So, I mentioned recently that I've been enjoying Stardew Valley - a video game that has you running a farm, mining a cavern filled with supernatural foes, fishing for creatures both real and imagined, and befriending the people of your town, possibly to the point of marriage and children.
Well, last night I was playing it, and it just made me sad. Here I was, running around like an idiot trying to pet all my imaginary livestock (you have to "love" them in order for them to flourish). I rushed through watering my crops, and did some mental calculations to determine if my melons would mature before the end of the growing season. I put goat milk in the cheese presses, put eggs in the mayonnaise makers, and put assorted farm items into the fermenters and preservers. I had to remember to love my children, Harvey Jr. and Rilla (the latter being an Anne of Green Gables homage), and to engage with my husband (Harvey Sr.). And then I fell into bed completely exhausted, only to wake up to do it all again.
Meanwhile, in reality, my actual dog needs attention, I could stand to do some serious sweeping/vacuuming/dusting/laundry, and, while I don't have ore to mine or mayonnaise to make, I do need to start thinking about pepper jelly, holiday plans, and a Zoom baby shower I'm attending this weekend.
So, when I bought the game, it was a month before the election, covid was hardcore coviding, and reality was generally unpleasant. The game, in its homey simplicity, was comfort food. Until it wasn't. Last night, I realized it's actual hard work to tend to a virtual farm, and that now that I'm "successful" I have plenty of money and no time to enjoy it.
I could use some of the game money transferred into my own bank, to be honest. I'm not destitute, but as a farmer, I was making bank.
When your escape becomes more stressful, or as stressful as your reality - it's time to head back to reality.
I am putting it away for now - although, I could see going back in at some point and either playing more as my current character, or trying to simplify things as a new player.
Or maybe I'll find something I like better.
Or maybe I need a different hobby. Something that offers some escapism, but is a little less... pixellated?
I will miss my chickens, though.