Little plastic men
When I was around 12 or so, I was introduced to Warhammer 40k by a school friend. I remember it quite vividly. Hanging out playing video games, I was handed the Rogue Trader rule book. The cover of it is etched into my mind. A stack of space marines making their last stand against a horde of space Ork.
Setting a vision of the grim darkness in the 41st millennium in my head for the rest of my life. I painted and played Warhammer then until I was around 16. Mostly it was the painting and the rich narrative that I found interesting. A story that open enough that it allowed my imagination to run wild with possibilities, but with enough structure to focus those thoughts in some vague manner.
It’s 23 years later now. I’m standing on the edge of 40 years old. A couple of years ago, I picked up a paintbrush and dipped it in a pot of acrylic paint for the first time in over two decades. That was the start of it all over again. At first, I repainted a couple of transformers figures I collect for fun. After friends saw them I was doing a few custom action figures for them. Before I knew it and out of nowhere, I found myself somewhere familiar. There I was stood outside my local Games Workshop starring through the window looking at those little plastic men.
And so here I am today, all these years later and still, I find myself captivated by the possibilities that are presented to me through an endless sea of plastic. Now more than I ever did do I find myself getting lost in the lore that’s crafted so meticulously to give context the battles they would have on the tabletop.
Of course, if you had not already realised, I am a geek. I’ve always described myself as such, and I have no plans on changing that. I am very much a geek, and indeed I am happy to use that label. But I digress what I want to talk about it this hobby and what it means to me at this point in my life.
Clearly, I am enjoying the hobby. It’s great to have a social game that encapsulates all the things I really enjoy. It’s creative, collaborative, and excellent fun. The thing about it that I love more than any other aspect is that it’s away from any sort of screen. I love technology. At this point in my life though technology saturates almost every aspect of my waking life. I never saw this as a problem (In fact, it was something I actually wanted. How wrong I was but exploring that is for another post).
Having a hobby away from my day job is something that for several years (you might say 23 years in fact) as been sorely missed in my life. Sure I have interests outside what I do for a living but nothing that as really captivated my interests and imagination so much leading to that child-like sense of excitement and wonder at the possibilities.
Maybe now you’re not seeing the appeal in it. It’s not for everyone, and that’s fine. For me, though it’s turned in to something I want to do and explore more. The best thing about it though is what happened with some of my friends. Turns out I’m not the only one who is getting back into the hobby at this point in life. That’s right, a few of us have started to play games together, and you know what? It’s amazing fun. Nothing beats having a reason to get together with friends and have fun. That’s what it is fun. Not only is playing the game fun but talking about it and having debates about the lore is equally enjoyable. Exploring this massive alternative far future universe as a group, learning and debating as brought us closer as friends.
Rediscovering the Warhammer universe after so long really has been a great help. Suffering from both depression and anxiety, I’ve found having something that motivates me and captures my attention really does help. I’m not sure if that is directly or indirectly because it’s helping me have more of a social life (I know maybe you would think the opposite, but this is nerd life people!) I have no clue. What I do know though is having a hobby back in my life is so much fun right now so who cares.
For me that me the crux (terminatus (pun intended)) is if you find something that makes you happy, sparks your imagination, captivates, or compels you, then don’t ever let it go. Life is full of the mundane and boring, it’s unavoidable. Having something of the more fantastical in your head to lighten the load is only ever a good thing.
As a wise man once said, life is so much more interesting in my head.
For the Emporer!