Dad, Death, Perspective and EVE Online

It's been an interesting couple of months for me. Just after Christmas, my father's health took a turn for the worse, and everything not family-related got put on hold for a while. When the doctors told us that he had less than two days to live, we prepared grimly for the inevitable end.

It's difficult times in Real Life that make you realize what's really important, and what is trivial. Over the Christmas holidays, I got really steamed about a disagreement I was having with a fellow EVE Online player. We were debating the merits of various wardec mechanics, mostly over Twitter. (By the way, arguing in 140-character snippets is perhaps the worst way ever to exchange ideas.) We had diametrically opposing views, and not making any progress on the issue. Mostly I was upset because he was being so utterly dismissive, while I was trying earnestly to be at least somewhat accommodating. It was becoming a supremely irritating discussion.


And then, Dad got sick, and I tabled everything for a while, including any involvement with EVE Online. When you are discussing end-of-life decisions with your dying father, the importance of pretend wars in a virtual space game fades quickly into insignificance.

Dad hung on, teetering on the edge of death, for two weeks. And then, amazingly, he began to recover, slowly but noticeably. We took him home - we brought in a nurse and hospice care. After another couple of weeks, he had improved well enough that we didn't need the nurse or hospice help any more. And now, he's walking around, albeit slowly, and feeling pretty good. We don't know how much time Dad has left, but I'm grateful for whatever we've been given.

When I finally started catching up on EVE Online events and news, I found that old discussion thread on wardec mechanics. I laughed heartily at myself - and at how much I let that debate bother me, nearly two months ago. I'm embarrassed at how relatively silly it seems now.

My Dad once told me: wisdom starts only when you develop the proper perspective. Things always seem far more important at the moment than they really are. Time and experience are better teachers than we understand, until we learn their lessons.

I've enjoyed getting back into EVE Online once again - not only have I been able to reconnect with old friends, but I find myself bringing a new perspective to the game. It doesn't seem nearly so important as before - and that feels very liberating. It's not that I value my time in EVE Online less - in fact, I now make an effort to get the most recreational value out of each moment I am logged in to the game. After all, as my father reminded me, we only have so much time, and we should always make the most of each precious second.

Fly safe! o7