2013…2013…how to sum up this year. How to sum it up indeed. This isn’t easy for me to do. But let’s try it anyway. This blog post is late because I got sick, my computer got sick and Christmas was really busy for me. That’s bound to happen when your house is the one hosting Christmas after all. That aside, my computer is back in working condition and I’m nearly recovered. I’ve been working on this for the past couple of days and in my head for the past couple of weeks. So let’s get to this the most difficult post of the year, the 440th post of A Paladin Without A Crusade…
I kind of want to say: “2013 was a horrible year, NEXT!“. That was my initial reaction when I thought of doing this post. I feel so ridiculously conflicted about my overall feelings about this year and everything that’s gone on. I think for the most part it’s been negative but there are parts that weren’t so bad. So, if my blog post sounds overly negative, you’ll understand why.
On January 1st, 2013, sometime during the night, I got a call that my Father had a sudden and quick heartattack. That event would only be the beginning for this incredibly difficult year I’ve gone through. I thought I was only joking when I said that I felt like I had taken a brave and bold step forward into 2013, only to fall off the cliff and tumble all the way down it. Well, seems I might have been right in some ways.
- The Funeral…
I returned home to deal with the funeral and my overall sense of numbness about the situation. I had just talked with my father not 24 hours ago and he was gone. He had been in the best shape for the longest time and was no longer there to talk to. There’s no way I can accurately describe my feelings that went on during that time. My Father’s funeral surprised me though. It was held in the First Christian Church in Tillamook, OR and the entire two-floor sanctuary was packed with people. At the point of the funeral when my brothers and I stood in front of them to talk about our Dad, I just had to absorb how many people showed up. And some people couldn’t show up due to various reasons. It was inspiring that my dad had touched the lives of so many. I hope that my brothers and I can do the same, as a fitting legacy for our Dad. Post-funeral has been difficult for us. We had to sell the farm we have lived on for our entire lives up to that point. My Mother moved to Cornelius and I along with her. In addition to all the other difficulties and problems that I either can’t or won’t go into right now, this has been a difficult year to deal with.
I miss my father, I just don’t talk about it that much. I talk about it when necessary but he would want us to move on and live our lives to their fullest potential. That’s what I fully intend to do. After all, I believe that we’ll meet again.
- Me, Myself and I…
I personally was having a lot of trials this year. I was having additional troubles with my schoolwork, college wasn’t going well at all, my self-esteem was shot and I had to seek help in order to survive the rest of my college year intact. I found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. I wanted to leave College because I wasn’t enjoying myself at all. I know college isn’t supposed to be fun and games all the time but I figured that I should enjoy at least 1-2 classes per term. However, I wasn’t enjoying any of them. I felt trapped in College because I didn’t want to lose the best job I had ever had or be suddenly saddled with huge financial debt with nothing to show for it. Going for a B.S. degree, however, became even harder because I was told in Winter term it would be at least two, probably three more years before I would achieve a Bachelors in Computer Information Sciences. Considering I felt I had maxed out my ability to get through the classes already, the chances of me getting that degree slipped from slim to very unlikely. It would only be more arduous and stressful from here on out and I didn’t think I had it in me to make it.
I felt torn and conflicted about the whole situation. College and doing what I wanted to do no longer worked together. I either stayed in College to keep my jobs and social life or leave College to reclaim my sanity and stop from putting myself into further debt. Either way, things had to change soon or I was going to self-destruct in a most spectacular way. So I did. I quit my indecisiveness (mostly) and made some hard choices that’ll affect the rest of my life from here on out.
- My departure…
I left the University of Oregon. Some might think that’s giving up and maybe they’re right. But it was either that or torture myself through years of college work that I was no longer certain was necessary for my career. A career I had finally chosen to pursue with my own abilities. My year and a half employment as an IT Helpdesk did help me by showing me that this was the job I wanted to do. Getting a CIS degree would not help me achieve that career, of that I’m sure. All the material I was learning was overkill for my profession. I hated the forced deadlines the coding classes put on me and those stressed me out more than anything else did. I love learning about technology, but on my own time and in my own way. Once I figured out that I could teach myself what I needed to learn, I knew leaving that I had to leave College or face years of misery. Life is far too short to deal with that kind of thing. Even if what I was learning in my degree is required sometime down the line, I’ll learn it better if I do it in my own way.
