It’s funny how, as a roleplayer, it’s easy to become a creature of habit. If I rolled back time a decade, I’d find that I’m still following the same gaming schedule, I still have the same gamer friends and I buy my gaming stuff and reading material from the same FLGS. These things survived my growing family (in 2003, my wife and I were married a year; now we have 3 children), career changes, and new mailing addresses. If anything, my regular gaming habit actually strengthened over the decade as I became a freelancer and eventually a staffer in the RPG industry.
Over the weekend, heck, over one day (Saturday), I was handed two major gaming blows. The first I’d known for over a month; my FLGS (Between Books in Claymont, DE), had lost its lease and this past Saturday was its last day. The second I’d suspected for a few days when I got a cryptic email about ‘big news.’ One of my regular players is moving away and this will likely dissolve my weekly gaming group.
Change is inevitable; stores open and close, new friends are made and old ones leave. It’s remarkable how stable my gaming life had been over a decade and it’s hard to absorb these developments. Even now, as I write this, I’m still a bit shell-shocked.
I’ve been here before. I know it’s not the end. I’ve had friends disappear from my life before and I’m sure it will happen again. I’ve had previous FLGS’ close and the owner of my recently-ended one plans to be back in the fall (fingers crossed). If not, I’m sure I’ll find another. A new store and a new group won’t be the same, but it’ll be a fresh start with new dynamics and I’ll soldier on just fine. Previous experience has taught me that it’ll only strengthen my GMing skills.
At the same time, these developments have forced me to take a look at my current circumstances and how I’m allocating my time. It’s a chance to look at the priorities in my life and making sure they’re where they need to be. Maybe my new group won’t meet as often; maybe I’ll be a player for a while. Maybe it’s time to just take a break for a bit. Or maybe not.
I don’t really have any GMing advice to dispense this time around except that change is inevitable and you have to roll with the punches. Don’t despair when your group falls apart or you lose that friendly, knowledgeable ear. You’ll get through it and will ultimately benefit from it.