The subject line really says it all for me. I have been incredibly fortunate over the last year (and really, several years now). For me personally, it has been a pretty crazy but entertaining year. I joked last year when I turned 36 that my birthday did not make me feel old - but my kids' did. The oldest turned 16 and took driver's education. My son hit teenage years at 13, and my youngest hit double digits at 10. Heck, this upcoming year? 15 years married to my wife.
As a result of the blog and the positive traffic and word of mouth, I had an opportunity to write a couple of other places, such as Otaku Gaming and eventually Digitally Downloaded as well. My MUD has been a source of frequent activity for me, and after a couple of years of down numbers, we have seen a very pleasant uptick over the last year. Seven years ago we would average 50+ players a night. We went through a stint when graphical MMO's were just sapping the MUD population however, and we were seeing single digits pretty regularly. I used to joke that you could almost see the cyber tumbleweeds blowing through. Over the last year though, we have seen 20-30 a night pretty regularly again, which is immensely satisfying for me since I have sunk so many years of effort into our little community for role-players.
Professionally it was a big year for me, as the software company I work for gave me a promotion to manager over the technical support department I had been working in for five years. As a result we have seen a lot of good things happen in our department, to bonuses to increased headcount and more. It is very gratifying to see these talented, hard-working guys on my team getting company-wide appreciation for all of the hard work they do in making customers happy.
More than anything though, I feel very fortunate and can summarize why very simply: I have an amazing wife and kids, great friends and a wonderful job. These things give me so much all year long, and whether this means I can afford a house for us all, or a few new games to play or just people I genuinely care about and get to talk to when I need to - I realize I am a very fortunate person.
I know on Thursday I will be up early, starting on a large dinner (there are five of us after all - not counting cats, which will inevitably want some turkey too), watching parades and then settling in to watch the Lions (who will hopefully buck the odds and beat the Texans).
After that, I am certain there will be plenty of Christmas shopping, leftovers and yes - video games to be played. I will get four days off from my job, the kids will have five days off from school, and we will all get to spend a wonderful holiday together. If you have any plans of your own you would like to share, I would love to hear them. I hope for those of you observing it, you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. For those of you simply experiencing a normal weekend? I wish you the very best as well!