One Year In!

CathyTea

One year ago, I sat down and wrote, “I’m starting my Sims 4 legacy tonight!” It was the day that Pinstar released the Sims 4 legacy challenge rules–September 4, 2014. And it was the day of my first blog entry.

I was so unsure of keeping a blog: as a web editor and an online instructor, I work with the web all day long with both of my jobs. Did I really want my hobby to be on the web, too?

CathyTea

But it didn’t take more than that first entry for me to realize that this was for me! I wasn’t writing to represent the school district; I wasn’t writing for my students. I was writing for me! I could be a goofball! I could be serious! I could explore all those ideas and thoughts and reflections and feelings that were waiting to be explored… and my Sims would help me explore them and my blog would help me express them.

CathyTea

At first, I had hardly any readers. So while I was casting about for the way that I wanted to tell the legacy story, I had that beautiful freedom of speaking into complete silence.

Now, I have some readers–in fact you who are reading this right now, you’re a reader! 🙂 And it is even more sweet to write for readers than it is to be writing into the silence of solitude.

CathyTea

I still enter solitude each time I write. You probably recognize this feeling–it’s a turning inward, looking into that heart inside, and then letting the words in your heart come out, hearing them in your ears, seeing them on the page, forgetting that anyone anywhere except you will ever see them. I still surround myself with that when I write, for then I know that the words I write in this blog will be true–even if they’re only true for that moment, and later my truth shifts, at least, for that moment, they are true.

CathyTea

The story of Goofy Love has been, surprisingly for me, a story of finding what it is that is true that my Sims want me to see. Cedar shared a goofball’s joy in life. Acacia shared confidence. Palo Verde, he shared… he shared what it is to love a spouse with open palms, so that she feels her freedom within this love. I-dub shared the simple mundane joys of every day. Aspen shared self-awareness. Salix shared freedom within commitment. And Tamarind, she is sharing wildness–a true wild spirit within the realm of everyday responsibilities. I have two more generations of heirs yet to learn from–and then, of course, there are the spares, Sims like Manzanita, Willow, Sugar, and onezero who each teach me more than any of the heirs combined.

CathyTea

Just think: one year ago, I had not yet met any of these Sims. One year ago, I did not know what SimConsciousness was for a TS4 Sim. I didn’t know that these Sims could choose whom to love, what job they wanted, or whether they wanted to extend their lives or keep their appointment with Grim. I didn’t know the extent to which our Sims are capable of self-determination.

It’s this blog–and the readers and fellow bloggers and Simmers with whom I’ve been able to explore this–which has provided the space for examining these questions. In looking at Sims and their responses to life, I have, time and again, found my attention shifting to life on this side of the screen, examining my own approach to healthy living, mindful loving, and moving through the finite structures of my own life in a way that brings freedom, too.

CathyTea

The daily practice of writing has brought joy, as has the fugue-like structure of telling a legacy story. And then, there’s the outpouring of joy that comes from all the other stories, all the collaborative projects, and all the waves of creativity and inspiration that flow through this Simming writing community to which we belong.

And then there’s been you. There have been the readers who started reading this blog a year ago and who have stopped along the way. There have been the readers who have been with me all the way. There have been the readers who have joined midway and now read daily. And I’ve read your words, too. A year ago, I didn’t know you. I didn’t know what a gift it was when you would spend a little time each day sharing my stories and thoughts. I did know, though, how much joy I would find in reading your stories!

CathyTea

A year ago, I hadn’t yet read any of your stories, but I knew through TS2 lit just how rewarding these stories could be. And now, after hundreds of hours of reading your work, I feel gratitude. Thank you for writing your Sim stories. Thank you for reading mine. Thank you for all the hundreds of ways that we can play this game and tell these stories and share with each other what life is for us–where we find joy, the ways we move through pain, where we find love, and how, through viewing our own situations metaphorically through the lives of our Sims, we gain in understanding and compassion.

We are all of us–digital and physical–more similar than we are different. And one year ago, I didn’t realize that so fully as I do now.

A year ago I didn’t know you, and I didn’t love you. And now, I do. Thank you.

CathyTea

A few others who also started their TS4 blogs in September 2014 and I will be holding a One-Year Blogoversary Party in the middle of this month–I hope you join us! If you’d like to send your SimSelf to the party, let me know here through comments or let us know on the Blogaversary Thread on the EA Sims Forums. We’ll love to have you join the celebration which will be covered in a post or two here on this blog!

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