Sometimes it's good to take a look back in time, in our experiences, the people we met, and try to see how they helped build up who we are today... or maybe that's just me, and I'm too sentimental.
Anyway, Airlines Empires, in many ways brings us some kind of nostalgia: either the feeling of living in the 2000s when browsing through the forums or by the experiences you had here, the friends you made, stuff you learned. In my personal view, as someone who - as said before - takes everything very sentimental, AE has an important share of who I am today and I keep so many good memories about this site and its community. When I went through some dark days in my personal life, I always had that online plane game were I have some friends, and those times make me see this community as a family. Family is not about kinship and relatives, family is about affinity, family are people you choose to have around; so when I was down, I choose to have this community around me.
When I look back on the 5 years I've been here, I remember seeing the gallery with a twinkle in my eye, as I wanted to do just as good as the liveries and whole brands I saw; I saw the rise of Med's templates and how they changed this website and took the livery design hobby to another level. When I meet some outsider livery designer, often from instagram, in my mind, I feel so proud of being part of the community that creates and is constantly enhancing these templates. I saw the chat dies and the AE discord born, and all the others dissidences that came after. When I joined AE, the alliances were a big deal, and joining Unitedwings was such a big deal for me. There were good times...
I saw so many users that, in my mind, were big and influential, growing up and leaving; then I saw a new generation coming up and now they're leaving, because they grew up just like the ones past them, and just like me. Seeing people leaving again and again brings me this werid nostalgia feeling. Even though I create some sort of affective bond to everyone here, I can't control their feelings, neither the urge to grow up, their realization that life is something more than just online forums. It's natural, it happens to everyone, it has happened to me before, and I left AE for a while, but the affection I've got for this community made me come back and I don't leave, even if I keep AE only as a remembrance in my favorites tab.
Maybe, the state of disrepair this site and community are in today is just a transition between the 'big and influential' members, or maybe it's doomed forever to be just a website to download cool airplane templates. I don't know. Maybe the world ends tomorrow. And maybe this is all bull****. Just rumbles of a depressed kid.
I just like to think how random people from random parts of the world can change who we are, even if it's something you will realize only a couple of years after, and also to remember the good times.
But anyway, this is just a online plane game.