Leaving Eugene was hard. I was, once again, pulling up roots too quickly and leaving friends again. I’ve been doing that too many times in the past couple of years and it’s wearing me down. That was another reason I was really reluctant to leave because I was just starting to make good friends, only to tell them that I was leaving them. I’m getting tired of that. I also had to eventually leave my job as it was a student-only position, but they were good enough to keep me on for an additional 3 months to give me time to find something else.
Since then, I’ve just been looking for work and enjoying life as best I can. But I have days where I feel lonely and unsure of myself or the direction I took. I’m also uncertain of how to gain new friends but I’m grateful for those that I’ve made that still keep in touch with me and game with me. There is one particular upside to moving out to Cornelius and that’s being closer to family. I’ve been able to meet with them more frequently which feels weird to me for some reason. Idk, I’m just used to living several hours away over a mountain, not 30mins away through town. The house we’ve moved into is nice and cosy though smaller than the previous one. Which required me to get rid of a lot of stuff. It came down to the fact that I was holding onto a lot of stuff for sentimental value but didn’t really need to. I got rid of a lot of collections and kept a few for later. It wasn’t easy but then, I’ve been getting used to that after this year. I decided I didn’t want these collections for a house I might have sometime down the road. They were weighing me down when all they were doing was sitting in a box for years on end. It was time to finally downsize.
- The Blog…
So, I think that’s enough about my life. Let’s talk about the blog for the moment. For those that don’t remember, my blog ended last year on a high note. My blogging was the best it had ever been, my stats were up and people seemed to be really enjoying the content I was putting out. I figured that it could only go up in 2013. Well, I was wrong. That didn’t happen and the blog suffered terribly this year and has only just recovered last month.
For the majority of 2013, my blog went on a downward spiral. The death of my Dad and my personal well being had put the blog in a fairly poor state. I was becoming increasingly unhappy with the King’s Personal Musing series and how lazy it had become. To top it all off, I was having severe writers block with reviews which was the main reason I only published one this year. It seemed like I had lost all the momentum that I had built up in 2012. The blog eventually ground to a halt in April so that I could tackle school with everything I had left. The blog stayed that way until September. Even though I could have picked it up again in July, I was still unhappy with my KPM series and decided to hold off until I could figure out a new game plan.
So for the most part, the blog has been in recovery mode this year. It wasn’t until December that it left recovery and went back into growth mode. Which I’m grateful to see. But now that I think I’ve gotten it figured out, my hope is to push forward and be good at this blogging stuff. It’s really hard, you know?
So began the A Paladin series. A Paladin’s series was a fresh start and a complete rebuild on what the KPM series did. Gone was Instagram, gone was the random and unfocused videos and gone was the ability for me to phone in blog posts. I also got rid of a lot of the structure KPM posts had and let myself be more natural. The result was the A Paladin’s series that is being published now and I’m really happy with the state it’s in. Yeah, it’s been on a break for a couple weeks now but it’ll be back after this post. C’mon, a guy has to get a Christmas break from something after all. All of these efforts of late was focused on getting the blog back on track and preventing me from doing lazy content from here on out. After all, I don’t think you guys come here to see some random picture I found somewhere online. That’s not what this blog is about.
- So, about the King’s “brand”?
As you might have noticed, I’ve been distancing myself from the King’s brand that I was using across the blog and channel last year. I decided that the King’s brand gave the wrong impression about the content. I don’t consider myself a king of anything, it’s just part of my name. So, switching to A Paladin gives people a better idea of what they’re stepping into and I think it sounds better. King’s Shattered Haven will be the last series to use the “brand” and then I’ll be switching to something else.
- What about Blog Reviews?
