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My 5 Year Reflection


by stephanymy

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Hello there, my name is Bubbles. I’m here not to write a short story, nor a comic, or even an article really, but more to reflect on my experiences here during the past five years, since the day I vowed to love my first very neopet ever— a yellow JubJub— until the end of eternity. I’m also here to look back on those simpler times, when Meepits still roamed the earth freely and toilet paper was leaves. And lastly, I’m here to talk about what the Neopian Times has done for me, and I’m sure for all of us, and to thank TNT sincerity for creating this little part of Neopia that occupies much of my time, allows my imagination to frolic blissfully in an escape where reality is little more than a whisper, and to inspire a creativity in me. Reading all the clever, entertaining stories in the NT is really one of the things that makes the time I spend on Neopets truly worthwhile. So thank you again to all the inspirational and exceptional writers and artists out there.

I started playing Neopets around five years ago, and I suppose I would call myself a veteran. I was like any other newbie—I didn’t appreciate the value of a hard-earned neopoint, I had only a few hundred NP with me at any time, I didn’t know bank accounts existed, I thought 10k was unreachable, my neopets spent the majority of their time at the Neolodge, and I spent the majority of my time gawking over other people’s pretty-coloured pets. I wanted one.

Like most newbies, unknowing of things such as a gallery, coding, roleplay, pet designs, guilds, collecting, and the neoboards, my first goal was quite obviously and bluntly, to paint my pets. I didn’t appreciate pets for the sentimental value they held for me yet—all I wanted was a baby this, a faerie that. Perhaps this was because I hadn’t had the pleasure of making memories with my pets yet. Making unique and quirky personalities for your pets is really what makes Neopets fun and worthwhile.

I spent my time at the Rainbow Pool, deciding which pets were the prettiest, which I wanted the most. I wanted them no more than for a status symbol. I wanted to be “popular” perhaps. I wanted people to look up to me, want to have what I had, to envy me, the way I envied others so.

Over time I discovered other things—I devoted a lot of time towards chatting in my first guild, I wrote short little descriptions for each of my pets, my pets only stayed at the Neolodge once or twice a month, and I always made sure I had at least 2k unspent. But that longing, that envy I had for others never went away. Like there was something unfulfilled, something that would never be filled. And that made me sad.

I was like most Neopians out there I’m sure: always dreaming, dreaming, dreaming. I knew some of my dreams were things I was not actually working towards, and probably would never achieve, but just things that I would have wanted in a perfect world, if I could materialize any item or pet from still air. 400 avatars, four beautiful, royal pets, infinite NP, and “fans” to look up to me and shower me with pretty words. Everyone has dreams. And I have them still, just not as shallow as back then. I don’t want a pretty, UC plushie pet anymore, (though I do think they’re beautiful) but instead a descriptive, beautiful petpage filled with stories of one of my pet’s perilous adventures in Terror Mountain. My wants are not as material.

It took me until about year four when I stopped envying others and decided to actually do something about my consistent mediocrity. I don't want to say I "started to earn neopoints", (though that I did) because the point of Neopets isn't exactly to earn NP. Personally, I think the reason people go on Neopets is to have a escape, however briefly, from reality-- to have a little piece of imagination to hold on to, maybe even to get them through an extraordinarily uninteresting life with an excess of normality. That's why I'm here at least.

My pets started to actually mean something to me, I set some actual goals for myself, I learned to roleplay and joined an active roleplay guild. Roleplaying is what really made me excited about writing. I wanted so much to just write all the time, and to read what other people wrote. And that’s when I discovered the Neopian Times.

I couldn’t believe this collection of entertaining and enthralling writings had existed right under my nose for all this time and I’d never found it. I had a compelling, gravitational desire to be in that collection of weekly writings. No, not just a desire, but a desperate need. And thus a new dream was born.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t want to be published for that elegant, coveted golden quill trophy, or even that exclusive avatar with the charming white Weewoo on it, though those prizes were reason enough. I wanted—and still want today—to be published just for the very knowledge and profound pleasure that people all around the country will be reading what I write. They’ll know what I think. I’ll have people who agree with me, and maybe even one or two that look up to me. Just knowing I could have one person read what I write and think it’s good—it’s just mind boggling. It fills me with a sort of delightful contentment. I yearn for it.To have just one person out there be inspired to write a little more-- the way I’ve been inspired so many times by everyone who contributes to the NT each week-- is the biggest dream I could ever dream up for myself. To inspire someone is greater then anything neopoints can possibly can buy. I know that’s a very over-used cliché, but it’s so, so very true.

And thus ends my reflection of the past five years. A lot has happened since those first days five years ago, when I was still trying to figure out how to feed my pets and earn NP. Now I look at other people and I’m not envious of them for shallow reasons. I still have dreams, but don’t we all? Dreams are what make the world go ‘round. Maybe one day I will inspire someone. =)

 
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