I must admit that part of me wanted to title this blog “Life Lessons in Playing with Yourself,” but I thought that would be a ridiculous click bait and decided against it. Having said that, I am not one for video games. I find, for me, they are too overwhelming in a visual and auditory way. But there are a couple of games that I do play on my phone in my down time. One is Word Find and the other is Solitaire. The Word Find game I am quite good at because it is the one and only time that my dyslexia actually comes in handy in that I can find words that are arranged forwards, backwards, and diagonally quite easily. The Solitaire game, however, is a wee bit more challenging. I have noticed that there are some interesting life lessons that can be gleaned from this game. Here is what I have learned so far:
1. Things are not always as they appear to be. It is important to continue to shuffle the deck and discover what lies deeper within.
2. Patience is a key factor to success. You sometimes have to wait a long time before the right card emerges from the deck or from the pile. But once it does, it is a game changer.
3. When we are stuck in life, we have to be open to taking “hints” or guidance from a fresh pair of eyes. When I get stuck in Solitaire, I have no problem with clicking on “hint” so that the game’s eyes can help me to sort something out that I have missed. Never be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
4. Defeat sometimes happens. You then have a choice. You can try to play that game again, or you can move on to another game. There are times when we have taken it as far as we possibly can. Once we hit a brick wall, we always have the choice of making another attempt or moving on to something else. Yes, I am still talking about Solitaire, but am I really still talking about Solitaire?
5. The only person I choose to compete with in this game is myself. I notice at the end of each game what my score is, and if that is the high score of the day. But I completely ignore whether or not it is the overall high score. And if it is not even the high score of the day, I really don’t care. The objective in this game, for me, is to keep my mind sharp. That does not mean comparing my mind to that of anyone else. After all, I am almost 60 and may be being compared to a 23 year old. That comparison is not fair to either of us. So why bother?
6. While playing, also pay attention to everything that is going on around you. One cannot have tunnel vision when playing a game. After all, you may miss out on someone trying to connect with you, or the fact that your dog needs to go outside to pee. It is completely alright to interrupt a game on a phone or computer. Simply pause. It will wait for your return. There is nothing life-threatening about leaving and coming back to it.
7. Switch things up. I like to complete one game of Solitaire, then switch to Word Find, then switch back. This keeps me sharp and able to switch gears. I do this in life in general…a lot. This way I also avoid boredom. When things get too routine, I get bored. Once the routine is changed, I get quite enthusiastic. That is part of my creative mind syndrome.
8. Don’t let your OCD get in the way of your success. This is part of why I like to play Solitaire on the phone. When I do it with a deck of cards, I get too distracted by the fact that my lines get to be not perfectly straight. However, on the phone, the lines are always perfectly straight, which then means that I can much more easily see what cards are where. This also has to do with my form of dyslexia. If things are scrambled, I cannot see details. I only see an overwhelming mess. So, for example, I have my cooking utility drawer organized so that all the handles go to the left. That way I can easily identify the utensils and find what I need. I truly think that my dyslexia was a breeding ground for some of my OCD in that the OCD developed as a coping mechanism for what the dyslexia was messing with in my brain.
9. Remember that this is only a game. Relax. It is supposed to relax you, not get your adrenal glands pumping.
10. The game can always change. There are so many versions of Solitaire. Some of them have you mix and match colors, and others have you organize according to color or suit. You can enjoy any of the versions. It is a matter of knowing what you are in the mood for today. I enjoy cheesecake. But I would not enjoy it as much if I had only one flavor to choose from. Likewise, I enjoy people. But if I had to choose just one person to spend every single solitary moment with for all of my life, I would soon get bored. I am a social butterfly.
So these are just a few of my observations. Take them as you will and apply them to whatever area of your own life that they seem to fit.