Thursday, October 4, 2007

Playing life: my Sims addiction

I don't think I ever mentioned that, but a couple of years ago, I was addicted to the Sims, and then later to Sims 2. If you've ever been a Sims fan, you will understand me. I could spend many hours playing; creating families in that little virtual world, advancing their careers, decorating their homes, marrying them to one another and having them raise children, go on vacations and make friends.

I played with all sorts of families: bachelors and parents to many children, glamorous celebrities and homesteaders who grew their own food, families in tiny homes or huge mansions, rich and poor, with or without pets… until one blessed day, I woke up and saw my own family and home are waiting for me. So I quit playing the Sims and started investing my efforts into making my real home a sweet and pleasant dwelling. I learned many different skills, and saw that in real life, there is no limit to my creativity and I never get bored. I get to make something substantial and satisfying. What a treat!

When I think about the lifestyle of our generation, it is amazing how we spend so much time playing life, instead of actually living life. One striking example of this is relationships between men and women: instead of putting their efforts into something worthwhile and long-lasting, young people spend many years dating aimlessly, with fear of responsibility and commitment firmly planted in them by our cultural norms and education system.

Then, when it's clearly time to get serious, there's the famous 'we must try it out first' argument, and they move in together. But cohabitating has nothing to do with true commitment between husband and wife; it resembles family life about as much as playing house, or playing the Sims. It's just a game; you can quit anytime; and how on earth is this supposed to prepare someone for the burdens and joys of responsibility?

We, as the younger generation, still have time to show a better example – of living, rather than playing; of doing important, worthwhile and responsible things, rather than fooling around; of real commitment, rather than 'trying it out'. I'm hopeful. What about you?

20 comments:

AnneK said...

Amen! Preach it Anna. I have heard people say, getting married is just a matter of having a paper and it is the real commitment that matters whether you love each other and communicate etc. I do agree that commitment is vitally important and that you love each other and communicate etc. But imagine this: I am out driving and a cop pulls me over and asks me for my license and I say: "you know what? I drive really well. In all these years I have been driving I never caused an accident. The license is just a paper, I never felt the need to have one. It does not say anything about my driving skills. I think it is a waste of time and money getting a paper when I drive quite well without one." I think you and I can imagine what would happen next.

I really do not understand the logic of living together at all. I do know many couples who lived together before marriage, but are very happily married now. I don't know any that are "trying it out." In my book that is just plain stupid.

Leann said...

hi I came over to check out your blog.I dont agree with moving in together eather.it just makes it a bigger mess.
but then I dont agree with the fact that there is any way to really know a person untill your married to that person.and some times then its too late.
I have been married three times.each time I felt the person was the right one.and each time I found I was wrong.
I stayed with a drunk for almost 6 years till he almost killed me off in a drunken rage.and our kids were being affected.I prayed and asked the Lord what to do.
only a short time later I had to get away from him.he is still drinking now.and he has messed up his new wife and kids as well.they dont live together any more eather cause he hit her..
second hubby was still in love with his ex and the girl who broke them up.you cant servive with four in a bed.we finely divorced.he is married to the one who broke up his first marriage.
the guy I am still marrired to has been in and out of the mental ward 5 times in the 4 years we were married.he felt me when we had only been married for alittle over
a year.he came back six months later saying he loved me and wanted to come home.he was here one month and drove me up the wall.by trying to be my food ploice and make me walk with him when I could hardly get in out of the car to begin with.
took him to my church for prayer and my paster said he had a spirit of religen and that is why he was so messed up.we prayed for him but he kept welcoming the old stuff he was into back.
he isnt able to be the person I need.and I cant take the stress of being with him.its a roller coster ride every day.so I asked him to leave.he went back to his mom,s and she had to leave after a short time cause he scared her so bad.
he ended up in the mental ward again and has been in and out of group homes for over a year.
in this day in age its wise to take it very slow looking for a mate.cause there are some real problems out there.and you cant always see them at first.
I have desided that I am better off alone.and will trust the Lord to be my husband like it says in Isaiah 54.that way I know Ill be ok.

