Now, I could possibly answer this question with one sentence: To make a change. Or because the Toy Soldiers have become my family. Or because it is the one, big thing I always wanted to be part of. Or…
Ah well, apparently it is not as easy at it seemed. At least, there is not just one answer. And the reason why I joined back in 2012 is in fact different from why I stayed with TSU after all. A while ago I had a conversation with one of our admins, about what drives and motivates people to be part of TSU. He said that it often comes down to personal agendas. Everybody has their own goals, and sometimes you need a group such as TSU to achieve them. Of course, he won’t ever complain because it is all for a good cause, for a better world to live in for everyone. Personal agendas are a useful tool in this case. And it made me think about my own agenda. Why was I still part of the community?
I remembered why I joined. Back then, I felt lonely and had severe problems with depression and anxiety. I called in sick at least once a month due to this condition. At the same time, the thought of changing this world, my own world, into a brighter place was just really appealing. Those people were as weird as me. Idealistic in a way without taking themselves too seriously.
Now three years have passed, and I am still here. I have successfully fought a big part of my issues. I started to study. I have met the love of my life, incidentally through TSU… Nothing is perfect, but compared to where I started, right now, I am in a better state than ever. The initial cause to change my own little universe to the better has kind of been fulfilled. I could probably leave TSU behind, if I wanted to, and focus on my own plans. So, what does TSU mean to me, at this point? Why am I sticking around?
First of all, I’ve grown attached to the place and the people. I have been part of the forum, missions, projects, invasions… I even created* the Gaming Marathon, a rather big event I guess I can call my baby, and that is inseparable with either TSU or me. People know me by now. I am in our IRC channel daily, and have gained operator status. I take care of newbies and try to keep an eye on what gets posted in the forum. At some point, this becomes a part of you. TSU has become my big, weird family.
It also plays a significant role to me professionally. TSU gives me the freedom to explore, experiment and improve my work. I get to organise events, get in touch with the most awesome people and companies, and, most importantly, it lets me use my art and design work for a good cause. It allows me to do the things I love, and to prepare for my own career.
The biggest reason for me to stay though is happiness. The fulfillment, being part of this group, working towards a better future for the generations to come, making others smile… I would not trade it for any money in this world. This is irreplaceable.
What is your reason?
*It might be noted here that the Gaming Marathon as such was not initially my idea, but an event called Operation: Dig Deep by Engineer Airhead. I only took his idea and made the Marathon out of it. Airhead, as well as others, is still involved in the planning and preparation.