When it comes to buzzy pop culture trends, I’m that skeptical bitch who refuses to jump on the bandwagon until enough time has passed to prove it legitimate. I started Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad way too late in the same, somewhere around Season 3 or 4.
The same goes for Animal Crossing, which reached peak popularity levels in March—the time of its release and the start of COVID lockdowns. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. With millions of people stuck at home, the idea of escaping to a faraway island to live with cuter-than-cute animal neighbors sounds too good to pass.
Then, there’s me. I started playing Animal Crossing in November. NOVEMBER. EIGHT LONG ASS MONTHS INTO THE PANDEMIC.
But hey, better late than never, I guess. With my state back in lockdown, I have more time (and depression) than ever to fish, chop trees, catch butterflies on my fictional island.
If only real-life humanity could learn a thing or two from Animal Crossing characters. I swear we’d be far better off pre, mid, and post-pandemic if we applied these simple lessons to our everyday lives.
#1. If you’re sick, stay the fuck home and take medicine
When under the weather, Animal Crossing characters stay inside their homes and do not leave until you bring them some medicine. They quiver, sneeze, and get the chills just like us—except they don’t force their way into a crowded office building to spread their germs.
#2. The more you give, the more you receive
One of the quickest ways to build up your wardrobe and DIY recipe catalog is to give gifts to your neighbors. It can be anything—seashells, cherries, or even bugs. Neighbors call your name the next day to return the favor, which just goes to show how real karma is on the island.
#3. Pick and choose your inner circle carefully
It took me a week or two to learn that there are certain villagers you want to avoid. I made the rookie mistake of inviting this annoying ass pink duck named Freckles to my island and now she won’t leave me alone. I’d rather spend my time with Hugh, a chubby food-loving blue pig.
#4: Nothing in life is permanent
If you don’t like something, change it! Reorganize, redecorate, replant, repot, repaint, rebuild, repurchase, restart. Animal Crossing teaches players to think outside the box when something doesn’t fit or feel right. For example, you might have this hideous dresser in storage that needs a facelift.
#5. Show your true emotions and say how you really feel
Enough of this “pretend nice” garbage. As you progress in the game, your character learns all sorts of Reactions both positive and negative. You can say no, act bashful, or jump for joy. It’s time to make toxic positivity a thing of the past and accept the fact that sometimes, life just sucks.
#6. Live with the seasons
While some choose to time travel to in-game events like Thanksgiving and Christmas, I prefer to play in real-time and live with the seasons. There’s something so humbling about accepting whatever Mother Nature has gifted you, from unpredictable weather patterns to seasonal produce.
#7. A healthy diet makes all the difference
Your dream island would be nothing without the ability to shovel up trees, chop them down, and smash boulders. The only way to unlock these Animal Crossing superpowers is to eat the produce that grows on your island. Never underestimate the positive influence of daily fruits and vegetables, kids.
#8. Make that money any way you want
I’d personally like to thank COVID for shining a light on the ridiculousness that is 9–5 office life because it doesn’t work for everyone. Find a path to income that’s unique and efficient for you—shake trees, sell furniture, dig up treasure. It’s beneficial to have at least two different sources of income.