The gift is in the giving

Each year our family gets together for Thanksgiving and exchanges names in a hat in preparation for Christmas day gift giving. Whomever name you select is the person you purchase gifts for. We often try to mix them up afterward to ensure someone gets a name they haven't had before, or themselves. It is done without anyone knowing who has each other in order to make it a little more interesting.

While shopping with my family in preparation for this time of gift giving, we stopped at the shoe isle of Wal-Mart and browsed their selection of slippers. I've wanted to purchase a nice comfortable pair of slippers for years now, but for some reason I never really got around to it. My mother said she would purchase them now and then give them to me later as a wrapped gift.

I thought it was a great idea, as it was something she could give me as a gift that I truly wanted. I thought about it a little bit more and realized it was also kind of silly. There is a sort of futility in knowing what you will be getting, especially when you are there to pick it out and then watch the person purchase it at the checkout. I would be real surprised upon open that gift!

After our family exchanges names we later will fill out gift wish lists. We give the lists to a family member that knows who has each name and doesn't participate in the selection process themselves. Throughout this whole ordeal we usually end up figuring out who had whose name. By the time presents are opened on Christmas day it really isn't much of a surprise.

Pointless, futile, inefficient? Of course not. Especially if you really want that item, it is a worthwhile experience.

This highlights a very important idea that we all understand, but sometimes have a hard time grasping. It is not the end result or the known elements of a process that are important, but the process itself and the unknown elements. I have a family that gets together to celebrate a very joyful time of year. The point of exchanging gifts is the experience in give something, whether it is a known item or a true surprise.

This is what I'd like to think I do every day for my career in the game industry as well. It is the very process of working with the community that inspires and empowers me with a sense of passion to move forward. I may know the community will have predictable questions when a game update is announced. The community may know exactly what they will be doing in the game after that update is released. They may likely know what my response to their questions will be, yet we all participate.

How we go about fulfilling those expectations is the exciting part. We all may know what is coming down the road, but we are excited anyway in experiencing that known expectation. We all share a passion and love for the game's we play and are more excited about the process, as redundant and known as it may be most of the time, than the end results or the final declaration of what we had waited for.

"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." - Greg Anderson

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