My dear friends of jigsaw puzzles and the World Puzzle Days!
After much deliberation about the future of the WPD, I think it's time to make a decision. I don't want to make anyone unhappy with my decisions, but I also don't want to build the happiness of others at the expense of my own happiness.
It's always said that you should stop when it's most beautiful. Am I right? 😏
In 2022 we had by far the greatest activity, gathered 1000 players from 50 different countries, played almost 12.000 beautiful puzzles and 600 different brands.
In 2012, when I wrote down my first ideas for what was later called “World Puzzle Days” spontaneously, I had no idea what was in store for me. After my publication, this idea turned out to be something unexpected that the virtual puzzle world seemed to be just waiting for.
Within a very short time I had 232 players from 26 nations for the WPD 2013 and my idea became more and more "my baby", which I expanded from year to year. The World Puzzle Days combined several of my hobbies and dispositions that were there: jigsaw puzzles, Excel, organization, computer graphics, foreign languages, my love for foreigners and other cultures, statistics, website design and construction, as well as working on the computer in general, which still didn't made me tired after 12 hours. And I think many of you noticed that from the attention to each detail. Where I was bad, that was - as in my whole life - in selling myself and my ideas. And you noticed that in the area for finding sponsors. 😊
At the beginning I thought that the puzzle manufacturers should actually be happy if someone made something like the WPD, in times when the whole world only wants to play computer games or electronic games. After all, I was targeting their target audience and what my players desperately needed to participate was what they were producing and wanting to sell. But unfortunately that was not the reality. Unfortunately, many met me ignorantly and the biggest manufacturers carried their noses the highest. True to the motto "he does his thing this way and that way. It doesn't matter whether we support him or not." In the 10 years of the WPDs we could see about 950 different manufacturers. Many of them far too small for sponsorship. Some have already been bought by others. But there would have been many who would have been perfect as potential sponsors. Unfortunately, they weren't interested. And so, after 10 years, I have to admit that I could not realize my idea of the WPD at this level. Which was certainly partly due to my own lack of talent to market myself and my idea. 😉 After 10 years of the WPD, I had only 2 sponsors and one permanent manufacturer who just supported our WPD. And I would like to thank both of them, Cobble Hill Puzzles Company from Canada and eeBoo from New York, USA! As well as Step Puzzle from Russia, who have provided us with winning puzzles over all the years. Many thanks to you!!
But there are other aspects to consider in my life. For the last 10 years I always tried to be without work in the months of January and February. Because just a part-time job was already too much to manage the organization at the WPD in the afternoon and evening. Because if you have to be fit again for a job next day, you can't sit at the computer until 2 a.m. for 60 days long. Dividing the work is very difficult because only I know the WPD program and overwritten cells with formulas or data during an event could lead to extreme chaos and tables with incorrect content. So since 2013 I have always made sure to be free for “my baby” in the first two months of the year. I have a new job since 7 months now, where I feel very comfortable. As it should be for all of us. This job is not one that you just give away for next winter. Especially not in times of global inflation. Hundreds of puzzle makers would have had it in their hands for years to keep the WPD alive for a long time. It would have only taken 10 sponsors and each of them could have been “on board” with a small financial investment and ensured that up to 1000 players worldwide could have attended the WPD for free every year. And I would have earned enough money with my work at the adventure parks over the summer-time to keep running the WPD through the winter-time. I'll be retiring in 10 years. And due to my previous lifestyle, I will have a minimum mounthly pension to live. And I still have these next 10 years to make my future mounthly pension a little better. And that was a not insignificant point in my decision regarding the continuation of the World Puzzle Days.
