I've been thinking about the many MANY years past and my involvement in the SCA: The Society for Creative Anachronism.
A long time ago (1989) I started playing within the society. I started fighting (heavy armored combat) and began a hobby that would last in to the 21st century. I enjoyed myself. I fought a lot of great guys, learned a lot, and made some long-lasting friendships. I've driven and camped all over the western United States and spent several thousands of dollars. I think I've gotten my money's worth out of it.
In time I won many tournaments, fought innumerable wars, and heaped much glory and fame upon my SCAdian name. I was a knight of the greatest kingdom in the entire Society from which the finest warriors have come from.
Sometime after 2000 something changed. Maybe I changed. Maybe the game changed.
After my stint in the army it is possible that I was a different person. Maybe my expectations and memories of the mid and late 90's colored my perceptions. Regardless, the SCA experience was vastly different.
The one thing I could never abide was and is still politics. I hate it. Passionately.
It's like after 2000 I was being sucked in to the political world. Decisions by a star-chamber to affect thousands, locked behind closed doors. Back room dealings. Backstabbing each other. The good-ol-boys club was in full effect.
I divorced myself from this as much as I could and focused on fighting and having fun: training fighters and honing my own skills.
In the end, the decisions my peers were making and drawing me in to I could not avoid, so I made the fateful decision to resign my peerage, turn in my belt and spurs and drop out of the society. I couldn't be a party to this.
This was 2005.
It's been a few years now. I do miss the fighting. The adrenaline. The finesse of the dance. My mind remembers these easily. I have to remind myself of the rest: aches, pain, broken fingers, massive bruises, massive expenditures, driving for hours for short events with people I largely don't like. Bullshit ego trips. Stress and ultimately arguments with my wife due to my testosterone being elevated.
It doesn't balance out anymore. The fun to bullshit ratio is weighted heavily on the bullshit side.
I have to remind myself of that.
I'm still reminded of that world. Friends remain there, and I hear from them occasionally. Friends die. Friends are elevated to peerages and royalty. Friends are fucking other friends. Friends are getting divorced. All of this pulls my interest back. I can't help but snoop the various websites, consider going back, winning crown and changing the world.
I'm not going to do it.
I fantasize about it on occasion, but I can't bring myself to actually go back.
It's just a game. Just like any other. My campaign is over, and my character retired.
I wish I could just forget about it all.