Aug. 6th, 2017

marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Whenever I get overwhelmed by life people suggest I should cut my ties to Antonio Hall. I'm not sure why this is the first thing that comes to mind for them, over say gaming or work both of which often come with similar proportions of frustration to reward.

I am well aware that at some point the decision is going to be taken out of my hands. The Hall will be sold or the owners will decide to develop the site themselves or some other condition will arise which puts and end to the work we are doing there. (Here actually,as I type this between groups of photographers on a beautiful warm autumny day in the middle of winter.) At that time I will grieve then move on to some other project. But for now it does fulfill several important needs in my life.

Enforced down/quiet/me time
Away from the computer and stream of internet where I can let my brain just settle, or read, or write, or prep for games. With advance warning I have my laptop and phone charged, one for writing (one of those things I mean to do more of) and the other for reading through the backlog of email newsletters a few at a time (and still being reachable and checking FB every 30 minutes or so for that sense of connection). This is good for me on multiple levels.

Meeting new and interesting people and building something together
- I enjoy witnessing the amazement at and enjoyment of the Hall. Even for those who simply come through once on a tour (number beyond count now) I know I have played a small part in bringing some amount of wonder into their lives, and that's a good feeling.
- Breaking out of my social limits and meeting new people was one of the reasons I got myself involved in organising more than just a few visits for my friends in the first place, and it still stands. Some of these people have gone on to become valued friends in their own rights.
- Another good feeling is at the end of a working bee day (or other fix-up session) when we look and see what a difference has been made. Nowhere else in my life do I get this feeling of actual physical achievement as part of a team. Work - independent projects. Gaming success (RPG but also team board/card games) are great, but they lack the sense of having made a (short but) lasting impact on the real world. Which brings us to ...

The opportunity to make a real difference
Much as I enjoy the activity, "work" rarely presents me with the opportunity to really make things better for people. Many of my "good deeds" are very much stop-gap measures backed by the belief that things can and will get (or be made) better for people in the medium/long term. House projects will have benefits for people after me, but that's a very long term payoff which I will probably not see in person.

The people whom we enable to come to the Hall - many of them take away something lasting. More than just memories and amazing photos but /experiences/ ... often experience and progress towards an assessment or goal of theirs. And just maybe a little more inspiration to step up somewhere and make some other part of the world better.

And if not me, then who? (Not entirely a rhetorical question, perfectly willing to share responsibility :) )
It's hard to explain how important that fundamental idea of making a positive difference is in my approach to the world. I can usually only make very small differences now-and-again, but here and now with the Hall it is possible to make a whole lot of them. The benefits as I see them almost always outweigh the cost to me. (It's just that the bill sometimes comes due unexpectedly).

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