Like many of my peers, (at least that’s what I told myself growing up), I spent much of my free time in front of a computer screen playing The Sims.
Perhaps it was a need to feel I was in control of something. Maybe it was because I wanted to live vicariously through the lives of my Sims. Or maybe, it was because I wanted to see how much mayhem would ensue if I made two Sims get into a fight. Whatever the reason, looking back it seems there were a lot of life lessons to be learned from the Sims.
As with any game, there were plenty of cheats. Yes, it was always fun to gain as many Sim dollars or “Simoleons” as possible and build ridiculous houses and build a lifestyle the envy of all the other Sims in the neighborhood. Still, it just wasn’t the same as starting the game from the beginning and having the Sims live day in and day out earning money and gradually building the Sim house of their dreams. The same may be true about life. Being handed everything in life hardly compares to the satisfaction of working hard to earn the funds to pay for the things you want in life.
I will not say The Sims taught me a lot about relationships – that would be sad. But, several ideas still apply. If two Sims don’t spend time together, their “relationship meter” starts to decline. Sometimes, things the Sims would do, (or I would make them do), would hurt the relationship. As with any relationship, real or animated, friendship requires effort and investment. I wish all it took in real life were a few mouse clicks and a couple of well placed “hugs” and “jokes” to mend a friendship. In real life, however, sometimes the consequences are much more dire than your “friend count” dropping.
You can’t get a job without some necessary skills; the same was true for the Sims. To progress to the next level, you had to put in the hours to hone your skill level. It is difficult to imagine anyone who has not taken the time to develop their gifts and abilities will get very far in life. Practice makes perfect, and natural ability alone is nothing without work. A runner loses endurance if he avoids exercise for too long. A singer will never reach greatness without long hours of practice. How will you become a level-10 “Captain Hero” on the Law Enforcement career track if you don’t spend time loading up on those charisma skill points?
Perhaps the analogy is a bit of an exaggeration. Life is not really like the Sims. It is not as predictable or controllable as a computer game. Growing up and going to college has taught me life rarely turns out like you wished or planned. Yet, it is what grows out of that unpredictability that makes life so much more enjoyable than a computer game.