Late last month:
AG: Chantel, you should write something special for your birthday blog.
Me: Birthday blog?? I wasn't planning to write anything. The only thing on the birthday itinerary is playing video games.
AG: But, don't you think people will want to know you're turning fifty this year?
AG: It's the big five-o, though!
Me: Back during World of Warcraft's Burning Crusade, I was excited about hitting level 50 because the maximum level in the game at the time was 60. But after a decade and finally making it to level 120 in the Battle for Azeroth expansion, level 50 looked rather noobish, ya know? Everyone had level 50 achievements! That's all to say, fifty is the new thirty-five. It's just not that big of a deal to me.
AG: Chantel, we're not gamers.
Me: Look. My dad, born in 1912, outlived friends and family. He lived to eighty-five as a type-one diabetic, eating Oreos, drinking half-and-half straight from the carton, all while sitting under a tree for the entirety of his 25-year retirement. Now that's an achievement! Fifty? Meh.
AG: Well, not everyone is making it to eighty-five. Perhaps we should be grateful for every milestone?
Me: Oh, I'm immensely grateful! Doctors told me twenty years ago that I wasn't going to make it to forty, so I count my blessings and thank the angels for pulling me through.
AG: What a beautiful sentiment to add to what will, no doubt, be an insightful birthday blog. While you're at it, perhaps you could even touch on what the angels might have to say about longevity?
Me: Longevity? Fifty isn't that old! Besides, I'm here more to watch this game than actually play. I'm just here to help a few players get through this particular map while connecting them to the game moderators who, on occasion, drop a few cheat codes here and there.
AG: Again, we're not gamers. In plain English, please?
Me: The players are us humans. The map is this life we're in. And the game moderators are the angels, gods, etc.
Me: See, I'm one of those casual players that used to be hardcore. I've played this map before and have unlocked a lot of achievements. I'm only here now because everyone I know is still playing. So, I'll hang out in chat and reminisce about the good old days of previous expansions while grousing about recent updates. Sure, I'll join in on a quest or two, but I'm not really attached to the game itself anymore.
A ton of players have that level 50 achievement, right now, but I'm more interested in how many team assists and saves I've made, or how many angelic guides I've unlocked! (I'm about to hit thirty!) Above all, it's the relationships I've made and fostered in-game. Those mean much more to me than hitting level 50.
AG: Right. Let's go back to longevity. Don't you want to live a long life?
Me: Here? Have you not seen this current map? *maniacal laughter*
Me: Oh, goodness. You're serious? Guys, I can appreciate that this game means a lot, if not everything, to so many. And I'll happily support and assist those players and encourage their enthusiasm. Still, there are other maps out there to play, countless other worlds to see. This is but one. Quite a unique and extraordinary one, to be sure. But I've arrived, I've played, I've done all of my exploration early on. Fortunately, I saw much of this game's beauty and splendor well before the trolls joined the server and ruined the social aspect of the game.
AG: Wait, are we still talking about spirituality or...?
Me: Much of this game's beauty, magic and splendor lies hidden. There's so many wondrous things to experience, and I remain here to help a few curious souls discover these treasures. Most importantly, I remain here to help these souls traverse this brutal, unforgiving map by showing them the snares, pitfalls, and relentless spawn-camping by the trolls.
Me: Spawn camping is a form of bullying by craven rapscallions who know they can't win on skill or merit, so they show up where players enter the game to block them and keep them from actually playing, thus preventing players from making any progress. It's a dirty ploy that ruins the game, but us seasoned players know a few tricks to help others get around the campers. Connecting with the moderators, for instance, helps immensely. Even though they can't alter the game or permanently ban the trolls, they know a ton of work-arounds. They also know the map and all its Easter eggs, so checking in with them makes the game so much more engaging. Without them, I'd have rage-quit this map a long time ago.
Anyway, when I'm not helping out or my assistance isn't required, I just nudge my avatar around the map every now and then so as not to appear idle and get kicked off the server. I'm sure one day I'll forget to do that and I'll look up and suddenly see the log-in screen where the server has signed me out. That day will come for every one of us, but being as I have no attachment to the game, I'll be fine with it. I doubt I'll bother logging back in, at that point. I'll just move on to another game. Or, I don't know. Maybe I'll go and touch grass.
Me: You need filler for the right column of the newsletter, don't you?
AG: Pretty please??
Chantel Lysette, International Author and Psychic Medium