Well hey. So it's likely you've seen me online over the last few days. I haven't really logged on for more than a few minutes in months. I didn't realize how much that slowly bummed me out, but I'll get to that later. I did tell you guys what was going on in my lift towards the end of the summer and then upon moving in August. But I also did say that I was planning a return, and as life picked up, those hopes died an annoying and slow death. I'm sorry for not letting everyone know about that. I know there had been some anticipation of gaining a beloved "gripper" back. I was in touch with a couple of officers as I transitioned into graduate school and this new life, but I never completely followed through and said "Yeah, this is just not going to work. Not now, at least." For that, I definitely apologize.

My school semester is over, so I've been logging on to level and see to what extent I may be able to enjoy the game in the future. I've missed it too much. As my first semester of graduate school took off, I was logging on when I could, trying to level up. But as I slowly realized what a big ordeal my graduate program was to take on, I slowly realized that I probably wasn't going to be able to balance this raiding schedule with a successful life in school. (for now) That really bummed me out. I've worked career jobs and balanced it with this, and I balanced a very challenging era in the end of my undergraduate with raiding (roughly this amount of hrs/week), so realizing that I'd likely have to step down for a while was an incredibly harsh reality for me to accept. That was why I at first couldn't bring myself to tell you guys, especially since I knew there was some degree of anticipation of my return. Honestly, that's humbling. Nothing like a good death grip!

I want to be honest, but I think the above captures the gist of it. That's likely enough sentimental downpour, and I don't want to sound overly whiny. Honestly, the first semester of graduate school worked out pretty well. I definitely got in my own way and made a few mistakes, but overall I'd say it was a major net positive. I even earned an assistantship in an area I enjoy for next semester. That's a major resume item, outlet for future opportunity, connections builder, not to mention it pays big.

Anyhoo. I'm going to keep logging on, now that I'm on winter break. I've missed the game too much. Honestly, part of me thinks that my NOT having something I enjoy to look forward to that isn't school/work (like raiding!) a few nights a week is part of what contributed to my slight moments of burnout as a student last semester. What are my plans for the future? I'm figuring that out. I really want to raid SOME, but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to manage this guild's schedule as is. I may look for a 2-day weekend group, I may just do alt runs (are those running here yet?), I may find a 1 day/week group... IDK yet. I'm still getting back into the funk of the game. If I do find a different raiding destination, I definitely plan on keeping a toon or 2 here, if that is okay with you guys. And if life changes down the road and this guild is still going strong, I wouldn't hesitate to apply to raid again. I guess that's just the thing. There's a lot to enjoy in this game, but I play to RAID. Sometimes more hardcore, sometimes less, depending on life. But if I'm not raiding, I'd rather just spend the time elsewhere. Raiding is the essence of the game for me, even though I've been known to enjoy PvP, achieves, etc.

So yeah, you're likely to keep seeing me online (on my DK) for the foreseeable future. Thanks so much for making DARN sure I got my cutting edge last tier, plus everything else. I've never managed to stay away from this game for too long at a time, and I'd imagine this will be no different.

Tyler aka Shallow aka Grip b**** aka NOT shadow