So, I’m back.
I’m done my field project for the summer, not much left to do but wrap up some testing in the lab here in the city and then off to the office to finish up the computer work. Enough to keep me busy until my Christmas holidays, but no more of the ‘out of town, living in a bush camp, working 12 hour days for 20 days straight’ that I have been doing since April. And thank God for that. I am so relieved to be done, so happy to know that I can spend some quality time here at home with my family and of course my critters. It’s a beautiful thing.
Oh, and I can raid again!
I’ve missed being with my guild. I’ve missed out on every major boss kill this summer. I was absent for Lurker, for Tidewalker and Leo, for Rage, for A’lar and Solarian. Some of those I haven’t even seen the fights for yet, let alone the boss kills. I’ve missed out on so much of the day-to-day stuff with my guild too. Folks leaving, folks joining, people’s lives changing as time passes. The family type stuff that creates the sense of community that we have and that means so much to me. I’ve been able to be present on my time off from the mine, but its been like looking at a photo album. I see a snapshot of the guild, then I leave for the better part of a month, and I see another snapshot. It’s a very saltatory connection with with flow of guild life and it’s not very fulfilling. I get news feeds from the website, and sometimes after work when I’m not too tired, but I’m disconnected now. I’ve been out of the main stream of events in the guild for so long that I’m just an addendum now, a footnote.
And it hurts. I hurts to know that my guild continued to kill bosses and have fun and make new friends and do all the wonderful things that we do, and did it all just fine without me. I feel a little like I’m a figurehead, superfluous. Someone to maybe think about from time to time, but certainly not someone who makes any sort of difference to the living, changing, growing organism that is the guild.
It’s not a heck of a lot different at home. I have been so disconnected from the things going on here that I fed the cats dog food, forgetting we had moved the food containers. My better half is so used to sleeping alone that he takes up the whole bed by habit now, and my sister has lost an incredible 25lbs since I last saw her. 25lbs! She’s a shadow of the woman she was! When I saw her it was a very graphic reminder of how much has gone on here in the city while I was up playing in the tar. It’s saddening, too. I feel almost transparent sometimes, a little like I am haunting my former life, my family, my guild.
I am making very concerted efforts to reconnect with my life here in the city. I am scheduling time away from WoW, from work, from everything just to see my family and friends and show the people that I love I didn’t stop loving them while I was away. I am trying to do the same thing with my guild, but it’s difficult. Life changes a little faster in the Warcraft world.
I am working away behind the scenes to get us ready for Lich King by cleaning out the Guild Vault and stocking up herbs. I am making lists of Achievements that I want to see our new recruits have. I am partnering people up so they can instance their way to 80 together and perhaps create some new dynamics and new friendships in our lvl 80 raids. I am trying. I am getting in as much face time as I can so folks remember me, or even get to know me all over again and realize that in a great many ways I live for this guild. I’m trying to be subtle, I’m trying to go about stepping back into leadership with a gentle touch. There’s no use me yelling and screaming and demanding that folks obey me. I need to earn that respect back and I think it will be a long road.
I know it will. I lost my temper in my first raid back because folks were jabbering over vent while my raid leader was giving orders. I yelled at someone who was not new to the guild, but had joined while I was away. And when I told him to shut up, I got told right back “No you shut up. And lick my b**** too!” Which was a sobering experience, to be sure. I’m known as the Bad Cop raid leader, and shouting at folks who step out of line, especially doing something like that is not unheard of from me. Or at least it wasn’t. It only ever worked because my raids understood I wanted my raiders to focus, do their best, and respect each other, including the raid leader. And I would not deal with anyone who was out of line. But it will take me time to re-establish that respect, that trust that my raiders have. I will need to work dilligently to ensure that they see I am a competant and dedicated raid leader and Guild Leader.
My co-guild leader and I had a big love-in when I logged back on for my first raid and that was encouraging. My officers are happy to see me back and my core team of raiders has grown, but the old familiar faces are for the most part there. I am encouraged by their support and I am optimistic that I can take this guild to 80 with their help.
As long as I can just stay put for a while!