Life is but a Game
Games People Play
Life is but a Game - oh no, that should read Life is but a Dream! Are they the same? Kinda, methinks. We're constantly playing in our own minds, interpreting what we see, hear, smell, feel, touch. And depending on our perspective and attitude, the same scene will evoke different reactions.
I'm reminded of the story of two friends driving down a country road. Along this road grew various types of wildflowers and grasses. One of the friends viewed these plants as unruly and chaotic, while the other friend totally enjoyed the array of color and variety of the vegetation. It's so easy to please some, yet so hard to please others.
Speaking of driving, remember all those silly songs we used to sing to stay occupied on long trips? I'm gonna show my age. How about "99 bottles of beer on the wall"? That one drove our parents nutty. I think my dad actually wore earplugs at a certain point to get away from the slow countdown of the song. We loved it, and sang heartily through to the last bottle of beer.
We also counted out-of-state cars. We kept a running tab on the various states. We counted until one of us got 10 licenses from 10 different states. That could take a long time as we lived in CA and although we saw a lot from Oregon, Nevada and Arizona, the other states weren't as frequent.
Then we played Hanged Man - oh - now you really know I'm old! It's so easy - you just need paper and pencil and think of a word. It was one of the simplest word games to play - and we did have fun drawing the limbs, adding hands, faces, hair and other details if the word was particularly hard.
These were all in the car - driving long distances. When we were home, we played a lot of outdoor games. We certainly did NOT have electronic games - or ipods, or gameboys. We played in our backyards climbing trees and building playhouses where we imagined all sorts of situations to be happening. My sisters and I had vivid imaginations and could entertain ourselves all day making mud pies, playing with our dolls and constantly rearranging our toys in the playhouse. One of my favorite "mind" games was to imagine the pencil I held between my index and middle finger was a flying creature. My fingers were its legs so it could walk or fly high or go under the bed and chairs. I loved the sleek look of the pencil, so streamlined, so elequent. I got a ton of mileage out of that!
Looking back on our game playing, it is rather a dream. What really happened in that magical huge backyard of ours? We had a big and deep swimming pool with a tall water slide and bouncy diving board. We spent countless hours swimming, jumping, diving, holding our breaths under water, pretending to be dolphins or whales. I swear I could breathe under water. I'd come gasping up for air many times after attempting to actually fill my lungs with air via the water. We were very happy, independent children who spent most of our time outside if it was at all nice - and southern CA is still quite the excellent weather state. I really feel for kids today who rarely ride a bike or go for a hike. It's too scary for parents to let their children be gone all day roaming the hills and canyons around a home.
I don't have my own children, but marvel at my nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews who all have that special coded DNA that allows them to play with anything electronic as if it was second nature. This is their world. I spend a lot of time online, but don't play all the 3D action games. As a graphic designer, my work is kind of like putting together a puzzle at times. All the elements need to harmonize and "fit" with each other. That's as close as I get to "working" puzzles!
I still play with a yo-yo, have some juggling balls, play the old games like scrabble and dominoes and cards. We used to love to play Trivial Pursuit - that was a big hit - or Poker until the wee hours of the morning.
Times change and so do the games people play. They are ever more sophisticated and intriguing - challenging and mentally stimulating. This keeps us healthy and alert, helps prevent dementia and Alzheimer's. I'm all for keeping our minds active and engaged in both playful and productive ways. As long as the game is seen as just that, a tool for learning and physical or mental dexterity, then I say let the games continue. Our lives are a series of "games" if you will - and to be successful, one must certainly know how to play! Play to win, to achieve, to believe, to receive. Play creatively, not competitively.
This life is over in a wink - play fair, play smart, play cool!
Play with Paint
Playing with art and images is very fun and creative. So many inanimate objects have distinct personalities, like this sweet potato. When I saw it at the grocery store it looked so comfortable gazing out to nowhere. So I set it up in my studio and let it look out over a painting - into the far away horizon.
It reposes joyfully and remains serene no matter what else happens.
The dream of peace - the game of life - the way of now.