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Measuring Sims Bars

A child of the ‘90s, I grew up playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, Oregon Trail, and Sonic with my brothers on a shared family computer. One of my favorite games, though, was the Sims, where you create a virtual avatar and then move your person through life.


You can build and design your home, find a job in the newspaper that gets delivered to your driveway each morning, and call your neighbors or friends (or, let’s be honest, the pizza delivery people). You can’t really win or lose the game and there really isn’t any objective beyond living.


Except perhaps living well. And that’s where the “Sims bars” come in. On the bottom of your screen, you have a list of human needs and a corresponding bar to show how those needs are being met for your character.


Bladder, Comfort, Energy, Environment, Fun, Hunger, Hygiene, Social.


I loved watching my Sim’s hygiene bar go from red to green after directing them into the shower or their hunger bar rise after a visit from the aforementioned pizza delivery service.


In my late 20s now, it’s incredible how frequently I think back to these categories and how much I have in common with my online avatar. How I’m really just a soul filled Sim with deeper emotions (and an ability to walk around objects on the floor).


Anyone who has traveled with me—particularly on a long road trip or camping trip—knows that I measure my Sims bars on the daily when outside of routine. As we barrel past another rest stop on the highway, (need a bathroom break?) or begin to set up our tent (what’s more urgent, food or a shower?).


And I’ve noticed that I think of my Sims bars especially when they’re all in the red zone. When I’m tired and hungry and uncomfortable because my shoes got wet in the rain, I pull up my mental tally. Comfort needs to be addressed first. Dry clothing. Then get something to eat. Then go to bed.


I treat myself like a computer game character.


It’s funny how naturally Sims bars come up when I’m on an eight hour drive or a week-long camping trip. But how useful they become when even daily life throws you outside your routines… when even the motions bring discomfort.


And so I find myself grateful for Sims bars… that remind me to call someone I love just to hear their voice… that give me a gentle nudge about leaving my desk to spend some time in nature… that are a sweet reminder that sometimes fun can be traded for sleep.


Wherever today finds you, I invite you to partake in a Sims bar check in. And then I invite you to trust that your next action will be the correct one.


Love always,

Liz