Maintaining Practicing

How Rediscovering LEGO Saved My Life

I’m an AFOL. There, I said it.

What did I say? Merely that I am an adult fan of LEGO – and I’m not alone. Even the official LEGO website proclaims, ‘adults welcome.’ While there are no confirmed figures for sales to adults (where the kits bought are intended for adults), the market has grown considerably in recent years. They even have a guy working as the Head of “AFOL Engagement,” so it’s clear how seriously LEGO is taking this market.

And they should. There are countless online forums, websites, and blogs where adult fans of LEGO showcase their own creations. These are MOCs, by the way – which stands for My Own Creation. You’ll soon get used to other acronyms if you dive into this area as well. SNOT is my favorite – the term used to describe Studs Not on Top, a building technique that relies on quirkier ways of using LEGO bricks and parts.

But LEGO for adults is about way more than just a few nifty acronyms. I loved LEGO as a kid but grew out of it at around the age of 10. I happened to spot a Christmas Winter Village kit a few years ago but never would have bought it if my better half hadn’t done so as a surprise. The real surprise though was the experience of building it. I hadn’t done anything like it in decades and I loved every minute. Sure, it was festive, and that kit comes out every year now along with all the others The LEGO Group has released since.

The building process was incredibly relaxing – and boy did it help those lockdowns move along a little easier when they came around. By then, my wife had also gotten into building, and we’d started investing in the modular buildings. LEGO releases a new one each January 1st. So far, we’ve had delights such as the Parisian restaurant, the Palace Cinema, and the Police Station (with the obligatory donut shop next door). LEGO designers clearly have a sense of humor.

LEGO hasn’t just led me to dig out my creative side again, it’s helped as a relaxation tool. Something to get through those dark winter nights, something to enjoy together as we build. And yes, those kits are broken down and rebuilt many times too.

While LEGO is an investment of sorts (once kits retire, their value shoots up), it’s more an investment in our mental well-being. I’ve even come across several websites promoting the idea of LEGO for seniors, helping with manual dexterity and keeping older brains active.

When you begin to think about it, marketing LEGO to seniors could be the next natural step for the group. There is a series of kits designed for the 18+ age bracket – everything from the Colosseum to the Taj Mahal is buildable in LEGO bricks. And that’s before you begin tapping into your own ideas and creations.

I’m certainly glad I rediscovered LEGO. Sure, it’s great for creativity, but it’s also superb for relaxation and entertainment.

-Allison Whitehead

Photo by Karolina Grabowska (Pexels)


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