“The Centre Cannot Hold”

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.” — Yeats, “The Second Coming”

In the garden yesterday morning, this line from  Yeats’ “The Second Coming” came to me: “Things fall apart.” It was how I was feeling about my legacy family.

With Acacia gone, it felt to me that the extended family at Cradle Rock had become a collection of separate individuals, without a center.

Paris rolled the wish to flirt with Manzanita.

Manzanita had a date with an insane, family-oriented geek that ended in “an offensive conversation.”

We could barely keep up with the piles of dirty dishes. Everybody needed a shower, and every shower kept breaking.

There were so many Sims, so many aspirations, so many conflicting wishes.

Sweetness was suddenly surprisingly hard to find. The family has left innocence behind in their rush towards experience.

My center of the game, Acacia, was gone.

When I returned to the game today, full of the energy of early afternoon, I had a new perspective. My Sims were happy, focused, inspired, confident. I was the one who was feeling adrift, not them.

Acacia had been my center–she had been the Sim that had held the game together for me, the one I could count on to repair and clean things, to share sweet interactions with others, to provide a point of grounding and confidence for me.

But the other Sims in the family didn’t need her. They each had their own point of reference.

I let Paris flirt with Manzanita–he impressed her with his video game prowess, and they both enjoyed it. They were cute, and it didn’t lead to trouble or stir up complications.

Manzanita wasn’t upset about her failed date with the insane Sim. She could care less! She was maniacally happy with her new career in the technology field and her burgeoning programming skills.

What’s happened is a shift in perspective, not an end. Rather than having a single Sim through whom I identify, now I sit outside, watching. Instead of a center, we now have concentric circles.

It’s a party, all the time, at Cradle Rock, with Sims in loosely clustered conversations, or heading out to paint, play video games, run on the treadmill, mix drinks, dance, use the microscope, and observe space.

As a loner myself, I prefer the one-on-one deep conversation of close friendship to the revolving dance of jokes and small talk. I found it grounding to center my perspective in Acacia, a fellow loner, and look at the passing game through her eyes.

But now, it’s a different experience. I’m on the outside looking in at the shifting and complex inter-relationships. For me, it feels a bit overwhelming at times. But the Sims inside the game are having the games of their life!