Monday, September 9, 2013

How Animal Crossing Taught Me to Take One Day at a Time

Do you know why I'm tired all the time? Because I can't seem to stop my mind from constantly spinning. If I'm working on task A, I'm already starting to queue up tasks B through G. And then those tasks are constantly being reshuffled because some emergency fire needs to be put out right now, right away!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf - regal and roccoco theme set of furniture
If only my house was actually this clean all the time!
That's why when K told he was buying me Animal Crossing: New Leaf (ACNL), my first thought was "Don't bother." Unlike Rune Factory, which has an actual finale to the "story," there's no official end to this game. And if there's a type of genre I can't stand, it's the ones that are too open-ended (sorry, all you Minecraft lovers out there).

Animal Crossing: New Leaf - exotic theme set of furniture
So the end of the story is... when I collect all the matching furniture?
At first I tackled the game the way I do life: trying to cram in as many tasks as possible in a 24-hour period (especially since the time of day in Animal Crossing matches real-life time). But there was always too much to do in one day: pull up weeds, catch new bugs or fish, talk to visitors and do their quests... Why am I playing a game about chores?!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf - little boy nursery decorations
Thank goodness, there's no actual baby to take care of... I can only handle one right now!
Instead, Animal Crossing taught me to relax and enjoy myself. There's no way I can do all the possible activities in one sitting (not without spending hours on the Nintendo 3DS). So why not just take one day at a time? Rather than speed through every project as quickly as possible so I can start on the next one, how about simply being present in whatever I'm doing?

Animal Crossing: New Leaf - watching ocean aquarium museum
Oddly enough, I find it relaxing to sit my character down so I can watch the fish swim by...
This applies to the real world too – being fully engaged and not dissociating around people. You hear of couples fiddling with their smartphones at restaurants. Well, I oftentimes find myself only half paying attention to my husband because I'm trying to multitask. Instead of typing on my computer during movie nights, maybe I should cuddle up to him on the sofa. Instead of knitting during car drives, maybe I should let go of the needles and put my hand on his leg like I used to when we were dating.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf - romantic date watching fireworks together
Yes, K and I actually made a date for our characters to hang out and watch the fireworks. I know, so corny. :P
Anyway, many people think video games are a waste of time, and I can totally see that point of view. I'm decorating a house in a virtual world that doesn't exist and has no lasting meaning in the real world. Or does it? Being overly stressed has always been a struggle of mine that God's been working on, and somehow I feel like He used ANCL to take me one step closer to being less of a Martha and more of a Mary. Sometimes you just need to slow down and smell the digital roses. :)

Animal Crossing: New Leaf - stopping to smell the roses

Do you have problems getting yourself to rest? What do you like to do to relax?


MartinKids said...

Hi there! I just came across your blog and wanted to say hello. I am a gamer's wife too, with a very similar background. Hubby has been in game dev for almost 14 years and is trying to get his foot in the indie scene. I really get what you're saying about taking one day at a time. I struggle with that, too. Anyway, wish I had a blog or website to share but I don't-yet! If I get one going maybe we can do a linkshare or something.

A Gamer's Wife said...

Hi GameDesignMom - that is so crazy! I can't believe our husbands' situations are so similar. Definitely let me know if you ever get a blog or website, and welcome to my blog!

Unknown said...

Hi! I'd like to know what wallpaper is on your picture with your exotic furniture!? Thank you :)

A Gamer's Wife said...

@Deisy Chavez - I'm so sorry that I've completely forgotten and I no longer have the game card with me. :(