Gamers Who’ll Restore Your Faith In Humanity

This article has been “brewing” in my head and heart for quite some time. It’s going to end up in the article collection in A Hag’s World, but first I wanted to share it with you. It is going to take you a bit of time, because much of it consists of external links, or videos like the above, but I promise you I’m not going to waste your time. Every one of these is well worth watching.

I invite you to start with the video in the header. Can you believe this guy? From anorexia to high-profile work on changing the approach to education – a much-needed change at that. We can’t keep bringing up children to fear failure, because failing is a natural step on the path to success. Most of us never quite shake off that fear of failure. It’s detrimental to the economy and devastating for people’s sense of self-worth.

And on his way to recovery, this amazing young man spent time in World of Warcraft to build his confidence and develop leadership skills. It’s one of the things I love about “my” game. When I was a guild officer in a guild I used to belong to, we used to have these “meetings” and discuss (in voice chat) our raiding team and the development of each of our members. Some of the officers were in their early twenties, others around my age (40es). All had the same respectful, mature approach, and I remember thinking: “If every industrial corporation had such leadership, the economy would go through the roof!” more than once.

A social, team-work based game like WoW offers so many ways of positive interaction and development and learning. And every now and then, you hear a story that just makes you cry tears of joy and compassion. 

A blind war veteran found a friend who acted as his guide dog through the game. Both are accomplished raiders. The true magnitude of this achievement can probably only be gauged by someone who knows the game – raiding requires lightning-fast reflexes and the use of a myriad of abilities, all whilst being consciously aware of the game environment and moving all the time. It blows my mind to try and imagine what these two managed to do. 

A guy who was left quadriplegic after a road accident and has found a way to adapt keyboard and mouse to allow him gaming – again, only people who know how many abilities there are in WoW will be able to fully appreciate this feat – and to keep him from becoming completely isolated, bored, and/or depressed. Quad was a pioneer; today, there are more people working on making these adaptations for the disabled.

Then there’s the knitting grandma who leads a raiding guild. There truly is no age limit to this game’s community! 

And did you know that gaming within limits (in other words: Not all day, every day) makes you smarter? I must be a genius.

Remember the people I introduced above when you hear people go on about how video games “make people violent” and are a “waste of time”. Tell the quadriplegic that he’s wasting his time. Tell the lovely people who make complicated calculations to come up with manuals on how to play a particular class best, that they’re asocial and violent.

I haven’t even touched on the arts and crafts inspired by WoW. There is some truly astonishing fan art depicting WoW’s beautiful fantasy world of Azeroth. There is fan-fiction that leaves you open-mouthed and has led some writers to becoming published authors. There are people making witty, emotional, and funny “machinima” videos of stories set in the game world. There’s so much creativity, inspired by a game world and community, and people finding a safe haven to develop real-life skills. That’s never, ever a bad thing.

It’s Winter, And I Like Men

It’s mum-pyjama time. I call them that because mum gave them to me, oh, about 12 or 15 years ago? and they are made of terry cloth, very unsexy and out-of-this-world comfortable. It feels like sleeping in a cloud.

I also spend my evenings in baggy leggings and sweaters and oversized woolly PINK socks. If I wasn’t pagan, I’d say it’s heaven on earth! And all this is happening because winter has finally arrived in Ireland, we’ve had a couple of cold days and actual minus temperatures (that’s Celsius) at night. And heck, only my budgies can see me, and thankfully they don’t give a toss about what I’m wearing, just as long as it’s not some large hat that scares them.

This is one of the advantages of living on my own! And you know, I’ve been thinking about that lately, and had a few lovely conversations with friends.

Many people who don’t know me well, make assumptions because I’m not in a relationship and living alone. It’s really tiring sometimes to explain because apparently, I’m a very unusual case. So I patiently repeat any or all of the following: That I have had a number of happy relationships in my life, that I absolutely adore men and think they’re amazing, that I love people and am surrounded by love so don’t feel lonely ever, that I enjoy being on my own, and that I really, truly do not want a relationship. I’m not in one because I CHOOSE not to be.

