My kids and I are obsessed with the new Animal Crossing game.
All my waking hours outside of work have been dedicated to fishing, selling turnips and hunting tarantula. I’m not proud to admit the amount of time we’ve collectively spent building up our new island home.
It has struck me how quickly I became reliant on the game for entertainment, a sense of accomplishment, and even something to bond with my kids over. I’ve wondered why it’s felt so important in my life, and clearly, it’s all about escapism.
We look for answers outside of ourselves and our homes, external ways to feel better. Some are healthy outlets (gym memberships, meditation classes), and others aren’t always healthy (Animal Crossing, retail therapy, going to the bar).
Now we’re suddenly stuck at home for weeks on end with restrictions and pressures that most adults have never had to face. We’re adapting to working outside of the office, or not working at all. Many of us have school-aged children that suddenly require us to oversee school work, or maybe elderly family members that are now isolated and without our help.
So, what happens when we combine the added stress while our sources of outside relief disappear?
Where do we find peace in the face of uncertainty?
For a culture that is so ingrained in believing our emotions are controlled by the situations and circumstances around us, this pandemic is perhaps the reset button we need.
Because peace and relief don’t come from the places we go, the things we buy, or what’s being reported on the evening news.
It comes from within.
But it’s so often drowned out with the external sources that many of us are now left in silence, struggling to reconnect with that inner voice, the source of emotional power within each of us that is out of shape and needs to be exercised.
While it’s tempting to just say that these are unprecedented times, and that a little escapism is ok, think about how you want your life to look at the end of this pandemic.
Do you want to have a beautiful home built in an imaginary video game world, or do you want to declutter your actual home?
Do you want to literally stay huddled in your home for weeks, or instead maybe get outside and walk, ride bikes, and try your hand at gardening?
Do you want to come out of the other side of this as the same person and society that went into it, or do you want to double down and come out more resilient and stronger?
Neither answer is right. I’m definitely not saying that I’m giving up Animal Crossing. But there is a choice to be made, and I encourage you to make that choice consciously.