know that the two of us were done with raiding. It's been obvious to us for a while now that we needed to recruit a couple more folks to keep our raiding going, though we had been incredibly fortunate to have our sister guild Emerald help us out. But looking at the crossroads we were in, I just don't think our hearts were in it anymore.

At the same time both of us were looking to focus on other aspects of our lives with the game being a smaller part of our lives. Honestly speaking I think that both Jess and I have had these thoughts for a while, but were afraid to tell the other. I think both of us knew that we would not continue raiding without the other, but not knowing what the other wanted to do, didn't want to bring it up. However we just suddenly both blurted it out to each other after a raid at the beginning of the month. I think we were both a bit surprised and relieved the other felt the same way.

For me personally, I knew that this spurred by really looking at where I am in my life, where I want to be in 5 years, and what changes I may need to make today to get to where I need to be. I think it had become the case where my schedule started with WoW and my ingame commitments, then I was trying to plan my real life around that. When in actually it should be the other way around. There have been a number of things I've wanted to get involved in during our raid nights that I just haven't been able to. Plus all of this happening around the new year/the time of new year resolutions is not a complete coincidence.

But then I had that horrible pit in my stomach about how to tell the kids/guildies. As the mom of the guild, I felt/feel this incredible obligation and honestly, guilt. And I guess in a way this pressure, this pressure where you feel responsible for the ingame enjoyment of others is part of what I wanted to get away from. But in another sense I think I enjoyed being depended on, if that makes any sense?

In the email to the guild, we noted:

"We’ve been exceptionally lucky to have such a healthy and rewarding social dynamic that has been TLC for nearly six years now, and it’s as wonderful now as it has ever been. We shouldn’t need to tell you that the friendships we’ve established here transcend the game and this decision is only a discontinuation of our role in the guild, not our friendships."

While this is 100% true, and while I still plan on being the ring leader to plan another Clawcon this summer, its still hard because the game is the vehicle by which we've hung out together for so long. It's not easy, and three weeks later I still get choked up thinking about it.

After we sent the email out I spent another week or so in a panic reaching out to individual folks in and out of game trying to make sure they understood why/how this happened. As I noted to Jess, even at the end, I'm still the mom trying to personalize things and make sure everyone is ok. To this Jess noted that this was why he needed to quit when I did... he doesn't make a very good mommy.

For our last scheduled raid night, in true mommy planning fashion, I did plan a number of amusing little activities for us. First, I called everyone to Dalaran and had us congregate at the sewer exit pipe. From there we played some guild darts, where we would hurl ourselves to our deaths off the exit pipe to some determined target. For round one, I made Jess go first, then see whose dead body would land closest to his. I figured that was appropriate given we've been following our GM to our deaths for years now.

After that we did a bit of guild dodgeball using those leather balls you can throw to each other. I found a place in Darkshore that was small enough but had some pillars and line of sight issues. We were separated into two teams and I had prepared different colored shirts. The two teams started with 15 balls each. It was clear my team lost when at the end my teammate Nikolai announced he had 24 balls in my inventory. Apparently he just likes collecting balls and not throwing them back out.

From there we went down to Gurubashi Arena for some pvp action, though honestly it ended up being "target K first and kill her first" kinda thing. Boo. Boo!!! In one iteration of it I tried to separate us into more than just two teams, but then ended up making one team with three hunters on it. Ooops.

I think the pvp action got our blood flowing because then we decided to visit each of the Horde cities. We figured we'd go for that achieve where you have to kill 5 players in each major city. Silvermoon and Thunderbluff were pretty empty as expected. I did have to applaud the poor little level 20s who would flag against a group of 7 or 8 level 90s that included two healers.

Undercity was a bit more fun. We ended up find a good little cubby from which we coordinated our attacks. "Back to the cubby!" was our rallying call. Our final visit to good old Org was a bit more eventful. There were some more deaths from our side, but we got a good number of Horde too and everyone got their achieves. All in all it was a great time in typical Left Claw fashion: lots of laughter, sexual innuendo, and swearing.

About six years ago when I started this game, I never could have guessed that the game would provide not only entertainment, but incredible friendships, an awareness of how I act in leadership situations, and in a way a view into an aspect of my true self. Before becoming the mom of the Left Claw, I had always thought of myself as a bit more stoic or emotionally reserved. I'm not sure that I really realized how much of a true nurturer I really am. For all of this I am so incredibly grateful.

Now it's only been a couple of weeks since we stopped raiding, so I'm still trying to figure out and find what my new routine and schedule looks like. I'm not sure what my WoW play time will look like, though I'd like to think that I'll still play casually whether that is to pvp or collect pets or whatever. We'll see.

Finally... this blog. I don't know whether this blog made me enjoy the game more or whether the game made me blog more. Perhaps a bit of both. Having had the opportunity to blog here has taught me that I really do enjoy writing. It's been a great 5+ years here and its really hard for me to admit that this is the last post. However it's time. If I'm playing less and less, I'm just going to have less to blog about here.

Thanks to everyone who has kept up with the blog. It's been a great ride and I've greatly enjoyed being a part of the blog community.

Thanks to my Left Claw guildies, past and present, for not only great friendships, but teaching me so much about myself.

Thanks to Jess... you know what you've done.

And so this incredible chapter sadly but inevitably ends. This blog been a blast guys, and I only have fond memories.

Much love,


P.S. If you're interested at all in keeping up with my random ramblings, there is a pretty strong chance that I will resurrect an old personal blog. Who knows, perhaps any random future WoW posts I want to make may end up there. Follow me at Carolina Blue Dreams