And who says change is bad? Well, United We Game certainly doesn’t…er, didn’t…and that why it’s changed! United We Game is now Virtual Bastion!
If you’ve been following me here for any length of time, you’re likely aware that I’m kind of a stickler when it comes to this space. I like to make plans for the blog, and I like to follow through with them, almost, at times, to the point of breaking. Well, this month, things are breaking, um…have broken? Be toats broke? However you want to say it, it’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing for the real life me. You see, I was recently promoted at work, and I’m all kinds of thrilled and scared and uppity about it. Really though, it’s great! But it’s also, for the moment, very demanding. So I’ve had to place several things on the back burner, at least temporarily, and this blog is one of those things. Yes, it sucks balls, but I’m as serious as a heart attack about my career, so there. As such, I’m taking a sabbatical from new writing this month — there won’t be any new general ramblings, gaming posts, “Play or Pass” articles, or an iTunes diary.
What I’m about to write may make it seem like I don’t like Christmas. In fact, it’s my most favorite time of year. But why is that? I used to know years ago when Christmas was all about presents and candy. But why does it remain my favorite holiday? Those reasons have certainly rode a bumpy path. It’s true that I tend to feel more melancholy in December than during any other month of the year, and my resulting contemplative tendencies are coming into play here, but even that blue feeling has altered slightly. I’ve looked forward to Christmas all year, but this year, the reasons for it were different — more personal, less influenced. Frankly, I think I’m happier now than I have been at holidays in a long time. That’s something to write about, and Listmas give me the perfect excuse to formulate my words in a nice if spontaneous order. So here are my thoughts how and why Christmas has changed for me over the years.
1. Thanksgiving > Christmas
Probably the biggest change I’ve experienced is that I look forward to Thanksgiving much more than Christmas now. Within the past several years, my family has grown considerably with the new additions of spouses, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and so on. The dynamics of the holidays have shifted to favor large get-togethers at Thanksgiving because (1) everyone’s always free on Thanksgiving, and (2) the new families want to stay home on Christmas. A past version of myself balked somewhat at large, extended family dinners that revolved around turkey and stuffing, calling them boring and tiring, and rather unenjoyable. But I’ve come around to seeing them in a new light. I truly look forward now to seeing everyone when the spirit of family reigns at the end of November.
2. Christmas is a time to reflect rather than be Christmasey
There once was a time when I’d gleefully pull out all the Christmas decorations on the day after Thanksgiving, and, in a whirl with Christmas tunes blaring the background, I’d have the house decorated in no time flat. Lights! Trees! Stockings! Ornaments! Tinsel! And SO MUCH MORE MORE MORE! More was better. Only then there came a time when more was not better. In fact, “more” just became overwhelming and unnecessary. Now I’ve reached a fairly happy medium, and one where I like to take more time to reflect and remember rather than decorate in December. Of course, I still decorate some — the tree is up and a wreath is on the door — but my thoughts generally veer towards what was and what is yet to come at this time of year, letting go of negativity and replacing it with positivity. I don’t need a jumble of Christmas lights in my face to do that.
3. Christmas music is less important…
Let me set the record straight first — music is never NOT important. Music is the single most important thing that drives my life, without a doubt. So I’m not putting music down at all, but I’ve found that I can still live a perfectly happy life without 24/7 Christmas music playing from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Because I was one of those people. As soon as Thanksgiving hit, I’d queue up my Christmas playlists (3 of them) on my iPod, and that was that until January 1. I didn’t let any other form of music infiltrate my ears during this time. This year, however, I don’t think I’ve fully played through even on of my playlists. I don’t feel any less merry, and you’ll still catch me humming “Christmas Time is Here” while I’m making dinner. Embodying the spirit of Christmas doesn’t necessarily require a soundtrack. It fine when it’s there, and it’s just as alright when it isn’t.