Melissa said...

Well said, Anna. I appreciate your insight. I visit your blog every day.

Mrs. MK said...

Wonderful post, Anna! It's so true---we get caught up in pretending so often. Even now, it's easy to spend "life" in Blogland---where everyone is happy, everyone is creative and wise, pictures and crafts abound.....all the while my real life is being lived without me.

Something to think about---and try to keep a balance!!

Terry said...

Anna, your post is really relevant given this current cultural climate. So many people are playing life instead of living it. Your reference to cohabitation is simply one example. I don't know if you are aware of this but the medical and psychiatric community have now declared that adolescence now ends at around age 25. 25! Can you believe that? I'm actually gathering my thoughts to write a post about this very subject because as a mom it bothers me that we are not teaching our kids to learn to grow up, be responsible, and prepare for the real life responsibilities of marriage and family. You're right. The dating culture further trains our young people to treat even serious matters of the heart as something to be played and experimented with. Oh, that more young people had the wisdom and maturity that you express! Keep writing, Anna. I'm praying that you can reach many young people, particularly young Christians whose behavior mirrors the rest of the culture in many ways. Thank you.

tales_from_the_crib said...

Yeah! Love this post...it also applies to the argument I heard endlessly before I got married with regards to choosing to stay a virgin...well if you don't try it out, how do you know it'll work out for you? The only answer I found that people understood and respected was something to the effect of, "I'm going to trust God with this part of my life, can I ask you to, too?"

THE KING'S SHEPHERD said...

Anna,
This post was great. I do think that so many times we "play" life instead of living it. I loved your story about Sims and how you woke up one day and realized your own family and home were right there waiting for you. How awesome that you began learning all sorts of skills that would bless your household!
Thanks!
Lori

Kathleen said...

Well said, Anna.

PandaBean said...

I love to play the Sims too. I ended up starting to use it just as a drawing board for floorplans, forget the actual game! :D

I agree, we all can get so caught up on dreaming about life/the future and forget to see that life is NOW! This is a trap that I fall into a lot. I daydream so much about what things could/maybe/possibly be like in the future (house, garden, more kids, homeschooling, etc) that I sometimes forget to enjoy NOW with my daughter, to plan NOW for a container garden next year, to take care of our apartment NOW, and so forth.

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, Anna! Pretending is just that...a game one can quit when one feels like. Real living requires so much more of us, & it's good thing, too!

For children, pretending is fine. It's necessary. There comes a time to put that aside, & assume responsibility for what is before us. You shared with us how you joyfully accepted that in your own life. Maybe that can encourage others, who are finding their thrills vicariously, (whether it be through romance novels, movies or TV, & even this wonderful gadget called the Computer), to involve themselves with reality. That's living!

Brenda

Anonymous said...

Anna,

It is as if you are speaking from a page in my own life! I, too had this addiction, but find much more satisfaction in my own children, husband and home. I have found the way you have.

Thank you...

Andrea said...

Another Sims fan, here! I certainly agree with your analogy as to "playing" versus actually growing up and "doing."

My particular delight with the game, however, is designing and furnishing houses; for every family I actually get around to creating, I have at least ten or fifteen houses waiting! I find I take such delight in experimenting with different floorplans, finding new furniture styles and patterns to download online to suit the style I have in mind for a certain house . . . recent expansion packs allow for the construction of conical roofs and to place roofs on a diagonal, which opened up the option for all sorts of delightful old Victorian styles!

In that sense, I would argue that the chance to "play" at life is more engaging than real life, since I certainly can't afford to build and/or redesign my own home three to four times a week! I can change little things here and there as finance and time permit, such as buying a new throw for the couch or maybe a new coffee table, but I find that building and designing homes in the Sims world serves as a delicious creative outlet for something I can't do in actual fact; it's my sister who has the head for architecture and engineering, not I :P

(I seem to be having some difficulty logging in, so if this comes up as an anonymous post, I'm very sorry about that!)

