That’s me…. well, that’s me in Animal Crossing New Horizons.
It’s no lie to say that I adore this little game. I get to pick fruits, fish for trouts and dig up clams, I get to catch butterflies and collect bugs. My character changes clothes with my mood and my little home island continually reshapes itself over and over to fit my current home-lifestyle trend.
I can have all the baubles and the junk I want in my dream island home. I can do whatever I want to do in my ACNH world. Most importantly to me…. I can be somebody else for a little while. Digitally, I can be healthy.
Gaming has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Before my diagnosis I didn’t actively seek gaming online as a form of entertainment because I was able to do so many other things like write in my journals or paint on my canvases. Lately though, post-diagnosis, gaming online has become one of my biggest sources of focus and distraction. Though I don’t game online with friends (what friends?) I do like to timesink myself into some Stardew Valley or ACNH. Sometimes I’ll play Splatoon2 if I am feeling strong enough to face online foes. Other times it’s Mario Kart in the cancer center with the patients.
Gaming has always brought me closer to people online and in person and has always been such a nice bonding experience (except for Goldeneye shootouts and HALO capture the flag tourneys… some of those games could get heatedly vicious, esp. SSBMelee….) There was always the entertainment of a nice Mario Party to bring friends together over playful banter and trash talk. I wouldn’t have always called myself a gamer to be honest with you. I found other ways of expressing myself and doing things that entertained me. But now, late in life, I would definitely call myself a weeby gamer girl (as heated and debatable as that topic is!)
I enjoy the focus it takes to turn my attention towards this little digital reality while I seek to rectify my current situations. Sometimes getting lost in a little ACNH is enough to bring up a new solution or a new view of a problem I’d been having for that day, week, or month. I do my best work while procrastinating major projects to be 100% honest. Thus gaming enables my mind to be creative and seek new pathways for whatever I am facing at that moment.
My switch helps me calm down and breathe when I am feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I have an anxiety disorder that results in continual panic attacks and for an asthmatic, that sucks! (HAHA) So, just having a safe “space” on my Switch world to retreat to for a little while is comforting and essential for these crazy days. If I am mad I can cool down with some Splatoon2, if I am sad I can plant some new radishes and sunflowers in my farm on Stardew Valley. There’s so much to do in that little screen!
So yeah…. I game. I play cute little video games sometimes and I enjoy the heck out of it. I try to escape my reality for a little bit. I get to be a healthy little avatar of myself for a few short hours… and it’s absolutely wonderful to get that kind of enjoyment out of a material good these days. I guess that’s why I treasure my Nintendo Switch. Not only because a dear one gifted it to me but also because it’s become my constant companion during this cancer journey. I can always rely on my Switch to have something ready for me to sink into when my feels are overwhelming and that’s comforting.