I played the board game ‘Life’ for the first time last year.
I didn’t think about it again until last month.
It was lovely night, while I was laying in bed with the windows open, the breeze blowing in, about to fall asleep.
For some reason, I thought about the board game again, about the rules, about the object of it and how you win. During the game, you decide whether or not to go to college. You decide what kind of career path you want to be on, if you want to get married and have a family or not. There are choices to be made.
You continue the game until the end, which is the culmination of the life you built during the playing of this game. Here is the goal:
“After all have players have retired, all players at Millionaire Estates count their money. All players then count up their money, and add the two figures together. The player with the highest dollar amount wins!”
It was so interesting how all of us played the game differently. A couple of us were focused on winning the game, one of us just did what felt best and made her/him happy (trying to keep it anonymous:)), and another one just didn’t like any of the options and wanted to write in their own life, saying they didn’t fit in the parameters given in this game. We are a family of variety to say the least.
I didn’t think much of it at the time. My family was sitting around the kitchen table. We were laughing at each other’s choices of which turn to take, which way each person at the table chose for their life to go. As we finished and the girls got up and got ready for bed, I continued to sit at the table for a few moments afterwards, looking at the cars full of pegs that represented each player and the family they built as they played the game. I thought for a moment about how much fun we had, about how it had been a night well-spent with the girls, then cleaned up, tucked the girls in and went to bed.
Then last month, laying in bed.
I’m about to get really honest with you.
I went through a lot of change this past year. Owning a business, having a family, being ‘busy’ to the point of having very little free time will make one go through a lot of questioning about life, about what is important.
It made me ask questions about what kind of life I wanted to build for myself. And I knew one thing was important that I have already written about here – connection. Connection with others, connection with God/Spirit/Soul, and connection with myself.
And last month, I had a realization that changed everything –
I wasn’t playing anymore. And that was a source of my disconnection.
In living the life of a woman, I had lost connection with the playful girl within.
I have a friend in my life – a wise, older friend who has many more experiences and about forty additional years than me and she said something to me, asked me a question more accurately. I was expressing to her what I was going through and she looked at me and smiled and said, “Seja, why so fucking serious all the time?”
And I stopped. And I laughed.
I was thinking about this friend and this game while laying in bed and in that moment, everything changed.
I was living my life like it wasn’t the beautiful game that it is. I had become an adult to the nth degree, running a business, being a spouse, being a mother. I was looking for productivity, for efficiency, for accomplishment – I wasn’t looking for the fun anymore. I was looking at the end goal, instead of the joy in playing the game everyday I am alive.
I was laying in bed thinking about the pegs in the cars, and realized I am the peg in real life – but instead of a plastic peg, I am flesh, heart, soul. I am on this earth, my soul incarnated for the point of enjoyment, for experience, for love, and for fun.
There were times at night I would lay in bed and fear and/or worry would come over me. In the quiet when my mind had time to talk to me, it would tell me the bad things that could happen, the things I needed to worry about.
But this night was different – in that moment, I had a tremendous sense of joy, of wonder, of excitement for the next morning. The fear and worry disappeared. Any ‘bad’ things that could happen, they were now all a part of the game of life.
I’m going to take the risks I am pulled to take, not only when it’s on a pretend board game. And if I have a goal, will it be fun working to get towards that end goal? Will the time spent be time spent in joy? If not, then a reworking of what I am wanting to accomplish.
I could live my life like I am playing a game everyday. I can look at my run as a chore, as a part of my day I have to get through -or I can be excited! I get to run! I have these amazing legs with muscles that carry me – what?! How does that even happen? Maybe I’ll try to learn a handstand again today! That conversation I am afraid to have – I don’t know how it will go, but I know I will learn from it, I will feel the emotion that goes with it – another chance to be fully myself. I get to go to a grocery store and they have food that is delicious! I get to see these children wake up every morning, growing and sometimes grumpy and feeling all of the emotions of life – I get to share it with them! My husband and I love and argue and love again – what a beautiful glorious ride.
Of course there are aspects of life that we don’t enjoy, that are hard – we will have loss and we will go through trials. We will cry and then laugh in remembrance. And then comes the love and beauty and victory and goosebump moments.
The beautiful emotion of life – it is what we are here to experience. It is all on our colorful board game – the living of it day to day is what makes it beautiful and fun.
And in the end? Who is the winner? Is it the person with the most in the bank in Millionaire Estates? Or is it instead the person who can wake up everyday, put their feet on the ground and say, what adventures am I going to live today? Which choices will I make? Where will I go? What people will I meet, what will I learn, what will I experience? My work, my conversations, my relationships – it is all to be a part of this life to be enjoyed. If we can do that, then we will all be winners in the end.
Go, live your life like the adventure it is. Love and cry and talk to people you don’t know and grow in who you are. Live this life so much that you wear yourself out. This day really is a gift – go have fun.
Photo credit: http://go-exxplore.tumblr.com/post/117350739490/columbia-river-gorge