A story worth sharing

Amazing people! Last week I said to myself “Boy, you need something new in your life!” So I signed up for an online Storytelling course. Apparently there’s this big MOOC (massive open online course) trend on the internet, and modern universities from every corner of the world creates these huge community based courses, involving video lessons, weekly assignments and NO GRADES! How fun is that? I always wondered how these courses look or even feel like. I sure had my boring moments when was a student. Heck,  I never thought that one day I’ll feel the urge to sign up for something educational. Yet here I am! I must be getting old…  Homework again. Yey. fun!

So I decided to share my homework with you during the whole experience. I believe this thing will bring cool reads on the blog so you, my beloved readers, could stay a little bit more with me. “Oh, Norbert. You’re such a fox!” And this week I am supposed to share one of my favorite stories. And there are so many!

First of all, I want to encourage you to be out there, in the wilderness, and always learn. Never be afraid of the new, embrace your passions, your true self and make a life out of the things you enjoy. There are no regrets! Life is too short so don’t stay around things that don’t make you happy. Turn the page and let yourself loose. Grab the stuff you need in life and most important, inspire the ones who follow you. We have the essentials, our health and talents. We are one of a kind! So let us be who we want to be and change the world!

Call me selfish but I feel like writing about how I discovered my passion for writing.

I want to tell you a story of how a little boy called Norbert discovered his first true passion by playing computer games. Here’s a story of self-discovery, a story about destiny and how each and everyone of us has a mission to fulfill and a path to ride.

Let’s go back in 2004. We’re in my hometown, Arad. A beautiful yet small city from the western part of Romania. Easily described as a street, thanks to its center formed by, you guessed, a boulevard. So we zoom in and in, traveling through the city’s districts till we reach this one window of a small house, situated right after the Mureș, a river that breaks Arad in two pieces. And what do we see? A chubby little boy unpacking his brand new computer, an early birthday present from his folks.

He had a PC once before but it stopped working many years ago. Norbert had his first machine back in 1998, a very old and slow IBM system that barely ran cool games.  This is how he fell in love with the virtual world and grabbed his lifetime want. The desire of becoming a mad scientist, inventing robots in his secret laboratory, raising an empire of iron men and taking over the world. Quite a mastermind, I must say!

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I remember this time when my parents had these guests. My mom’s brother, his wife and their beloved daughter. There was this application where you could use all sorts of special characters or symbols. So what did our little boy think? That this so called app is a fortune teller. You type in your name in the empty space and it will be automatically transformed into a group of symbols representing important life events of the owner. They were terrified! Especially when some letters turned into skulls.

So, on Norbert’s 14th birthday, thanks to the latest addition, a brand new computer, he gets a very special present from one of his close friends. Four CDs that soon will change they boy’s life forever.

Even today, it still stays as a symbolic gift in my life.

So what was on those shinny disks, you may ask? Well it was only the best life simulator in the world! The one with the green plumbobs floating and spinning over the heads of these strange yet very colorful virtual people.

At first he just played around, killed a few of ’em. He found the Grim Reaper a very interesting person. Gradually, the game grew on him. He even made a replica of himself inside the game. That’s when the killing stopped!  Then he threw the little virtual fella inside of  one of those small studios where everything important is in one room, which later needed a job to pay the bills, a better life. He had standards! A mate, He seamed lonely! A car. felt right! And a family for the extra cash flow.

A whole  world in Norbert’s hands! Opportunities, decisions and endless possibilities. For example, a five star chef having a carnivorous plant as a pet, feeding it with fellow neighbors or an entrepreneur with the biggest toy store in town, or a vampire with a secrete laboratory, building an army… An army of brainless zombies. Not impressed? How about an alien invasion? A secret club of pregnant men or the classic cat burglar, owner of nine cats? But no, it was too mainstream for him. Norbert preferred his virtual self as town’s mayor. And this is how the newspaper came up. This is how the first chapters got written on a piece of paper, this is how he started to write.

At first, a never ending bio of his little character, about his actions and goals. The  the drama and the gossip. A certain wive and her secret lovers, children with super power, the accident that killed that certain wife, then witchcraft and even business management for dummies. There was a whole Norbertopedia on his desk.

For about four years it went on and on. Norbert even built his own city and controlled every little detail. Stories became bigger and better, yet never shared with others. Even if he spread the virus to his cousin and talked endlessly about their experience on Sundays, while attending their weekly family dinner, the boy’s stories became so big that somehow they needed to boom and see the light.

Things changed in 2009. The third installment of the game was released. The boy became an adult and a student who decided to bring his experience and share his talent with the world. So he got the new game, once again as a birthday gift, and started fresh by returning to the origins of his main character, himself, again, where he met new passions. Passions like photography and photo editing. At one point he delivered weekly stories, bigger ones, better, involving the game’s community. New friends appeared, looking forward to see what happens with their favorite characters. His name became quite popular!

So here we are, in 2013, pushing even further. With a blog!  Writing no more about a virtual world or a character that I invented but about my actual life, my deepest thoughts and ways of inspiring the ones who follow. That one character I once built out of sticks and stones, has come alive.  So alive that it actually replaced the one sitting all those nights in front of a screen. I became the Norbert I’ve perfected so many years in a game!

And I’m telling this story because it’s the core of my existence, the reason I am here writing with such passion. Because of a simple game that brought up my talent. A simple present, offered as a toy to chew, became an actual gift of life. I’m telling this story as an encouragement of following your passions, of building a life around your passions. And Why? Because 9 years later you’ll look back and say “Gosh, I grew so much!” and you’ll do way more than any other person who prefers to live a life surrounded by unwanted things. I am saying that you won’t play a game just to loose time, you’ll play to create, to push your limits and to assimilate new things. And also, to have fun! Now tell me, are you creating, pushing, learning and having fun in the same time in your daily activities, especially at work? If yes, then I’m proud of you. If not, there’s always a start. And better start now!

I dedicate this story to my childhood buddy who gave me a copy of The Sims 2 back in the summer of 2004. Thank you for bringing me on such a beautiful path. I’ll forever be grateful!

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