Do You Need that Expansion Pack? Or…Why Your (Love) Life Should be More Like the Sims

18 Oct

Note: You don’t have to have a strong familiarity with The Sims to understand what I’m about to say, but if you’d like to brush up, there’s plenty of information on its Wikipedia page.

A lot of people put emphasis on “summer love” – but I truly think the time the yearn for coupledom starts once summertime starts to cool down and slowly but surely, the leaves begin to change. Catching the eye of an attractive stranger suddenly becomes less appealing, as cuddling with a special someone underneath a blanket – warm drink optional, but highly recommended – quickly rises in priority. Don’t even get me started on holidays: if you’re alone by then you must be hopeless, am I right?

Sound familiar?

A lot of us have had this feeling – myself included. When feeling flirty, free and uncommitted loses its luster, things start to feel a bit incomplete without a special someone to fill in the blanks you may have in your life. But is that really what you need?

Enter …The Sims.

And no, I am not suggesting you play it, but I would recommend against it if you have work to do.

The Sims is a fantastic game – if you don’t agree, just humor me. There are so many possibilities and choices you can make. While you don’t have control over every single thing and you determine much of the game’s outcome by choices you make. The open-ended nature and never-ending set of goals make it possible to play for hours. Plus, of course, there is so much richness and detail in almost all aspects of the game, that you can dive in, no matter how you like to play. To make it even more expansive, there are expansion packs – they add more variety and dimensions to the game. For example, in one, your Sim gains the ability to attend college.

This isn’t a paid advertisement for the game, though.

Part of the appeal of the Sims is the fact that it’s a great game out of the box – expansion packs enhance the experience, but they surely don’t make the game: you’d probably be having fun whether your Sim was attending college or not.

But just like the Sims doesn’t need an expansion pack to be enjoyable, you shouldn’t need a “special someone” to give your life the spark it needs, either.

Someone wise once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

And Rupaul was speaking the absolute truth. If your life is lacking in some regard – you feel purposeless, your self-esteem isn’t up to par, etcetera, relying on somebody (or something!) else to mend those problems can be a fruitless endeavor. If you expect someone lovely to sweep you off your feet and suddenly – everything will be different! – you may be in for some serious disappointment. Hoping an external force to solve your personal problems single-handedly is a very lofty expectation – one that very few people, or things can live up to. Not only does this create high standards on your end; it might be frustratingly difficult to achieve for the other person as well. Expecting someone to be magical is just plain unfair.

These mechanisms go past significant others – you could apply the same idea things like weight or fitness level, place of residence, the clothes in your closet or the figure in your bank account. If these things change, all of your problems will evaporate, leaving your life tens of times better. Unfortunately, that’s not true. They’re a way of shifting the problem on an external force, because let’s face it: total accountability can be terrifying. I can relate.

When things are a jumbled mess within, adding something extra on top probably won’t fix things – instead, they might become even more complicated. What’s the sense in installing an expansion pack if your game is broken? Now you’re playing the same busted Sims – but hey, at least they can go to college! When the game’s not crashing, of course.

Just like you shouldn’t need an expansion pack to enjoy the Sims properly, you shouldn’t need a romantic relationship or some other substitute in order to enjoy your life. Adding something or someone to the mix can be truly wonderful – but ineffective if there are some serious technical issues already in place. Unless there’s a solid foundation, you’re missing out on the true experience. And why would you want to do that?

Just remember: External forces do not make you worthy of love, fulfillment or happiness. You do.

And here’s a hint: you are already worthy. Trust me. But of course, it’s not up to me to tell you.

xoxo, Tara

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