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First and Last and Always
Written by VelvetLies

   Some of you may recognize the title of this article as one that is shared by a most fantastic Sisters of Mercy album (and a song by the same name, as well). Those of you who do not, I assure you, this is likely your loss. This is the phrase that runs through my brain when I think of Aard's revolving door - one I have passed through a few times over what is now nearly half my life. Many times I have felt like the 7000 hours of online time I have accumulated could have been put towards more productive activities, and on some occasions, this prompts a level of inactivity from me. Yet I always return, and by a few, I am continuously welcomed.

    I couldn't count how many nights of various states of hungry and lonely and lost that Aard has seen me through. At times, my need to play has become hazardous to other aspects of my life, but I learned how to moderate that risk appropriately. I often feel defeated in my battles against insomnia and emotional wreckage, and I have been able to find a certain amount of refuge in the endless colored text. I find support in my friends, humor in a good number of people, and a sense of entertainment that no other source provides. I haven't played any other multi-user games like this, but I find Aard satisfies my desire for guided interaction with the ability to customize one's introversion.

   Now I accept this activity, and it's community as a regular facet of my life. I find the return well worth the investment, and every day, I'm learning more about how to maintain an existence in this realm, as well as the others I spend my time in. It took a certain amount of trial and error to find a good balance of not only how much time I spend on, but also how it is spent. I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing the game, and reaching certain milestones, so I don't feel a strong desire to advance my character at a breakneck pace. Getting new EQ or Wishes or rank slots tickles my happy spots, and I want to prolong that experience to a certain extent. For the times that I seek escape, or need to consume my time and attention, I take great pleasure in going through the motions and routines of character development.

    I feel a lot of gratitude, to Lasher for keeping the game operational, to the administrators, for doing the dirty work, for the people who play and who make me laugh, and especially those who have helped me along the way, both in my MUD and real life, endeavors. The best way that I know to appreciate all of these things that the community offers is to pay it forward. I want to be a positive contributor to our environment, and to serve the community in the ways that are best suited for me. It has taken some time to find the best ways I can do this, but I keep looking, and I encourage others to consider the same objective.

   Have a burning desire to share your reason for frequenting? Send your thoughts to velvetlies@gaardian.com or post commentary to be considered for publication on the Personal board.

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