From birth, our first child cried a lot and would not sleep more than 45 minutes at a time. We took on board all the advice and instruction available and tried everything we were meant to, but every 45 minutes he would wake with a cry. After a ruinous amount of time, and with our peers casting judgmental looks upon our parenting skills, my wife gave up and moved into the nursey to allow our baby to sleep next to her. She would go to bed early with him, and every 45 minutes when he stirred she would pop his dummy back in, sooth him, and they would both go back to sleep. With a couple of breast feeds required overnight, the initial routine logically fell to my wife – but before long my son would accept no one else in that role.
This left me with long and free evenings. It was at this time that I started playing EVE. In the early days I could get lost in my sessions, trying to earn ISK, train skills, and experience the seemingly endless possibilities the game offered. I flew with the real life friends who had introduced me to the game, and I even spent a couple months in Catch with IAC, although it turned out it was too early in my career. (I wasn’t able to earn enough ISK through lack of appropriate equipment, skill, and the ever present Outbreak.)
When my son was around 16 months and still not walking, an instructor at one of the classes he attended suggested we take him to a Baby Chiropractor. We asked around and were sternly advised against it, but after hearing some personal testimonials we gave it a go. The chiropractor said our Son’s neck was out – probably from the natural birth, causing him constant pain. When his sleep cycle moved into a lighter phase at around 45 minutes the pain would wake him. On the night of his first manipulation our son slept for 3 or 4 hours straight, and within a day or two he was walking. After a second manipulation the chiropractor said the issue had been fixed.
The damage however had been done. Our son would not sleep without his mother next to him, and my wife, after 16 months of stress and literally never getting a proper night’s sleep, was no longer the same person. Her ability to cope and how she reacted to adversity were changed, and still are, for the worse.
While I saw my wife more often now during the evenings, she still had to sleep in the nursery, so I still had plenty of time for EVE. I was ready for my second attempt at Null Sec, and I moved out to Providence where I focused on training for official fits and 0.0 Industry.
When my wife was pregnant with our second child my free uninterrupted time diminished. Aside helping more around the house, I was kept particularly busy weening our son off his need to be constantly attached to his mother. My EVE time suffered, and I had to leave Providence and return to Hi-Sec. I focused on Carebear activities and perfecting my skill in them.
After our daughter was born and as the routine looked to be getting better I went back to Providence. I lasted until AAA kicked CVA and its Holders out of the region, but with renewed demands on my time at home I moved back to Hi-Sec instead of following the Alliance to new grounds.
Our daughter had no problems with sleeping, but she had a fiery temper which turned into huge tantrums from about the age of one. Since then, almost six years now, we have been dealing with her atrocious behaviour. It permutates all aspects of our lives, and while I find it wearisome and difficult to manage, my wife doesn’t cope particularly well with it.
I tried to get back into the real EVE – I really liked the drama, intrigue and teamwork of Null Sec, and joined a low fuss Corp with a base out in Syndicate. I hated however that I was always being interrupted by real life and could not be relied upon, so after a few months I decided I would just have to admit defeat and play a solo hermit game, where I wouldn’t have to let anybody down.
For quite a while I would play to build up my self-sufficiency, or to collect things such as BPO, or to achieve small technical goals – like trying out new functionality, or fly some new hull, or to maximise my skills in a certain area. Sometimes I would play for the back story or just to explore. Sometimes I played from habit.
I’ve been thinking of late about why I am still playing EVE after so many years. One answer was obvious – it continues to give me an accessible and reliable downtime and a break from the trials and tribulations I have at home. I don’t want to overstate these – life could be so much more difficult and extreme, but EVE has given me an escape and allowed me time to recharge my batteries. It is selfish but needed me time.
Another answer is apparent if you have read this blog for long enough. It has given me the opportunity to reflect on how and why I behave the way I do – to social situations, to conflict, to change, to politics, to trolling, and improve on them.
The third answer however surprised me. One of my long running underlying focuses has been to avoid non-consensual ship loss. Looking at my combat history on my main, in over nine years I have lost two ships to PVE, five to consensual fleet PVP, and two to consensual solo PVP. (Consensual meaning I was in a combat ship and not avoiding a fight.)
You could read that as I never undock, or that I am one of the horrid risk-averse players. But I’ve spent years living in Low and Null-Sec (including currently), spent plenty of time visiting wormholes, had multiple POS and POCO anchored over the years, and fly gankable ships and haul gankable cargoes in Hi-Sec. It turns out – just like someone who loves to log in to PVP, I get a surprising level of enjoyment in undocking and facing the challenge of keeping my hull safe.
It has been interesting how much my EVE life has been intertwined and directly influenced by my real life, and how it serves more of a purpose than just a game.