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So today is my birthday and I've never had my Twitter and Facebook feeds blow up this much before! This past week has been so full of emotion, I keep intending to write something meaningful but I'm also still recovering and gathering my thoughts.
Pico Day ended up being one huge party that raged from Friday through Monday... The Friday Pre-co day was bigger than a lot of the original Pico Days and there were still like 30 people at the office when I left late Sunday night.
The weeks leading up to Pico Day were really stressful because beyond the usual stress of hoping everyone has fun, I also had a PA Unemployment Compensation Audit scheduled for Tuesday. I wasn't expecting anything BAD to result from the audit but I've also learned to be very afraid of what I don't know, so having had both State and Federal audits in the past, I kinda suffer from PTSD. Until this month I didn't even know there was a separate audit for the state unemployment department.
So basically our conference room went from this:
It's kinda cool though because it really demonstrates the two extremes of my life with Newgrounds.
These past few years have been rough ones, with so many tectonic shifts in technology and business. We've been working hard to navigate the waters and keep improving the site despite having to slim down every aspect of the business. While we don't always get there as fast as we like, I've been feeling very optimistic about the future of NG and this past week was definitely a sign that something is rumbling under the surface around here.
At one point this weekend, @Ricepirate pulled me in, surveyed the crowd and said, "So what are you going to do with all this?" On one hand, maybe it has already been done - just bringing all these amazing people together has been the great achievement. I don't want to regret squandering the momentum, though... It DOES feel like there is something big to come out of all this. One part of NG is the tech we develop but the MUCH BIGGER part is the PEOPLE. Without the people, all the best tech in the world is worthless. Lots of websites have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to find that out. I'm hoping I've lived through enough to have internalized that lesson forever!
The greatest gift of coming back from a big loss is the sense of gratitute for what you have. Right now I'm brimming with gratitude for all the people who have stuck with NG over the years, all the people who have come back after being away and all the new people who are discovering it for the first time. I'm grateful for everyone who made it out to Pico Day and all the people who wanted to be there. I'm grateful for all the well-wishes I've been getting today throughout all these sites.
It's been a really special week and I'm gonna remember it forever and keep reminding myself that I don't have to be sad and anxious so much. There is so much to be grateful for and so much that can still be achieved! Failure shouldn't be a reason to push people away or exile yourself. It's not a reason to punish yourself. Failing is a lesson and it is temporary. You can live in it for a while, you can repeat it over and over, but you shouldn't allow it to define who you are. Never stop fighting for a better, brighter world!
Thanks again everyone, for everything!