Thursday, January 4, 2024

New Year Blues

 Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

Benjamin Franklin

I enjoy the December holidays with their festive meals, gifts, and occasions to gather with friends and family; but I don’t care much for the far more sobering New Year celebration. Aside from cutting short the yuletide celebrations (those “12 Days of Christmas” that supposedly last until Epiphany), it heaps upon us even more obligations – to reflect on our accomplishments and advancements of the past year, to set goals for ourselves in the new one, to prepare for the austerity, culling, and organizing of the severe winter months – all onerous propositions after such extravagant indulgences of the holidays.

Our society emphasizes the start of a new year as a time to look backward at what we’ve accomplished and look forward to our future challenges. Although I’m an advocate of reflecting on our past experiences to learn, I don’t always relish it on a personal level; and in looking toward the future I’m hobbled by my anxieties and the overall uncertainty of it all in a constantly changing world that heaps expectations and obligations upon us with uncaring abandon.

Looking back on 2023 I realize I published about 45,000 words over 30 different articles here at Hobby Games Recce. I ignore my other engagement metrics – views and comments – because I’ve learned they’re ultimately disappointing, both by my meager standards and the internet’s massive numbers for a seemingly infinite crowd of “influencers.” But my numbers, especially the number of posts, offers some minor satisfaction. I’ve long given up trying to publish a meaningful, insightful post once each week. I don’t always have something worth saying, I don’t always have the energy, enthusiasm, or time, and I’m all too often questioning whether it’s really worth it all given the vast scope of the internet and the growing prominence of podcasts and videos over the written word. So I suppose the fact I didn’t just throw in the towel on Hobby Games Recce is a positive “win” for 2023.

The past year had some quiet successes for me as well. I got a better handle on my Mage-Blight Hills medieval fantasy roleplaying game setting project and I made some solid writing progress on it. On the wargaming front I also resurrected my Skirmish Kids project, made some significant revisions, and sent it out for playtesting. The momentum from both helps me move forward continuing work on these projects.

Do I have aspirations for the coming year? I suppose. Here at Hobby Games Recce I’d like to continue posting game-relevant material, the usual mix of product features, commentary, reminiscences of my time at West End, reports on my own game design journey, and missives about issues on my mind, all as the mood strikes me. Maybe every other week, maybe more. I make no promises. I expect I’ll spend some effort resisting the constant urge to simply stop blogging. My two main game projects mentioned above still need more solid work, especially after almost two months of holiday activities consuming my time and energy. I think as the festive madness dissipates in the cold, harsh reality of the new year I’m returning from my short break with somewhat renewed enthusiasm and fresh focus.

I am also already looking toward a few public gaming possibilities. We enjoyed a New Year’s weekend game day with a friend (including fondue), which I’m hoping kindled the urge in our family to return to Thursday family game nights and a monthly invite to friends for an afternoon of food and games. I’m slated to run my “SOPAC Patrol” game at the Potomac Wargamers/NOVAG game day on Sunday, Feb. 4, in Centreville, VA (using Bob Corderey’s Gridded Naval Wargames rules and GHQ 1:2400 ships). I’m still deciding what to run at a regional wargaming convention later that month in Wiliamsburg, though I think my son and I are at least committed to attending. Alas, I learned the hard way in 2023 that my immediate area has little interest in such diversions, either as an activity associated with the local history museum or with the local public library’s events.

I have plenty of things I’m not looking forward to in the new year. I try very hard to maintain a positive attitude online and in the blog (though I don’t always succeed), so I’ll set those aside for now in the large garbage dumpster of smoldering anxieties, festering conflicts, personal doubts, inevitable miseries, and other things I’m generally dreading in the coming months. Rather than becoming mired in the societal self-improvement obligations of the New Year’s holiday I focus on the end of the yuletide celebrations, basking in the joy they brought, and face the challenges at hand – gaming and otherwise – with the refreshed perspective and recharged energy of returning to something I’ve set aside for a short while.

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome civil discussion and polite engagement. We reserve the right to remove comments that do not respect others in this regard.