Thank you for today’s topic, @leighannkittell!
As a longtime fan of Sword Art Online, it follows a very simple structure: the heroes must race to the top of a tower with increasingly dangerous floors in order to defeat the final boss and free the world of danger (The Tower reappears in various manifestations throughout the series and has important symbolic significance, but that’s for another’s dailies post!)
The first tower of the series is one hundred floors (a nice round number), but what makes this series special is WHO and HOW the world of the tower is developed. The premise of Sword Art Online is 10,000 players are trapped within the virtual reality videogame of Aincrad, and if they die in the game, they die in real life. This runs contrary to typical fantasy themes where the world is already magical and combat for survival is the norm of the day; having exceedingly average-joe characters suddenly and involuntarily thrust into a life-and-death scenario is both revealing to the human core of emotions and creates an immediately unqualified group to conquer the tower. As expected, since no one was willing to die to a new world they seemingly had no control over, the conquering of floor one took over a month (where the average rate should have been 3-4 days if SAO was a regular game).
To me, Floor 1 of the series holds special meaning because that is metaphorically where I see myself in the physical world. Before COVID-19 took the world by storm, I was afraid of riding off the generic rails of my 9-5 job; it took all my energy just to work for something I had no passion in because I was afraid of what it meant to be jobless and unemployed in this world. Slowly, I begin to realize the real danger was not something like being in a transient state of wealth or lack thereof; the real danger was losing time I would never get back because I was afraid to risk it all on something that may not work.
As COVID-19 took so much more from people that they will never get back, it had given me a moment of respite to reflect on whether I was truly happy with the direction my life was going in. With an abundance of time being returned to me, no longer being robbed by daily rush-hour traffic, extravagant outings and other “normal” things a young adult would do, I turned inward and begun to quite literally brush the dust off of old dreams I had shelved while I waited to “finally have time to do them” [https://pro2.akimbo.com/t/ill-start-this-tomorrow-when-i-have-time/27180]. Slowly, hope began to well inside me as I began rediscover the small and large things that once excited me to my core.
In SAO, Floor 1 was conquered when a few brave players decided to rise to the occasion and risk everything they had to move forward and start the journey to ultimate salvation and redemption. To me, ascending to floor 2 would be metaphorically leaving the shackles of my old fears behind to finally attempt at entering a world I have yet to create (hence my Dailies title!).
Have I taken the first step? I would like to say I have. Now let’s continue walking down this path and see what adventures are still in store!