I'm in my last few hours as a thirty-two year old man. I'm pretty happy with how I spent my last day.
But let's rewind to yesterday, when I had an unexpected surprise from the Internet. If you've blogged or kept up on social media for any length of time, you know that the Internet can be a fertile plot in which friendships bloom unexpectedly. People you'd never meet (and may never meet) in real life are right at your back door. They might be faces and words on a screen, but in my life, they've been some of my realest and best friends.
Case-in-point. Yesterday I was at work and I received a message on Facebook from a couple I've known only online, despite the fact that they live within a two hour drive. We've exchanged words and generally been in each others' lives through social media, blogs, and such. Yesterday they were in town and extended the invitation for Robb and I to eat with them, but we were both busy--me with work and Robb with other stuff. So they dropped in to work for a moment to say hello, finally. And what happens the first time I meet them? They bring me a birthday present! Completely unexpected and amazing. It turned my whole night around.
Surprises from the Internet are a wonderful thing. And now we've met, so the awkward first meeting of Internet friends in real life is over (and it wasn't the least bit awkward). See? Endings. I tied it in.
And today Robb and I decided to try some new food with two of our friends. Different friends. So we went to a Greek restaurant in town for the Sunday buffet. Which was awesome. Holy hell. Falafel and tahini and hummus and baba ghanouj and the best chicken. It amazes me that almost thirty-three years into my life, I'm still trying new foods. Funny what we don't encounter unless we put in an effort to.
And then. Then we finished Pandemic Legacy. And I won't spoil anything, but it was amazing. There was this moment at the end when we all realized we were about to win. Smiles on every face. A sense of accomplishment ten miles wide. A weight sliding off our shoulders and onto this board that we'd been staring at two hours at a time for six months. We won.
And then? Then we got sad. Like finishing a television show (not How I Met Your Mother; that how can die in a car fire for its ending) or closing the back cover of a great book. We all sorta looked at each other and went, "Now what?" Our characters got packed away. Our board got folded up. And those little bits of paper and plastic that held so many memories already were packed away for a final time.
We plan to make shadow boxes out of the components. Cut the board up. Split up the pieces. Claim our characters. You know, like you do with a loved pet after it passes.
It's bittersweet. We finally get to play other games! And we moved right on to Hanabi, a cooperative card game about launching fireworks where you can't look at your own cards, but everyone else sees them.
That's the thing about endings. They're a fertile field for beginnings. Already we're forming plans for what we take on next while we talk about the great moments from Pandemic Legacy.
I couldn't have asked for a better way to finish up my year. On to the next one!