Most of us have heard of vision boards and many of us use them regularly to help vision and clarify our goals and intentions. I want to write a little today about how a video game over a couple of decades has been my virtual vision board.
I’m a 55 year old mother of two grandmother of two. I am also a huge video game fan. I’ve been playing a game called Animal Crossing by Nintendo since 2002 … I’m a leukemia survivor, given 3-5 years to live in 2000. Four months after my diagnosis, my mother died. It’s now 2020 and in the midst of a global pandemic, I’m still kicking!
Pre -diagnosis I was a teacher and stay and home mom, post diagnosis I had to reinvent my life. Animal Crossing, what to some may be a silly kids’ game, helped me to envision a wonderful life.
Many years later, I became an author, life coach and now own my own successful wellness center, The Love Your Life Center of Plymouth in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Through my visioning, I created a life for myself where I went from 3-5 years to live and being on disability to having a career where I can work from home by phone with coaching and Reiki clients.
Only recently, since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the perfectly, divinely-timed release of the latest Animal Crossing in Switch, have I realized how deeply Animal Crossing has helped me and even shaped my life.
I found the first version of Animal Crossing around 2002, just two years after my diagnosis and about 6 months after I had to double my dose of a new drug that was treating my form of leukemia Miraculously, this drug gave me medical hope and truly saved by life by reversing the chromosomal abnormality that caused my particular type of leukemia, cml. The game gave me emotional hope and was a welcome diversion from the worry and fear that accompanied such a scary diagnosis.
With two small kids and what was, at that time a dismal prognosis, I had to be aware of my treatment options, but I knew I needed to distract myself from worry in order to give my body a chance to heal. I had to do everything I could to relax so my body could have a fighting chance of recovery.
Animal crossing is an endearing life simulation that puts you, a human, in a village of adorable, sometimes cranky animals. There have been many versions and I have played them all. Each version expanded on the ability of the player to be creative in their world.
After GameCube Animal Crossing came the first version of the game on the Nintendo DS. This was the first time you could travel across the internet via WiFi to visit friends towns! It was a chance to keep in touch with people I knew in real life, but because of my health, I couldn’t visit in person.
At this time, physically, real life me was getting stronger. Emotionally I was now struggling with another couple of big losses. My father had just died and my 14 year marriage was dying. Once again, “Real Life Genie” had to envision a new and unknown future. That’s scary for everyone of us!
So, “Virtual Genie”, the me that lived in this idyllic town amongst charming woodland creatures ,created a beautiful town and a home that was exactly what I would have loved in real life. Mind you, “Real Life Genie” wasn’t ignoring her issues or obligations. She had her health to maintain and children to continue to raise. However, once again Animal Crossing was a welcomed relaxation and diversion so that my mind could move from problems and fear into solutions and love.
This past week, I looked back at my game saves and screen shots from the many versions of Animal Crossing I’ve played over the years and what I noticed was, that Animal Crossing was actually like a vision board for me. In each game, as my real life progressed and changed, my visions and dreams for “Virtual Genie” grew bigger and more beautiful. The decorations in each home on the individual games reflected where I wanted to go in my life…. like a writing desk and painting tools books, and even a room in one of my houses that looked an awful lot like my current home office.
Today, I am no longer on disability, though medically I could probably qualify for it. I got off it years ago as my business was just starting to grow. I have a job where I can write, paint, teach and coach others. I can use my love of learning to share resources with my clients. I can choose my hours, so I still honor my body and my need to rest more than the average person. And I’m living my purpose…. to use my life experience to empower others to shift their thoughts, raise their energy and find and achieve their big goals!
I’m living the real-life equivalent of the lives I created in my past Animal Crossing worlds.
Now, as the world faces some big uncertainties, I am using my new game to create the next chapter in my life. I do my work, which is challenging at times these days. I visit with my adult children who also play the game and we video conference while we visit each other’s towns. I get to see my beautiful daughters and my two-year-old granddaughter and my newborn granddaughter…. who I’m longing to cuddle but can’t right now. Once again Animal Crossing is part of my healing, hope and creation of the future!
What tool can you use to envision the life you want to create? This health emergency is temporary. What hidden strengths might you explore? How will you bring your positive thoughts for the future into real life? Maybe a journal a vision board, a song, a poem……maybe you even grab a copy of Animal Crossing and try it out…. if you do the latter, send me a friend code request!!!