~Andrea

Michelle said...

annek, I personally think it is just as easy to have a proper marriage without the license as with -- if one actually has the mindset of being married. (And in most states (all?) one can be legally married without a license, whereas driving without a license is a crime.)

However, most people who say "it's just a piece of paper" are not actually living as though married. They say it is the commitment that matters, but ask if they have made any kind of commitment or agreement to stay together for life as they would in marriage. In fact, the vast majority of people today seem far more interested in the "piece of paper" -- the ring, the dress, the ceremony, the ATTENTION -- than they are interested in actual commitment.

I did actually read of one couple who got married without a license. They saw marriage under the state as flawed since any judge could grant dissolution at any time for any reason, and saw the license as nothing but a way for the state to tax that which belongs to God. They were married in a real ceremony with a real preacher (the bride's father), and are really married under God's laws. (And the state recognizes it, too.)

It would be nice if more people, marriage license or not, really cared about the commitment instead of just paying it lip service.

AnneK said...

Michelle,

I did not mean that the fancy wedding, ring and license are more important that commitment. We had a simple wedding ourselves. And the wedding you described is obviously beautiful. I was only commenting on people who are living together with no commitment to ever get married and say "it is just a piece of paper and all marriages end in divorce etc. So, what is the point?" In my opinion, if that is the mindset, people are easily setting themselves up for disaster.

Peace,
Annek

Stam House said...

What is Sim?

Karen said...

You sound so much wiser than your 22 years! I totally agree! Of course, most of my peers don't. I find that lately, my soul mates are at least twice my age - in fact one of my best friends just turned 50 lol. It doesn't matter. Youth is wasted on the young for most people I guess! I feel so lucky sometimes that I am not like them, that the Lord has shown me what's really important in life - life!

Ashley said...

I read Terry's comment and couldn't believe adolecence ends at 25! And both dh and I are about to have our second child before we turn 26?

LOL, that comment made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside - I often feel like I got a 'late start' on a family as I married about 4yrs after I wanted to be. :)

I know so many couples that have furry children. One of my dear friends takes her little dog everywhere, with a HUGE doggie 'diaper bag'. I won't even carry a bag that size with *two* children! These couples call their furry children their "firstborn", etc, which to me sort of has the effect of devaluing my firstborn son (who I can't help but think is much more valuable than a dog) and I can't help but think that they are trying to feel a child-shaped hole with a four-legged replacement.

These couples compare how 'Dad' treats the dog with how he will be as a child's dad, and all kinds of things.

It's like playing at being parents without any of the risks....

It is very lonely at times to be a young mom, but I would not trade my children for anything in the world! They are worth it!

Sorry if this comment drifts too far from the original topic!

Anna S said...

Stam,

Sims is a game where you create families, build homes and just play everyday life. If you Google it, you'll find lots and lots of fan websites.

Ashley,

I don't think you drifted away at all - on the contrary, I think you're right on spot! Having 'furry children' in place of real children is another way people play life, instead of living life (not that there's anything wrong with having pets - I have two kitties I love dearly, but they are certainly not as important as children, nor can they replace children!)

Karen said...

Ah, that makes me so sad. I was talking to an older lady at the grocery store, (she said she had only 1 child who is all grown up) but when I answered her questions about my baby she'd counter with little comments about her "fur baby" her dog, and I just felt sorry for her. I mean, it just doesn't exactly compare. I can't remember if she said she didn't have any grandchildren or that she rarely gets to see them, but in my mind either way, it just goes to show how much there is a breakdown of the family unit.

Mrs Amy said...

What a great post! I posted about this recently on my blog. It was my DH who fell in to the online world trap. It had such a hold on him. Praise God he has been freed and now we use the story to warn others...There is no such thing as "just a game!"
Blessings
Amy