4. …but Christmas movies are more important
Growing up, my childhood winter holidays were filled with the sites of Christmas-this and Christmas-that on the TV…always….constantly, it seemed.. Once I left home, I practically revolted against any and all Christmas movies. In fact, it was not too long ago that I saw A Christmas Story for the first time (!?). And I realized at the time that maybe I was wrong in being so upset at the idea of liking Christmas movies. (I did like a couple, after all, though you’d have had to put a gun to my head to get me me admit it.) So I added to my DVD collection five holiday ot holiday-ish movies: Holiday Inn (1942), White Christmas (1954), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), and A Christmas Story (1983). Watching these movies in the days before Christmas has become an important ritual. Not only do they celebrate the season, but each remind me of what’s important at Christmas. Speaking of which…
5. Keep the candy and presents
I just don’t need them! I mean, I like both, certainly, but the need for them just isn’t there. A few years ago, my family switched from doing gifts for everyone to the Secret Santa routine, and the switch has been incredibly welcome. Not only has it reduced the stress (mental and financial) of getting a large number of gifts, but also has it brought back the simply joy of gift-giving. I’d rather have a few meaningful gifts than a bunch of clutter. The same goes for candy. No longer do I stuff our stockings full of red- and green-wrapped store-bought chocolates just for the sake of having stuffed stockings. I want my holiday treats to be a little more special than that. So if I’m craving something sweet, I’ll make something sweet. Now, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that dietary changes have necessitated cutting back on sweets generally, which is always hard a this time of year. But forgoing that delectable Krackel miniature helps…at least a little.
I had honestly planned to write up a game post this week, but my brain has been much too cluttered of late. Pardon my dust here as I do a little mental cleaning in the form of bullet points.
- This has been a strange year, especially for this blog. And I have a feeling it will only get stranger. That could be good. That could be…weird. I don’t think it will be bad, but I guess you’ll be the judge of that. I have no damn idea what the point of this bullet is, but it sums up well the current disarray of my thoughts.
- I think I’m going to change the look of this blog sometime soon. I like the cleanness of this current theme, but I’ve developed a heightened affection for a couple WP’s “reader-focused” themes — those that emphasize the writing and hide the sidebars. I’ve been messing around with some tests and demos to see what might work best. What’s staying in some fashion is my logo and the general color scheme. Sorry, I like green, gray, and purple. Otherwise, you’d get all black, and that’d be quite the difficult site to navigate.
- Here, I’d also like to do a few more page updates and also work on what to do about my non-social media. I need to remember that Twitter can be good for stuff other than spammy blog things. And I don’t know what the hell to do about my ignored Facebook page — delete it? I’m on the verge. Of course, both sites are dying in some manner, so…what’s the next big thing? Pagers and carrier pigeons? Sometimes it seems like that’s exactly the direction things are going…backwards.
So the last time you heard from me here, I mentioned that I’d be back on the 22nd with my first real post of the new year. Well, with a then-frazzled brain, I forgot that technically, today, the 20th, marks the end of my (it’s been wonderful) two-week vacation. So rather than throw up another reblog, I figured I’d use this space to let you all know what I’ve been mulling over in terms of this blog.
Welcome to the newly re-designed Recollections of Play!
Nope, you’re eyes aren’t deceiving you, promise. In celebration of RoP’s 2nd birthday, which officially falls on this Wednesday (and which will officially see an official birthday post, officially), I’ve gone and done stuff to this here site! After way too much testing and altering and changing and more testing, I switched to a new theme and a new color scheme that I’m pretty much in love with right now. I alluded to this change happening, what, like two months ago (?!?!) — but between then and now, time just wasn’t on my side. Plus, you all know the work that goes into picking a WordPress theme to begin with. Well, picking something new after I had gotten used to the ol’ Mystique theme and its ways was damn near impossible! After trying out my site in just about every theme offered, and thinking that I needed something more complex, I actually settled on a theme that’s altogether simpler. I mean, I’m not a magazine, I’m not a news site, and I’m not an image powerhouse, so why mess around with themes that are meant for something that I’m not? Sure, I’ll probably be tweaking things here and there as I settle into this new home, but so far, so good. (I’ll also be revamping my Twitter look as well, because that purse with those shoes?? Oh honey, noo-oo-o!)
Anyway, if you have any thoughts on the new look, I’d love to hear ’em! In the meantime, onward and upwards with memories of games, gaming, music, and more!