Over the past few months I have weighed your happiness, your anticipation and hope for the next WPD 2023, and of course my own happiness during and before the WPDs, which I had for months every year, with my personal necessities of life. During the WPD 2022 I received a whopping 11,931 completed puzzles from you, and in over 2000 submission forms of these puzzles was a "THANK YOU for everything you do for us, Günther!", Often followed by a "Please don't stop with it! ' in the comment field. After the WPD 2022 I also received more than 50 postcards from all over the world with your gratitude. Some of you even sent me jigsaw puzzles from all over the World over the last 10 years as a thank you for the WPD. 😊 Of course, none of this left me unimpressed and showed me that I always took the right turns on the path of positive energy and that this energy always comes back to us many times over. And here we come to another aspect that I have included in my considerations over the past few months. It made me think a lot about life and who we all are; about the meaning of our lives collectively and especially my own in the individual; as well as about what I always wanted to be, am and also want to be on my life path in future, on the level of my soul, from which I am centrally composed! In truth, I only ever had one goal on my soul’s level: namely to make other people happy. And so every month of hard work was nothing more than a challenge to me, like a mountain for a marathon runner, but not an effort or even a burden. And the WPD were a part of that glorious journey of life. But despite everything, I just need some changes in my life that I can no longer put off.
And each one of you can believe me 100% that today's decision is anything but easy for me when I tell you today with a heavy heart that I would like to let it at the absolutely unforgettable 10 years of WPD. 🙁 Because this is what a lot of people will make unhappy, and what is the complete opposite of what is on my soul's agenda.
And that's what I'm definitely must say here. I would like to thank all of you who have been there over 2500 individual players and teams in all the 10 years of World Puzzle Days for all your friendships, activities, your always good mood and positive energy and I want to tell you how sorry I am, but that it is now time for me to break new ground and to devote myself full-time to important steps in my life that cannot be postponed. If my professional goals in private life are not realized in the next few years, or if jigsaw puzzle manufacturers who come across WPD from the time after the WPD era contact me, I could imagine that there might be a WPD 2025, 2027 or a continuation in my retirement, that would be around WPD 2035. But I would like to add, "This is neither a promise nor a 'never again'! It is a well-known fact that retirees have a lot of spare time. 😉 The WPD could no longer be topped after 2022, as the mass of activity had already reached its limits in terms of time and space, and I simply HAVE to take care of the next 10 years to increase my approaching pension to a level adapted to the cost of living in the remaining years. And unfortunately, WPD cannot be organized and carried out on the side.”
But during the lockdowns of the pandemic, I saw that there was very quickly a replacement for the WPD during your forced stay at home and I am confident that even after the WPD, one or the other will feel encouraged to offer you something similar to the WPD. For example, I can warmly recommend the Taiwan Puzzle Days held by our friends from the Far East. They've been making a WPD adapted version since 2015, they were the only ones to ask me in 10 years if I would mind if they used my idea for their puzzle friends and they always did the TPD "at the other end of the year" (in August), trying to do not take away any player from the WPD, and these nice guys would certainly be happy to see new players from all over the world. 😊 And who knows? Maybe we will see each other again as players in one or the other future edition. 😉
I hope none of you is mad at me. This decision was anything but easy for me. After all, it's a temporary end to something that I built with a lot of love and passion over a long period of 10 years into more and more and, yes, even into a certain virtually worldwide known event-brand. (“WPD 2022: 1000 players, 50 countries”, this says very much!) And you can't get rid of something like that without further ado. But I don't want to cry around here. Let's all be happy about what we were able to experience with the WPD, let's not be sad about the upcoming missing WPD and I would rather end my explanation with a little joke instead of whining: "Everything has an end sometime. Only the sausage has two." 😉😊
I would also like to thank each and every one of you for all your nice chats behind the scenes at WPD. Even among those who did NOT remain loyal to the WPD. It is thanks to the one who do not accept certain steps of us, that we learn and grow the most! At the beginning of the WPD 2013, my English was very bad, because I cheated my way through school more badly than well. But with the WPD in 2013, I unexpectedly plunged myself into a large pool of deep ice-cold water, had so many conversations with friends from all over the world that my interest in all your languages grew more and more and thanks to you and the WPD, I could learn a lot also at this level.
SO THANK YOU ALL AND I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST, HAVE FUN, HEALTH AND LOVE
ON YOUR FURTHER JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE!
And as I said: Should the tide turn again unexpectedly one day and a sponsor try to support the WPD so actively that I can serve you 100% over the winter-time, I will be happy to get back to you.