Give Your Mind A Break
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Profile photo of Tonya Hidalgo

Elaborate houses, immense crops, herds and herds of livestock, and a truly eclectic collection of stuff.  Can you guess what this might describe?  If you said FarmVille, a game played on Facebook, then you are correct.

My husband and I had stumbled upon it as most people did, through requests from friends. After playing around with it for a few months, we purposefully got my mom addicted to it.  It was a way to get her used to using Facebook, and it was something to keep her connected with people.  She had already begun to stay at home more, and I knew that she needed some way to keep her days occupied. Hopefully occupied with joy.

At first she would get frustrated with it because it meant that she had to figure out how to use her computer a little better.  She never had to work on computers before, so it was challenging for her.  It took a little while, but she got the hang of it.  She began growing her farm and gaining friends.  People that she had not seen in years began to find her on Facebook.

Then she began having fun with it.  Once she had it figured out, she passed me pretty quickly. She had multiple farms with different specialties in each one.  There was a rhythm to it.  She knew what she could get done between crops needing to be harvested.  It became a real science for her.  The better she got, the more she helped other people.  It was really sweet how much she enjoyed helping her friends out.

Playing the game kept her mind sharper, and it gave her something to look forward to during some tough days.  I know it can be seen as silly, but for about two years she built her “estate”. Seeing her online several times a day also gave me a way to check on her, without checking on her. If her crops were dying, I knew that she must not be feeling well.

It did eventually become too much for her.  I think she just got frustrated with the game itself.  It changed several times, and it was difficult for her to keep up, but she did continue to use Facebook.  She wasn’t online as much, but it was enough to keep her connected.

I am not promoting FarmVille.  Many of my friends, as well as myself, don’t play anymore.  I just find it interesting how much that one little game gave her joy and personal connections that she did not have before.  I know that there are many other games that do the same.  Finding something like this to give a little enjoyment can be a great release.  Everything about COPD can be very heavy.  It is a tough burden to carry, but having a little goofiness thrown in there can make a huge difference.

It is important to find reasons to laugh and enjoy life.  As things begin to get harder, no matter what stage you are in, just find a new normal, and live that normal like no one else!

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