The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a project designed to fix a funny issue with the English language—our lack of words to describe certain emotions. Or, I guess as the project calls them, obscure sorrows. In the decade-plus the project has been extant, it’s coined many words. However, by far the most well-known word to come out of it is sonder. You might have heard of it, it’s a pretty interesting concept.

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

I can’t recall if I ever felt that feeling before learning of the word. But I certainly feel it often after knowing it exists. Certain words from dictionary almost feel like a cognitohazard, not too dissimilar to The Game. (Sorry.)

Before April 8, I only knew two words from the dictionary. The afformentioned sonder, and kenopsia.

n. the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet—a school hallway in the evening, an unlit office on a weekend, vacant fairgrounds—an emotional afterimage that makes it seem not just empty but hyper-empty, with a total population in the negative, who are so conspicuously absent they glow like neon signs.

On April 8, I was having a conversation with wackbyte about the security vulnerability they had recently discovered in galaxy, and my subsequent efforts to remove leaked data from web. In the middle of the conversation, they casually mentioned that they were in a nearly empty airport. I brought up the word kenopsia, and out of curiosity, I started looking through the dictionary some more. There, I came across a new word that intrigued me—aftersome.

adj. astonished to think back on the bizarre sequence of accidents that brought you to where you are today—as if you’d spent years bouncing down a Plinko pegboard, passing through a million harmless decision points, any one of which might’ve changed everything—which makes your long and winding path feel fated from the start, yet so unlikely as to be virtually impossible.

We went through a few more words in the dictionary, sharing personal life experiences as we brought up words we thought they were relevant to. Me and wackbyte had been friends for almost 5 years, but curiosly, almost all of our conversations had been incredibly surface-level. This sudden deepness—connection, if you will—presented itself as an interesting corollary to another word I had just found: gnossienne.

n. a moment of awareness that someone you’ve known for years still has a private and mysterious inner life, and somewhere in the hallways of their personality is a door locked from the inside, a stairway leading to a wing of the house that you’ve never fully explored—an unfinished attic that will remain maddeningly unknowable to you, because ultimately neither of you has a map, or a master key, or any way of knowing exactly where you stand.

By the time this conversation and a few follow-ups days later were finished, it felt like I was talking to an entirely different person. Not in a bad way, however. For some reason, it suddently felt like I could be a lot more open with this person, and I seized that opportunity. Over the past month, I’ve talked to them much more, and about much more personal matters. I finally found someone I could be real with. However, in the back of my mind, I can’t help but go back to that word—aftersome.

This sudden change was entirely coincidental, and there are so many points at which it could have not happened: us not talking, wackbyte not mentioning the airport, me not mentioning kenopsia, me not looking deeper. Our friendship is entirely coincidental, too: without going into specifics for privacy reasons, we first met in real life, and the odds of us being in the same place at the same time were incredibly slim.

And this is where it comes back to galaxy. I’m aftersome about galaxy.

I have no idea where I would be in life without galaxy. If I hadn’t discovered Antimatter Dimensions, and gotten into browser incrementals. If I hadn’t taken the plunge into making my own games. If I hadn’t kept at it for years and built up my skills. If I hadn’t had an idea for an app that plays incremental games. If I hadn’t morphed that idea into a website. If I hadn’t released it to the world. Who would I be today? I don’t know, and I never will. But I’m grateful that this is the path I have ended up on.

Galaxy turned one year old on May 8. Eleven thousand users, two hundred games, one point five million hours. That’s a lot, and I don’t really know if I can fully process it all the time. I can only express my gratitude so many times before it looks like I’m playing it up and my humility is viewed as ingenuine.

I was a day late to publishing this blog post because I was finishing the last assignment I had in all of high school. I’m going off to college in the fall, and I was fortunate enough to get into a college that I’m very happy with. When I was applying to colleges, all the essays I wrote were about galaxy. Who knows if I would’ve gotten in without it?

When I first launched galaxy, I tried to keep it down low for a few days, so I could contact some game developers to ask them if they’d be open to putting their games on the site. One of the people I contacted was Demonin. Not only do his games have more than 150,000 hours of playtime now, but since then we’ve also become really close friends. He even came up with the original design for my fursona—you probably didn’t even know I had one of those!

I can attribute both of my closest friendships to galaxy. I can attribute the awesome community I’ve fostered here to you guys. I can attribute my current skill in programming to the development work I’ve done on this project. I can attribute who a large portion of who I am today to this site.

Happy anniversary, y’all. Here’s to many, many more.