The Games of Living

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There are games of some sort everywhere. Their popularity has created an entire industry. Some watch or engage in sporting games of every imaginable kind. Others are addicted to computer games. There are card games and board games of every genre with entire stores dedicated to catering to the many varieties of interest. It seems as though everyone finds joy in playing some kind of game except for me. 

In all honesty I have little interest in games as most people think of them. I put up with sports but probably would not care if they went away entirely. They’ve become far too money driven for my taste. The same colleges and pro teams win again and again because they have the most cash. The monetizing of sports has taken so much of the fun and surprise out of the whole thing.

I used to play cards when I was young but as I grew older I found too many adults who took the games so seriously that I no longer enjoyed the experience. I’ve had people bite my head off for making the wrong play or for talking and laughing during the proceedings. What I thought was supposed to be a social gathering has somehow turned into a life and death competition. Since I think that we place way too much emphasis on rivalries in every aspect of life these days I no longer like the idea of being judged during a moment that is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable.

I never had enough interest in chess to learn all of the nuances of the game. If I win it is more likely the result of chance than some kind of skill. I do way better with the simpler game of checkers but I don’t really find that satisfying either. In fact I’d rather be doing lots of other things than playing or watching any kind of game save for Scrabble or games associated with words.

I admit to spending hours working all sorts of word puzzles whether they be crosswords or word finds or just a classic game of Scrabble. I enjoy arranging the letters in my mind, attempting to make some sense out of them. I understand that chance plays a role in how well I will do as well as the competence of the person with whom I am playing but that only adds to the challenge. I would find it quite pleasant to play a game of Scrabble every single day and I often do by way of my phone. In fact, I actually play many different word games while I take walks on my treadmill. It’s amazing how much more quickly the time goes by when I occupy my mind as well as my body.

Sometimes I actually rehearse the creation of words in my mind. I calm myself by spelling out different combinations of the same set of letters. I don’t know if that is a sign that I am strange but it is a kind of defense against anxiety that I have developed over the years. It has carried me through many difficult moments when I might otherwise have been overcome by fears or uncertainties. Words are therapy for me.

I tend to believe that my all time favorite game however is actually that of living from day to day. It takes a special ability to see all sides of a difficult situation and plan to make the right moves. There is enough challenge in day to day interactions to satisfy my interest. I don’t need to escape into an artificial competition when the art of surviving is complex enough. 

I have nothing against games. They are just not for me. I’d much rather spend my free time writing or reading or engaging in a stimulating conversation. I’m a talker as my family and friends know all too well. I can spend hours listening and learning from others and then making my own comments about what I have heard. I find people to be fascinating and I really can’t get enough time with them. Games are not nearly as satisfying to me as learning all about other people. 

Perhaps my brain and my body were not hardwired for games of any sort. I am slow, deliberate, methodical. I do not respond well to pressure especially if it is timed. I like to watch and analyze and learn just as my mother always told me to do. I color outside of the lines and see what happens if I bend the rules. Most games are too rapid and too rigid for me. My mind wanders and I lose track of what is happening because I am distracted by the people with whom I am playing. 

I often join in games with those who enjoy such things. Sometimes I get lucky and win a hand of Blackjack or the cards go my way with Uno. I get dizzy and nauseated attempting to play video games so I have managed to avoid them totally. I’ll try most of the board games and even quietly enjoy some of them now and again, but ask me to quietly play a word game and I’m always ready. Ask me to play the game of living and I really get excited. Just don’t make me compete or push me to react hurriedly. Mine is a slow and contemplative way of meeting the world. That is my talent and thus far it has served me well in the bigger games of living.


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