This past week felt more like a birthday week/Christmas in November to be honest, as the gifts literally kept coming daily, not just in the snail mail but in the War Dragons game. I was blessed with a special map my friend BeledinesSoul, the author of The Shadow War Saga prepared and mailed to me all the way from New York city to bumpkintown, Tennessee. She knows I love maps, mystery, and fantasy and that I'll be staring in to this atlas on my wall for many years as I remember her friendship.
Next came the first of many unexpected surprises from my friends Pixxel, Arelyna, and untold others at Pocket Gems headquarters. Whenever you have multiple boxes in the mail with "Pocket Gems" on the return address, your blood has to start pumping a little faster. Was it Christmas early? My birthday? No. Just random acts of kindness in my mailbox and on my front porch. Inside the packages was loot, hoodies, t-shirts, and a lot more. One surprise I will share soon this month after I'm done adapting it creatively into a one of a kind piece.
One of the biggest surprises of the physical kind arrived Friday afternoon in the mail. Apparently Pixxel and Adored had collaborated for my birthday a few weeks back to get printed a poster of my dragon lord days of last year. Needless to say I was pleasantly shocked and delighted that the two had worked on this together on this art project for me without me knowing. More dragon love for my wall. I think I will need to remodel my office completely now, dragon themed.
In the game itself, I continued to find kindness from gracious players who chose to mention how much XP/chest farms meant to them as I thought to myself, "I should be thanking them not the other way around." Being able to help people is not just a choice in life but it is a gift. We cannot separate the two. There was a time, though, where before my country was even a country or even a colony for that matter that a small group of like-minded individuals chose to venture to far away shores for the chance to life how they pleased.
What has always struck me most about the story of the Pilgrims was their determination to survive and make life into what they wanted for themselves and their children. Originally trying to land in what is now New York, bad weather pushed the Pilgrims to end up on what we now know as Cape Cod in November of 1620. If you can imagine no welcoming party, an unknown land, and the subsequent winter. Two or three people died every day during the first couple of months in the new, free land. Finally, some nice Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe introduced themselves to what Pilgrims were left, and the tribe taught them how to plant corn. The Native Americans didn't have to bother helping these Pilgrims; they chose to. This was a game changer for the Pilgrims. After the first harvest, the following November in 1621, the Pilgrims shared a meal of gratitude and thanks with the Native American tribe who had pretty much ensured the Pilgrims' survival. We repeat this event annually in what we call Thanksgiving in America.
Just one simple gesture of teaching the Pilgrims how to plant corn turned everything around for them, gave them a chance. I am certain the original Pilgrims were grateful every day from that moment on. These days, gratitude has become to many just a yearly event, but it shouldn't be that way. Actions require effort and can make change. But so can words.
You never know when will be the last time you see a family member, a friend, an acquaintance. That nice lady at the grocery store who always asks how your day is. The guy who opens the door for you when your arms are full and your children are screaming for you. That War Dragons player who is always online when you need an XP run or some resources. That person who spends 90% of their free time making things for other players for no reward of their own. I'm speaking not of the Creators Faction members (you know who does what). I am speaking of players like ChefJen who has spent hundreds of hours translating for players. Mechengg who makes countless guides and spreadsheets (yet also always makes himself available for answering questions). YouTubers like xOdinsNemesisx, Sparks, TonyRen, and many others who spend hundreds of hours of their free time making video guides and documentaries. Countless contributors like Kamikozzie, xVoldaRx, IceCreamedDoom, Hoyt, many others who have donated time, video, and guidance in dragon tutorials for my website. War Dragons Info bloggers like MadBruv, CB, Dave Perry, and many others who provide unique guides but also valuable game opinions and advice. Change never happens without feedback of some form, you know. I am grateful for these daily heroes and the unmentioned who donate their time to players of the War Dragons game for nothing at all except gratitude or thanks. Have you thanked them lately?
I know I've missed tons of names. Soon, I'm going to be asking you for names. This new feature will be "Player of the Week," and hopefully I'll have a giveaway attached to it. I'm going to request nominations weekly for voting. More on this later.
Don't say "Thanks"
In the meantime, don't wait until one day or week a year to thank people in one way, shape or form: gifts, words, or actions. The easiest thing to do, in my opinion, is to say, "thank you." Recently, on my way to Pocket Gems in San Francisco, I had a lot of time to kill on planes, and I did some reading of technical books for work. But one concept hit me hard: never say "thanks." Why not? I mean, you can say it, but what I read was that saying merely "thanks" is dismissive. You're being too lazy to type or write "thank you." Think about it. Sure, there are going to be some people who we want to dismiss in life, and they can have our "thanks." But for most of the others, why not take the effort to write "thank you," and even better: tell them what you're thankful for.
Thank incessantly; you never know when you won't be able to again.