One Year On

Thought I had on the way to work this morning: Exactly a year ago, I had just finished my last shift at Badger Cab and was headed home to pack and sleep before heading to Gen Con the next morning. It would be the first time in nearly a decade to not start my Gen Con trip by working through the night and then hopping in a car for the ~8hr drive.

And I do mean exactly a year, since I got done with work at 7 am the tues before Gen Con, and for home some time after 8 that morning, since I had already moved out of my apartment and was stating with a friend. Today, I started work at 8, so I was on my way to work at almost exactly the same time.

Anyway, I was just reflecting at how different things are after a year. I’m still going to Gen Con, same as I have every year for 20+ years [I’m actually not certain which year was my first, but I think it was ’91]. And I’ve still got roughly the same Monday-night game group as I’ve had for the past ~4 years.

But now we’re gaming via Skype from 3 different cities.

I leapt into a new city, with nothing there but my girlfriend, but after only a year I’ve got a good job and my sights set on a better one. I have plans and goals–and, more importantly, I see a path to them. I’m going to the gym regularly–I’d been meaning to get back to yoga for a decade–and taking dance classes again. My posture is finally making real progress, after decades of half-hearted work on it. And for the first time in a long time, I’m actually feeling energized about RPG work again. I participated in Game Chef last week, and had a blast (and a big confidence boost).

It’s amazing the difference a year can make. Oh, it’s not perfect. I miss Madison and my friends. I’m still trying to create a local gaming group. And I’m horribly out of shape so it’ll be a while until I land a suitable music group.

But isn’t the adage that nothing worth having is easy? Or is that doing? In this case, they’re both apropos. I’m way too good at being contented and comfortable. The majority of the time, it makes me happy and well-adjusted and easy-going. But there’s such a thing as too contented, IMHO, and pulling the rug of life out from under me has at least forced me to be quick on me feet. Or something like that–I’ll let you impute meaning to that, since I’m not entirely sure it actually works as a metaphor. Particularly because I have friends and acquaintances who really have had their lives turned upside down, and I don’t want to trivialize the very hard times they’ve gone through. It may have been rough for a while, but at least I had a place to live and a wonderful girlfriend–it was just hard to see my way forward on other fronts.

A year ago, Gen Con felt a little like my entry to the underworld, leaving behind almost everything familiar and beginning a journey where even the common things (like trash service) were strange and new. I go to Gen Con one year later as a celebration of friends and fun, and realize that I’ve made it through the underworld. My journey is far from complete, but I’ve changed and learned, and now I see a path. And Gen Con is no longer a bridge between things, but is once again just a vacation.