The Life Lessons I've Learned By Growing Up With Neo
I have been a part of the Neopets community for as long as I can remember. When I first signed up, I was a teenager just gaining access to the glorious thing that people can’t live without these days, the internet. I remember joining, because I thought the concept of caring for a virtual pet was cute and would give me something to do in my spare time. Over fifteen years have gone by since then. I am now nearly thirty years, and I still log on to Neopets almost every single day. Those who know me well have come to accept my love of the site, but they still wonder and ask why after all this time, I still enjoy it so much. They do not understand why a site that appears to be for children at first glance is still so appealing to an adult. It is safe to say that I grew up with Neopets, and it will always hold a nostalgic place in my heart. However, I also grew as a person from Neopets, and the ways in which I grew are a large part of what continues to draw me to the site today.
It might be surprising to learn that a site with virtual pets and games has taught me the value of dedication and hard work. Throughout my life so far, I have had many hobbies and embarked on many endeavors. With the exception of one or two hobbies and endeavors, I either lost interest in all of them or gave up on them when I discovered that I was not very talented at them. If we think about it, we have all given up on sports, musical instruments, etc. in our lives. Yet, we are willing to put forth whatever time and effort is required to earn a game avatar on this site. Instead of writing off a goal we set for ourselves on Neopets because it will take too long or seems impossible, we work at it, sometimes even for years.
I remember saving up for a Draik for a few years back when they cost around fifteen million neopoints. It did not matter to me that I was not good at earning neopoints or that the price of the required item might inflate by the time I earned enough to get one. I was relentless, and I kept pushing myself to work towards achieving my dream. I set aside just about every neopoint that I earned, for years, until I had finally earned enough to get my Draik. I was over the moon with excitement when I created my new pet, and it is one of my fondest Neopets memories. That single experience taught me the value of saving up for the item that you want the most rather than purchasing several meaningless items instead. It is a lesson that translates well into the real world.
In my experience, friends have come into my life and friends have left it. Moving around regularly certainly did not help with making and keeping long-term friends. However, my neofriends have been there through it all. Today, I can say that some of my best friends in life are my neofriends. It is through my friendships with them that I have learned how to be there for someone in a meaningful way, how to make someone’s day with a simple gesture, and so much more.
4. Handling Conflict
I am sure that most people who have been a part of the Neopets community for a long time can attest to the conflicts that can occur on the site. We have all seen our fair share of arguments on the various boards or received a downright rude neomail from someone that we simply did not deserve. It is a test of patience to take these things with a grain of salt, take a deep breath, and handle them in a way that does not compromise yourself or the safety of your account. Sometimes the situation calls for you to calmly handle a dispute to work towards a resolution with others, and sometimes it is in your best interest to let it go and move on with your day. Either way, these situations have taught me to handle conflict in an effective manner, which is an incredibly useful tool to have in the real world.
Many of the long-term achievements on Neopets require a plan of attack, if you will. You would not simply wake up one day and decide that today you will earn millions upon millions of neopoints and get yourself a stamp avatar. That just does not happen. Instead, you decide that you want to earn a stamp avatar, research the prices of various stamps, and choose which avatar you will strive to achieve. That is the easy part. You now have to make those millions upon millions of neopoints, and to make them will require a plan. You can’t casually log on for five minutes a day and expect to earn enough neopoints for a stamp avatar, unless you do not mind being ninety years old when you get it. Kidding aside, you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to earning neopoints next, so you can effectively use your time when you are on the site. You might even set goals for how many neopoints you want to earn by certain dates. By the time you are set and ready to tackle your new goal, you have likely spent hours organizing how to go about it. In life, you will use similar strategies to face projects at school and work.
I could go on and on about the many life lessons that Neopets has taught me through the many years, but I believe that dedication, saving, friendship, handling conflict, and organization have been the most useful and impactful to my daily life. I look forward to the next fifteen plus years on Neopets, and I hope that I will continue to learn and grow as a person because of it. Thank you to those who made this site possible and to those who continue to keep it running today! I owe you a great deal.