Saturday, August 18, 2012

Life is Like a Game of Solitaire

This week has been one of the most stressful weeks of my life. My UK visa was refused two weeks to the day I am scheduled to fly out. Yikes. People who have known me for years may not have thought it was possible to stress me out - but, never say never - all things are possible!

This week was filled with urgency, phone call after phone call after phone call, research, tears, more phone calls, running around collecting documents from all over the world, pop and solitaire. Yes, pop and solitaire became my coping mechanism (healthy right?!)

As I played the countless number of solitaire games this week, I began to analyze my game play; my strategies, my problem solving skills, the cards themselves, the game in its entirety. I noticed a parallel between my present week and experiences with the cards I was playing.

First, you are dealt 7 cards. These 7 cards represent different things in your life. These 7 things, are key factors, have a large influence on your life. It is how you interact with them, how you interpret them, the choices you make surrounding them that dictate your next moves. When I play, I always manoeuvre  these 7 cards first, play as much with what I call the ground as possible.

As you place cards, another card is always presented - a new event - a consequence - a reward for your actions. It becomes a new challenge in your life, something new to experience and interact with. This card has a chance of helping you, or posing a challenge. When these cards are flipped, it is your attitude that determines the effect of the card (pro or con), it is your attitude that determines the outcome and the play of this card. This card provides an opportunity of opening a new door, creating chances, or a moment of problem solving. When problem solving you must analyze the present cards and see how they can all work together - how can all of these things in your life work together? Is there something in your life not quite working?

My goal while playing is to create the open spaces down on the ground, make those chances, provide space for new experiences, new challenges, new things. By making these spaces, in solitaire, a king is able to be placed. In life, something exciting, something big can take place, like in my life right now I am moving to England in a week (fingers crossed on that visa!)

The pile, I think of as a life line. Things aren't working out on the ground, so you pull from the top - you ask someone for help, you pull out some resources. The pile presents three options, however you must clear the top choice to get to the next, or present yourself with three new options. This allows for some risk taking, and again some problem solving. But the main part it shows, and what I experienced this week was a big support system. The options, the way you proceed through the life line cards, everyone is there willing to help it is just up to you how you access it.

Finally, through combination of the ground cards, and the life line cards, you place cards on a shelf. This is much like displaying a trophy, hanging a degree, or simply making recognition of your achievements with a pat on the back. As you process the cards, organize them, you achieve something, you have things in order. As you process the events in your life, you achieve things, you have things in order - time management, happiness, stress free life - you become unstoppable.

But, what about that "Quit" button and start a new game. It's always there, it's always an option, and a tempting option at that when the life line cards just aren't there to help out the ground cards and there's really nothing else to do. So why not just quit and start a new game, be dealt some new cards - be dealt a new life? At the beginning of the week, closer to the crisis I hit that quit button. I hit that quit button every time there were "no" options, really, every time the slightest bit of problem solving needed to happen. As the week progressed, my support system gathered, the crisis dissolved and just became a card I was dealt I was no longer hitting that quit button, rather I was problem solving, looking at my options. This is when the real thinking of solitaire and life entered my mind. If I had just hit the quit button after being dealt a bad card, I would be getting new cards, starting a new game. A new game I don't want. I've planned, I've dreamed, I am going to move to England. If I hit quit button, I would be home, working some office job playing someone else's game of solitaire.

No matter what cards you are dealt, there is always a play waiting to be made. Don't be so fast to hit the quit button and start over when the going gets tough, play the game you've entered. Just keep your head in the game, use your life lines and don't forget/don't be scared to create the opportunities for new cards to be dealt.

As for my card game, my week of stress is over, that card has been passed on, put on the shelf and joined someone else's game. It is no longer in my hands. I am scheduled to move to England on the 27th and I can't wait for the cards I am about to be dealt starting in September.

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