10 Life Lessons From Animal Crossing: New Horizons Neighbors

Teena Merlan
6 min readMar 20, 2022

I’m a hardcore Animal Crossing fan. I’ve played every iteration of Animal Crossing since I was introduced to the series sometime around 2005.

I have a special place in my heart for Animal Crossing because, when my husband and I first started dating, we used to play together. We’d visit each other’s towns and help each other shake trees for fruit or go fishing together. I remember that fondly, and Animal Crossing brings all the warm fuzzies.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) is the first one I played with the rest of the world, though, because I never had online friends to play with or trade with. Instead of trading fruit with IRL friends, I’d diligently send letters with fruit to my NPC neighbors, hoping they’d send some other kind of fruit back to me. With a lot of patience, I always ended up with the complete collection.

When ACNH was released in 2020, it was exactly what everyone needed at the beginning of a global pandemic. I played hard, clocking hundreds of hours in that first year, not including the time I spent searching for custom designs. Eventually, my interest waned, and I stopped playing except to check in on my villagers every now and then, making sure no one moved out.

The big update that released mid-March 2021 got me back in, and I excitedly tried out all the fun new features. I also built a memorial on my island for my father, who passed unexpectedly less than 2 weeks after the update.

Since then, I’ve been checking in on the game every few weeks or so. Every time I sign in, I stop by the memorial for my father and wish one of the in-game emotions you can express could be a bow or prayer.

Every time I visit, I think about trying to get the island back in order since I was in the middle of renovations when I stopped playing. But no matter how long I’ve been away, I’m always compelled to pause when one of my villagers saying something particularly poignant.

Here are some of my favorite life lessons from my neighbors (all screenshots taken by me).

Everyone benefits from a boost

Whitney: And sometimes spirits need raising, dear. Everyone benefits from a boost. There’s no shame in that.

This is at the top because it’s my favorite. In high school, I struggled with what I now know was PMDD

Teena Merlan

Expert in my lived experience. Truth teller. Self-changer. Lifelong learner. Explorer.