An excellent question. I remain conflicted about continuing to do written videogame reviews. I feel like I could be doing a better job with my style of reviewing if I do them in a video format than a text format. I spend a lot of time writing them up but not feeling like the effort is worth what eventually gets published. I feel like I’d be better of putting that amount of effort and dedication into a video series. So here’s my plan. I’m currently doing some trial runs with new software to record and edit video footage. If I feel I can do an acceptable job of reviewing with the software I eventually assemble, then I’ll be doing a trial run of video reviews on my channel. If that trial run gets a great response, then I’ll continue doing it. If not, then I’ll come back to doing written reviews because I know I can still do it. But I think a part of me wants to make sure that I can/can’t do video reviews before I can return to writing them again.
- The YouTube Channel’s Future?
I’ve already talked about the A Paladin’s Channel future at length on my video here: http://youtu.be/qZ8gmb3kot8 There isn’t much more to say that I didn’t already say there or up above.
- What about TeknoCratik?
Well, now that Dangelus and I have gotten past some difficult roadbumps, I’m hoping we’ll be doing more podcast recordings and getting them out on a regular schedule. I have a few reviews lined up that I want to put on the blog as well. Overall, I feel that TeknoCratik will surpass my efforts on this blog this year, both in listeners/viewers and quality. I felt like our most recent episode was our best yet and we still have room to grow from there. I have high hopes for TeknoCratik and the progress we’ve been making. If we can achieve a regular schedule this year, I’ll be more than happy :).
- Future Plans?
My eventual hope for this blog is that it’ll be self-hosted sometime in the near future and I can make it an even better website to visit. To have www.kingisaaclinksr.com would be just awesome but, I don’t know when that’ll happen as my current financial situation isn’t very stable. I’m hoping it’ll be this year but it depends entirely on my job situation. If that improves, then I’ll be kicking some funds over to the blog. I’ll warn you guys if/when that happens. I’m currently bouncing around ideas
I’m also hoping to get more art done by the previous artist who did my Avatar but obviously that depends on finances. She has to get paid after all. I also want to do more work on the Tower Pages of this blog but I’m unsure of when that’s going to happen.
As far as the A Paladin “brand” is concerned, my blog, channel and new Twitch streaming channel are more than enough to occupy my time. I don’t have any current plans of branching out even further than I have. The Twitch channel is where I’m going to be showing off my let’s play content in a more fun and laid back matter. My YouTube channel will be the most challenging as I try and experiment with new gaming series. But overall, my focus right now is making these three places the best they possibly can be and making more content that you’ll enjoy.
There are other projects outside of A Paladin that are still in the planning stages that I’m involved with. They’re projects with my friends but other than that, I’m not saying anything about them at this time. But I’m looking forward to doing them ^_^.
As far as my “professional” life, I’m planning on moving forward with TLW Tech Services and looking for other opportunities and/or jobs. There’s nothing more to talk about right now.
- Final Thoughts…
2013 was a brutal year but it wasn’t without it’s good spots. Despite everything that has happened and every fiber of my being that wants to write off 2013 as a bad joke…..I can’t. For the first time in a long time, I finally feel free to be creative and able to go on my own path. I no longer have College deadlines hanging over me or false expectations of myself. I just feel….sure of myself. Surer than I ever have been. Sure, I have loans to pay off soon but I’ll manage through them. After hitting the bottom again, I can safely say that I handled myself better than I did the last time around. I even passed through my college classes in spite of everything going on and I consider that a major achievement in it of itself. I feel like my future is brighter than ever.
I write and publish all of this to give you an idea of what 2013 means to me and what I’ve been through. My hope is that at least one person reads this and realizes: they aren’t alone in their struggles and that you’ll pull through as long as you keep pushing forward.
For this Paladin Without A Crusade, I hope that 2014 is the best year ever. To you, my readers, listeners and watchers, I want to say a great big, giant, enormous, THANK YOU! Without you, I wouldn’t bother doing this and your support is greatly appreciated. Here’s to a great 2014 where we can all smile.
Until next time, as always,