I used to play Sims 2 back in middle school, before the days of intense homework, essays, college applications, and clubs. Even though it felt like the most mindless activity out there at the time, I sometimes think about the game to this day, especially in terms of the whole aspirations thing.
Quick Sims lesson for anyone out there reading this who hasn’t ever played: When you have an adult Sim, you get to choose a life aspiration for him or her. Aspirations can be family, fortune, knowledge, popularity, romance, and so on, and they govern the Sim’s wants and fears in the game.
Sure, the Sims is just a video game I liked to play (as in build houses and people, play for a night, and start over again the next time I start the game), but its aspirations feature comes back to me sometimes, especially on weekends like this.
At the time I was playing it, I was very focused on my schoolwork, so you could say my aspiration was knowledge. I brought a lot of energy to all the essays I wrote for class, all the geometry problem sets I completed, and even all the posterboard presentations I created throughout the years. But after going off to college, strangely enough, my aspirations shifted. In the beginning of my freshman year, I ended up somewhere in the popularity sector. My new friends were numerous and spanned a range of clubs and activities, and I reveled in the time we would all just hang out and do nothing.
Now that I’m in my last few months of college, I think my aspiration has shifted again. While many people in my position might be aiming for fortune or something along the lines of power (a hidden aspiration on Sims 2), I think I am drifting more into romance.
In the interest of sparing you all the details, I have a very close friend I met almost three years ago when he also attended my university. He is two years older than me, so even though we have talked almost every day since we started hanging out, we’ve spent most of that time in different states. We aren’t in a relationship because we don’t want to start something long-distance, but it’s still there.
He visited this weekend, and we had a great time.
And it tore me apart in an embarrassing way when we said our goodbyes, which obviously happen every time we get to visit, because I have this unfounded fear that this will be the last time we see each other. If I were a Sim with a romantic aspiration, my fear of abandonment or moving on would be very real. At least real enough that I’m pretty sure it is exactly what I experienced today when I was curled up on my couch sobbing about silly things that ultimately shouldn’t affect my life so much.
It’s really interesting to look back on my priorities through the years. I still put an extremely high amount of time into my work and efforts at finding a job after graduation, but it seems my heart lies in other matters.