Thursday, July 8, 2010

CyberVille to CreateVille

I had been looking forward to summer break since about the beginning of June. I wasn't in a big hurry because I had one of the most amazing groups of students ever, and I knew this would be the last time I would have only 20 students in my classroom for a very long time. But the exhaustion from the end of the year activities and requirements for testing, cums, packing up and report cards had completely exhausted me. I'm still shocked I made it through my last week of school, I was so symptomatic and should have been in bed.

I had very few plans for the first week of vacation, I knew I needed to rest, and rest I did! I stayed in bed and read a good book, I spent time on Face Book making comments and posting status's. Things were going well until a sweet friend sent me a neighbor request for a new game on Face Book. I had made a decision to quit these games several months ago. I had decided to quit for two reasons. The first was keeping up with my farm was exhausting and required me to check it every day and this commitment was beginning to feel like work. The second came after a dear friend was leaving on a business trip and asked me to tend her farm while she was away. When she asked me I giggle and in my head thought "poor thing, she's worse off than I am!". The first day I harvested her crops that were ready on her farm, tended to her animals and harvested her fruit trees. After doing hers and mine, I was fatigued and feeling a little resentful (I was working at the time and very tired). The second day I finished harvesting her crops and I tended to her animals (I stopped harvesting the fruit tree, because nothing bad happens if you don't). On the third and final day I tended her chickens and that's all, I was done. I realised then that FarmVille had become a chore and I was no longer enjoying the activity, so I quit. I never felt the desire to return, and I began spending some of that time uplifting friends and connecting more with my family.

These games are so appealing, and you can tell this type of gaming is focused on woman. The characters are cute, they have big eyes and sweet smiles. The player gets to design their avatar choosing hair color and style, eye shape and color etc. The game begins with simple tasks and gives rewards for each task completed. Often times you are rewarded with coins so that you can purchase more items for your game, and bingo, you've been hooked. Being able to get more stuff is a natural human desire. The one with the most stuff wins! Then there are the collections, another opportunity to get more stuff, unique stuff! It's so appealing.

Now take someone like me with a chronic illness, who has been forced to give up on many physical activities such as gardening, hiking, socializing and Mall shopping, and these games look even more appealing. Take FrontierVille, in this game you get to chop trees, build a town, plant and harvest crops, clobber bears, snakes, foxes and gophers, clear land and tend to the cute farm animals (I liked the geese the best). I had a cute little family (little Bella and handsome Edward)who shared my farming tasks. We were the perfect little family, we worked together with smiles on our cute little faces, there was no complaining about doing chores and we all got along without any arguments! Now add the chance to help friends on their property and you have a game that allows you to do all the things you can't do or are too dangerous to do in your own life. For example, during my last week of work my friends were packing up their rooms because their assignments in the school had been changed. I so wanted to help them, but could barely survive my normal day. I felt so useless, frustrated and angry that I couldn't be there for them. These games allow you to help your friends with very little effort, and accomplish tasks without sending our bodies into physical chaos.

Now add our daily symptoms to the mix, fatigue, nausea, head ache, brain fog, irregular heat rate and blood pressure, pooling, swelling and pain and these games are so easy to love. You can just sit there on a bad day, and with little effort at least accomplish something when you can barely keep a glass of water down and walking to the bathroom may result in passing out.

I'm very goal oriented though and at first these games satisfied that part of me, but in the end I had nothing tangible to show for my time spent. I needed something to prove that I am accomplishing something during my day. The challenge was "what could I do with my time when I'm feeling sick?". This vacation from gaming had forced me to re-evaluate what I still can do during my free time. I did allot of scrap booking before my former husband left, I had stopped because the pain of going through family pictures had become emotionally unbearable. I had put my scrap booking material in the back of my closet and hadn't touched it in four years. The pain of my past is over, and it's time to get those books out and finish what I began many years ago. Once I set up a corner in my dining room with my scrap booking materials, scrap booking will take very little effort and there will be so much to show for my time spent doing it. The second thing I re-discovered was my love for making cards. It's another craft that allows me to be creative and takes very little physical effort. To top it off, I've decided to have a little card workshop at my home. Once a month I can enjoy my past time with my friends. There's nothing better than a group of friends getting together, making cards, laughing, sharing and then enjoy a nice lunch afterwards.

There's nothing wrong with computer gaming, we all need a little time to gel out in front of the computer. I just needed a little balance, I still get on my computer several times a day when I'm home. I check on friends and post my status, but I'm balancing my time with other activities when I'm home and not feeling well. It's giving me a sense of accomplishment for how I'm spending my day.

Still inspired,
Cracked POTS


  1. Hey...loved the blog :D You should add a page to your blog with photos of your recent creative days :D

  2. Yay Michele. I will make you a glittery little token when you make 1yr free LOL. I'm glad you are back in a place where you can look at those photos and be okay, and now that they represent a new and good thing. I'd love to see some photos of the pages or cards you do. There's something about creating that gives you a little warm feeling inside. :)