The Game of Life


I found the game of "Life" from my youth this weekend in my parent's basement covered in dust wedged between "Clue Master Detective" and "Outburst". I resisted the urge to pack these games in a suitcase and take them back to my tiny Brooklyn apartment. Just for the memories they could bring back if I saw them on my bookshelf.

My cousin's daughters ages 5 and 7 had wanted to play a board game. They recognized it immediately because they have the new version at home which, according to their mother, is bigger and glitzier and of course in 3-D (just like "real" life).

Playing this game felt like taking a trip in a time machine back to the humid summers of my youth during those couple of weeks when my cousins visited from Pennsylvania. We played every outdoor and indoor game possible, did gymnastics on the lawn, wrote and performed skits, and still whined to our parents that we were bored.

By that point the only thing left to do was put our faces really close to the giant standing fan talking into it so our voices sounded like Darth Vader from Star Wars. No, there was no such thing as central air in my childhood and I didn't care.

My cousin's younger daughter asked me which color car I wanted to be. "Blue, please." The girls told me to go first and as I was about to spin** the wheel of Life, the 5 yr old said "Now we have to find husbands." She pointed to our three cars with lone pink stick people, the "women". We lacked the blue stick people or the "men".

I wanted to shake her and shout "No! You don't have a find a husband. Only if you want to. You don't need one to have a wonderful life." But she's 5 and that would have been creepy. 

It was enlightening to play the game of "Life" as an adult who is living real life and has experienced many things on the board like going to college and graduate school, renting an apartment, paying bills etc. Like real life, sometimes you take two steps forward and sometimes you take one step back. Other times you get to skip ahead. But you always learn something along the way.

I've learned that you don't NEED a blue stick person in your life. If you WANT one you should look for one but you should WANT the right one for you, the one that complements you - not completes you. You should strive to be complete with yourself as the pink stick person in the driver's seat.

**After four spins I found a husband - but not before I became a doctor and won the lottery.