I haven't been totally open. I've had a problem stepping out of the World of Warcraft and into the real world. I know that I don't want my life to be centered around video games anymore. But for some reason every few weeks I think that I want to still play WoW. So I'll log in (resubscribe if I have to) and play for a day. Then within the next few days I totally regret it, and uninstall the damn thing again. Then a few days later I transfer it back to my computer from the husband's (he never gets around to uninstalling!). I don't know why I do this, I think it's because I panic about failing in the real world and want to go back to my crutch, even if it's just for a day or a few hours. It's especially bad if something stressful happens, I freak out and the idea of losing myself in a fake world seems pretty tempting.
My last trip into WoW was this weekend, Saturday night I transferred it over and by Monday I had uninstalled it again. This time was different though. I met someone this month that I became pretty good friends with in game. She's a lot like me personality wise, but a few years older. She shares my feelings about the game, but she's not ready to leave it yet. Seeing her was a lot like seeing myself a year or so ago. Hating the game, but still wanting to play all the time for some reason. She's nearing 30 and has no plans for marriage or kids, despite having the man and the desire for both. She's educated and jobless. A huge part of all that I know, partly from experience, is from playing. It's obviously her choice to do what she wants, but it made me so sad to see someone who could be doing amazing things stuck in this game. And the worst thing is that I knew if I stopped playing, I'd probably never talk to her again. It's so hard to talk to people who are currently playing. It's like trying to communicate with someone in space, what can you discuss? "Well, I went to the store today and bought milk." "I floated around in outer space. Isn't that awesome?" It's two different planes of existence.
By Monday night I knew I was done. I was so tired of disappointing myself, and all the stress that quitting and then playing was putting on me. I logged off fully intending to quit. I called the husband and told him, and he said it was fine because he was bored already himself. Usually when I would "quit" I wouldn't inform anyone. Most of my in game friends have quit, or I've just lost touch with them. So I'd just log off quietly and plan on never coming back. This time I thought of my friend. I logged back on, and told her I was quitting. She told me that quitting was one of the best things you could ever do, although she was sad to see me go. I traded her all of my stuff, gold and everything and exchanged e-mails (although I doubt I'll ever hear from her!). The most important thing I did though: strip my account of all of my information that I could. And remove my authenticator, and change both the e-mail and password to something I'll never remember offhand. Then I tossed my authenticator in the trash. Every other time I quit I never got rid of my stuff or changed my email address. It was like I was expecting to come back, or just wanted my stuff there in case I did want to come back. But now I know that gold and gear are just pixels, and once you realize there's nothing special about them it doesn't feel like a big loss to get rid of them.
So, I confess that I hadn't really fully quit WoW yet. I thought I had, but I kept going back. Monday, April 25, I quit for real. And I've never felt so free in my life. The best part? I had a terrible, stressful day on Tuesday and I didn't even feel an urge to go back.