I love learning new things — about everything. At the end of each day, I often ask myself that very important question:
What have I learned today?
Some of what I learn is interesting trivia — did you know the “Wal-Mart Greeter” began as a way to combat shoplifting? — and some is essentially useless information, something I came across that made me go “Oh, really?”
A lot of what I learn each day, on the other hand, is valuable, and although this surprises people when I say it, I learn a lot while I’m playing with my sims — a lot about life, a lot about people, a lot about how the world around me works.
From playing a game? A silly, simple game in which I watch pretend people living pretend lives?
Yes, indeed. The lessons I’ve learned from my sims could fill volumes. When I play, I put myself inside the heads of my characters — the same as when I’m writing — and I see the world from a perspective often far removed from my own. I have a chance to experience life from many different points of view, thereby gaining an understanding of how other people might feel in various situations.
From time to time, I’ll be sharing different lessons I’ve learned, and I’d love to hear from other sim players. The game can teach us a lot if we’re willing to listen to our sims.
What have I learned from Jonathan?
Since this is a blog about Jonathan Evans and his life experiences, perhaps I should begin here, with one of the lessons he’s taught me as I write his story.
One essential point I’ve learned from Jonathan is that people do need other people in their lives. Loneliness can feel like a vast cloud of darkness surrounding us. I felt Jonathan’s despair while I was writing the opening scene from The Jonathan Chronicles.
Although in my personal life, I enjoy solitude — if I were a sim, I’d have the “loner” trait — I understand that Jonathan is much different. He was born into a close-knit, loving family. His mother wrote stories about Jonathan and his brother. His father encouraged his dreams, taught him right from wrong, and helped him grow to be a responsible young man.
How odd it must be to be alone in life for the first time, to not hear the sounds of laughter and conversation around you, to feel cut off or removed from the people who love you most. Jonathan’s loneliness has made me more aware of how much we all need human companionship. Whether we’re loners who contentedly spend hours shut away in our own little worlds, or people who are actively involved with many others, we do need some human contact. Even though we can’t glance down and see how high or low our “social needs” might be, we do have that need. Like our sims, we might need to chat with someone, to pick up the phone and call a friend, to send a text to someone we care about.
Maybe the most important thing to learn about loneliness, however, isn’t how it affects us, but how it affects others. Do you know someone who is alone? Do you ever take time to say a few words to that girl who always sits alone in the corner? When was the last time you called your grandmother? Have you ever thought of visiting that elderly man who lives alone in that house on the corner?
Just something to think about today.
Thanks for visiting with Jonathan and me.