That latter point seems to baffle people the most. There are many singles but don’t they all long for romance? Well, no, they don’t. And it’s not because I’ve been “hurt” or “haven’t met the right guy”. As they say, it’s not him, it’s me. I have several reasons why I’m much much happier living on my own, or rather, with feathered housemates rather than human ones, and seeing people on my own terms and time (being a very light sleeper is just one of them).

It’s true. I am NOT looking for romance, and there’s no sinister reason for it.

Could this change in the future? I imagine it could. I’m open to change on principle. But do I WANT it to change? Not particularly.

Apart from the personal freedom and balance I’m enjoying, I also love appreciating men just for the sake of it. It may sound silly from a heterosexual woman, that I “like men”. Of course I like them, right? But I don’t mean the drooling-over kind of liking, and I believe that many people like the opposite sex (or whatever sex they’re attracted to) mostly because of the drool-factor. Actually LIKING them for who they are? That’s something I, at least, had to discover. And I love what I’ve discovered. Men are great.

These days, I am capable of feeling such love and warmth for my male friends, more than ever before because it is NOT sexual/romantic love and warmth. It’s something that’s really enriching my life.

Funnily enough, it also makes meeting new male friends a little difficult. Like I said before, most people assume that a single woman my age must be looking for romance. And so, when I meet a guy I really click with, one of two things happens: Either he’s attracted to me and begins to pursue me in a way that becomes very awkward very soon – because it’s not what I want. Or, he isn’t attracted to me and therefore never gets in touch because he likes me but doesn’t want to hurt my assumed feelings. Ironically, by doing so, he does hurt my feelings – of friendship! Gaaaaah.

But that’s a minor hiccup and I can deal with it. I’m a happy hag. And I still believe that love is great and am a big fan of my happily coupled-up friends, because liking something in another person doesn’t always mean wanting it for oneself. 

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2014

                        Nose with a face – the hag at work!

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful start into 2014.
All of a sudden, we have this whole new year ahead of us, full of possibilities. I’m making plans, setting intentions, writing down goals, and consulting my Tarot cards. I love the magic of new beginnings, I think it’s fair to say that I’m addicted to them. They inspire me. It’s the reason why I used to love Mondays – well, that was before office J.O.B.s but watch this space, I’ll get there again!
Something has shifted with the turn of the year. I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt and I’m still feeling a strange liberation, as if I’ve shaken off the dust of the past and am finally free to embrace the present, and a whole line of new present-s that make up the future. It looks bright and beautiful. Wishful thinking? I’d call it sensing. Those of you who are practitioners of magic and all things to do with intuition, will understand the difference.
The difference is leaving it with the intuitive sense of something, versus taking concrete steps. And I’m making plans for this year, already working on putting some of them into practice. Wanna hear? I mean, read?
1. My Coaching website and offers are being completely revamped to be more accessible, easier to understand, and most importantly, more affordable. I believe it’ll get me more and more regular clients, so it’s a win on all sides! This one’s already in the works; stay tuned.
2. I’m reviewing my daytime job and income. This one is also a work in progress and nowhere near finished, but I know I’m more than ready to change whatever needs changing.
3. I’m setting medium- and long-term intentions around spending more time with my budgies and working on the Dream of my own place with a bird sanctuary. All this is getting more concrete as I figure out exactly what it’ll take and cost.
4. There’s a secret project as well that I’m very excited about, and I know it sounds lame but I really can’t say anything about it yet. You’ll know when I’m ready, I promise!
As for 2013, it was a year with a huge learning curve. It was the year when I finished my Advanced Diploma in Coaching, set up my Coaching business, got my new job going. It was also a year of finally slowing down and finding more balance again between work and play. A year of much-loved friends getting married, love-filled get-togethers, and new acquaintances.
Love pouring in all directions. That’s my main takeaway from 2013, and really, isn’t that great?
But there was also something indefineable, something holding me down, making me play small, or smaller than I am. I feel I’m finally free of it now, but for some time I was holding myself back with that feeling. No longer.
Let’s hug trees this year, take walks and find our strength in nature, love each other and love the animals and love the earth. Let’s judge less and support more. Let’s forget fear and embrace abundance. Let’s work our magic to heal what needs to be healed, and strengthen what is valuable, including ourselves. Let’s grow and expand, all in tune with the elements and the powers that be (not the worldy ones, the REAL powers that be).
Let’s make this a year to remember. 
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