Pandemic Ideas: What Made You Happy as a Kid?

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We’re being asked to stay indoors. If we do go outside, it’s for necessities and we’re asked to stay 6-ft away from strangers. We can see our friends and family, but through our webcams. All the things we want to do are cancelled and we have no idea when they’ll be rescheduled. We have all the time in the world to do whatever we want at home.

Does any of that sound familiar? 

This is pretty much how we lived as kids! While I’ve been indoors deciding how to spend my time, I got to thinking, “What did I love doing when I was a kid?”

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I loved playing video games and with action figures (I do that already at work) when I was a kid. I watched cartoons like Doug, Rugrats and Dragonball Z. I watched science fiction movies like Terminator 2 and Aliens. I went through my sister’s stuff and found gems like Daft Punk’s Homework.

As an adult, I barely ever get to tap into the stuff that truly makes me happy and gives me joy. Adults need to balance cleaning, with a job, with buying groceries, getting exercise, doing taxes… The list goes on. And now, we have almost unlimited time to do things we truly love. And as a kid, certain things truly, truly made us happy. How am I tapping into my childhood hobbies?

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The first thing I did was I bought a Switch. And holy shit, I had no idea just how in demand these things are. I went to Target to get some supplies and thought, “Hell, I should buy a Switch! Animal Crossing: New Horizons is coming out soon.” I walked over to the tech department and asked the lovely reps if they had any Switches in stock – and they laughed at me and told me they’ve been sold out for months. Feeling defeated, I left with my floss sticks, and hair, skin and nail gummies destined to locate a Switch.

Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and Target are all sold out. So are Costco and Sam’s Club. So I took to eBay and found one and within three days it was delivered to me. Phew! Well I also ended up spending $150 USD on top of the MSRP – sigh.

As I’ve matured as a gamer, I’ve been all about story-driven games: The Last of Us, Resident Evil 2, Red Dead Redemption. Honestly, I haven’t given much thought to younger-at-heart games like Mario Odyssey or Luigi’s Mansion. And my last experience with a Nintendo product was with the Wii – and that sucked, hard.

Yet I’ve found absolute joy playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Switch, lying on my couch, while my YouTube subscriptions play on my TV – it’s an absolute vibe, and I totally get the allure of the Switch.

The last time I gave Nintendo that much attention, apart from the failed Wii experience, was with the Super Nintendo. As a kid, it was also super sold out and my mom ended up finding one for sale at a flea market. I still remember vividly the bus ride with her, my sister and me to this dingy-ass flea market buying a Super Nintendo. I don’t know how much my mom paid for it, but I’m sure it was higher priced than the MSRP. Wow, things really do come full circle.

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The second thing I’m doing to tap into my childhood hobbies is playing Dragonball Z: Kakarot on PS4. Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a story to tell about this game – I picked this up as part of my Target essentials run.

I really wanted to get back into the Dragonball Z lore. As a kid, I remember just how hyped up I’d be about the characters powering up. I’d go to school the next day and gush about how Goku was powering up to get to his next level, and as a kid, that was fine – I had all the time in the world. But now, as an adult, if I had to sit through 30 minutes of a TV show where all the character did was just powering up, I’d be cheesed – not going to lie. That’s where Dragonball Z Kakarot fits into all of this.

It’s a condensed version, and re-retelling, of the Dragonball Z story… A format I can totally enjoy! Though one of the weirder things I’ve noticed is that the biggest conflict of the story is that person 1 and person 2 have different power levels, and that another person has a stronger power level, then he or she will join the fight. Rinse and repeat. It’s super weird, and kind of hollow, but I’m finally catching up to the story after a 15-year hiatus.

Anyhoot, if there’s one thing you takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s that we have loads of time now and it might be worth revisiting the stuff you loved to do when you were a kid. I still have a few things to do – watch WWE again and catch up on The Simpsons are part of my list.

I think it’s a great exercise to develop a new perspective on the things that made us into who we are today. Give it a shot. 

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