As we wrap up the fourth annual Steampunk Hands Around the World, it is worth looking at all the reasons we’ve read and heard about this year’s theme, Making Life Better, more importantly for you, dear reader, to think about how steampunk has had a positive impact on your own life.

We’ve heard about the effects of stories, art, music, and fashions. How we’ve learned, and taught. How our walls were broken down, and our personal horizon extending further.

Perhaps all of this could be summed up with this: Steampunk makes us happy.

We see it in the smiles, and hear it in the laughter. It’s there as people make new friends and join in new groups. We have fun, and show others how much enjoyment it all brings us.

We are the music makers,:

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

– English poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy, 1873

Not everyone in the world will learn about steampunk, or care to. They may deride it, or be aggressively defensive against something they don’t understand. That is their choice for themselves.

For those of us who participate in the steampunk community, we can make the most of it, and help it grow and thrive. We can make the most of what our community offers, individually, locally, regionally, and globally.

Here are just some of the comments left on Facebook about how steampunk makes lives better:

–  It gives me a creative outlet I didn’t really know I needed, and has introduced me to some amazing people from all across the Country!

– I’m new to it, but I love the non-judgemental atmosphere. No thread-counting, no “that’s not period”, and no body shaming.

–  There’s a certain satisfaction of being perpetually on the hunt for interesting things to add to one’s persona. There’s a creative outlet in learning new skills and applying them to Steampunk projects. You meet lots of new people with whom you already have much in common. It’s easy to adopt the Victorian manners and mores, so we are a very polite and courteous society, making interactions far more pleasant.
All in all, I love being around people who “get” me.

– It has given me an outlet to express my personality and creativity in a way I hadn’t been able to before, and it has given me the opportunity to meet interesting people

– I have met so many wonderful new friends through Steampunk and have been having so many fun adventures that I never imagined having otherwise

– It gives me an opportunity to focus on my own designs rather than following someone else’s, and a much needed reason to hang out and relax instead of working 24/7.

– Love how it’s inclusive and does not have an exclusive feeling. Instead of skirting the edges every one is welcome! Plus we can camouflage in the regular world

– Steampunk adds a sense of belonging. You have a community that is welcoming and inclusive that seems to say “come and sit a while, have a cup of tea”.

With every story and song, every artwork and outfit, and every friend and event, steampunk makes a positive difference in our lives, and it would be selfish for us not to share that happiness with others.

Be who you are.

Do what you do.

Support each other and the community.

– Kevin Steil, Airship Ambassador, 2014

Now, go forth and share the positive differences with others.

We’ll see you here next year as we take a Steampunk Road Trip around the world!

Read all of the entries for this year on the Official Link List and people’s personal updates on the Facebook event page.

Kevin Steil is the creator of the steampunk news and information resource website, Airship Ambassador, the annual month-long global blogathon, Steampunk Hands Around the World, and is the curator of the online Steampunk Museum. He has been a guest and speaker at a number of conventions, contributed to several books, and has consulted for national media programs and events. He can also officiate your wedding!