28 Apr 2011
X is for Xanadu.
In between being a reader and a writer, I used to play computer games. I loved roleplaying games in fantasy or science fiction settings (no surprise there).
My absolute favourite game was Everquest. I played it for several years and met an amazing group of people because of it.
Everquest was an MMORPG, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, in which hundreds of thousands of players took control of their elf, dwarf, ogre, ... character to overcome challenges in an elaborate fantasy world.
Playing this game and being in Xanadu taught me a lot of skills that have proven useful in other areas of my life.
You don't play MMORPGs on your own. You need others to get ahead in the game, sometimes smaller groups, sometimes a raid party of 50 or more.
Along the way, we became friends. Online friends at first, but many of us met up in real life. Our first big gathering took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, and it was interesting to see how close those online friendships came to real-life friendships: the people I got along with in-game were the same people I connected with when we met up.
Others have disappeared in the cracks of time and distance, some to reappear on Facebook or other social networks in recent years.
To this day, the word 'Xanadu' still makes me smile. It rings of friendship and great accomplishments - against all odds.
It also reminds me of the temporary nature of many friendships. Some friends are there for life, others will cross your path, walk with you for a while and disappear - quietly, or with a bang.
Does that make those friendships less valuable? I don't think so. Duration and longevity aren't the only ways of measuring quality. We don't judge the beauty of a rose or the flavour of a dish by how long they linger, do we?
So this post is dedicated to my Xanadu friends, past and present. Wherever you are now and whatever you're doing, I hope you're well, and I think a reunion is due.