When RL is kicking your ass so damn hard you feel like you'll never sit down comfortably again, there's always your virtual life. Not that I'm going to bore you with RL shit because for me there is a huge gaping chasm between RL and WoW life. And I like it that way.
So reasons to like my virtual life:
It's totally under my control.
I have no ties in Azeroth. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm (quite) sure that if I never reappeared on AD again, someone would eventually say "I wonder what happened to Pilf...?" (or they'd ask the Other Half a similar question) but basically, I have no responsibility. In previous guilds, where I have held officer rank, it was kind of a pre-requisite that you posted in the AFK thread if you weren't going to be available at your 'usual' time (read: Every.Damn.Night) and I guess understandably so, this is, after all, part and parcel of officer-dom in a big guild. Along side this sits not raiding; I do not have an 'obligation' to log on at a given time, stay 'til a given time and try to make that specified time period as interruption free as possible. Not that I had an issue with this when I was raiding, my view is that barring major unexpected RL stuff cropping up, if you sign up to raid for a three hour slot, you raid for that period. I was driven nucking futs like the Fun Dictator when people declined to show up on time because they needed to get repaired, flasked, fed, gemmed, enchanted or when they preferred to fly round Icecrown mining and "we never start on time anyways so just summon me when everyone else is there" gaaaaah *head go splody*. But I like it the way it is now.
I like the fact that I can be as (anti)social as I choose.
Kind of linked to the above. If I don't want to game for the next hour/tonight/tomorrow/the next day, I simply won't. I don't need to feel guilty because I won't be letting anyone down. If I want to game but not be sociable I play an unguilded alt. If I want to game and be sociable then guild chat is usually full of natter. If I'm somewhere in between I can log onto a guilded alt, but if I don't feel hugely talkative it's unlikely people are going to mind. If I want to concentrate only on being sociable then I can park my tushie on a bench in Silvermoon, natter on guild chat and/or on vent and watch the world RP around me. There's something important in this for me - I have felt previously, that I needed to be 'on' all the time I was logged on, along the lines of; put your best face on and be you, you're Pilf, be up and chatty and witty and flirty and if you don't want to be like that then we'll assume that we have offended you/you're pissed at us etc. And yes, part of this is how you choose to portray yourself on line, I realise this, but equally everyone has days where they aren't the life and soul of the party and surely this should, very occasionally, be accepted? And I'm not talking bitch-fest here, only that basically you could accept the fact that I want to fly round the Basin picking flowers, no I don't want to come and heal you through [insert heroic name here], no it's not you, no everything is ok - I just want some me time, which, if pushed far enough, eventually turns me into omgwouldyoualljustfuckoffandleavemealoneplease! Then you might get bitch-fest. But not usually...
That I have stuff I would kill for in RL in game.
Do I even need to make the list of talents that I would like to have in RL here? I'm sure that tons of people before me have, but just to please myself I give you (with a priestly flavour) the rush hour cure. And who hasn't, on more than one occasion, wished they could round up their colleagues, pick one to target and then really go for it? Or just get your boss to focus on someone else for a change? Having a crap week and needing to cheer your collegues up? Make everyone feel better (for a short time but hey, something is better than nothing). Want the office creep to vanish - try this or this (now I have visions of nonsense bollox reports fluttering all over the office.) Need a pick up when coffee ain't cutting it - better than Pro Plus, I feel. And as for food: cupcakes. Now tell me that you don't need a plate of them in your life regularly.
That there are so many options.
I can fish. I can pick herbs. I can quest. I can instance. I can fly round admiring the scenery. I can sit on a variety of beaches. I can perch on mountains. I can choose between marshland, jungles, forests, woods, deserts, cities, villages and towns. I can go somewhere hot or somewhere covered in snow. I can cook. I can buy clothes, hell, I can make clothes. I can spend ages putting together just the right outfit and working out where to get hold of the bits that I want. I can go and do stuff every day for gold, or I can open a can of whoop-ass on unsuspecting mobs, just because I'm in the mood for some mindless carnage.
I love this world, this game, this alternative (to) reality. I love it even more when RL is sucky, so to Blizz, the developers, my guildies, the RPers on my server, my in-game friends past and present and of course, to Pilf I say thank you. Without this outlet I might be (quietly) going (even more) insane.