Friday, June 13, 2008
the game of life
On a recent trip to visit the marrieds, I laughed inside when the only game they had to play was LIFE. I used to play LIFE all the time growing up but since the game begins with the huge decision of taking out student loans and going to college or starting a career that doesn't require an education (like an artist), nothing on the board seemed applicable to me. There was no spot to play dolls or do gymnastics or be in a school play. You didn't earn a LIFE tile for babysitting or losing a tooth or making straight A's. You couldn't skip a turn for having a messy room or getting kicked out of band (twice) or fighting with your sister. This so-called LIFE didn't make much sense to me ... until now. I've come to the first fork in the road (or should I say on the board) and it's kinda surreal... choosing a career and a salary card. I'm pretty excited about my selection! After I travel a bit and earn my masters, the next stop is getting married. I've lost a couple of turns on this one and really hope the little blue man I selected from the ziploc bag as "my soulmate", who always rode in the passenger seat (the feminist in the eight-year-old-me would never take part in convention and let the man drive), comes to life one of these days because the milestone after marriage is buying a house and then having kids (which a husband is not entirely mandatory for, but in my ideal world, I would like him to take part). I always hoped I would pick the Victorian or the Tudor Mansion from the deck but I'll settle for the cozy, log cabin if it means waking up on the shores of Long Beach every morning. As far as kids go, I still want the two carloads I would drive around the entire board with (even if I didn't land on the space that read "It's a boy" or "It's a girl!", this is the one area that I never could pretend... if it wasn't in the spinner's fate that I would have children this round of LIFE, I would always add them to my car anyways, even if it meant I didn't earn a LIFE tile for their birth. Nothing's changed.) This summer Mount Rushmore won't just be a plastic icon in the center of the board; I will really drive across the country (twice) and see the real monument. I'm sure I'll attend a few charity events, write an American Novel, maybe even win a Nobel Prize in my lifetime but I have a lot of living before I reach the last stop on the board: Retirement. Much like the beginning of the game was once unfathomable, the end of the game is too far out of reach to imagine. I will just have to live vicariously through Grams' retirement for the next few months! For now, I am going to focus on my next few turns: excelling so I can swap career cards (to a neonatal nurse practitioner), earn a LIFE tile for backpacking through Europe and who knows? ... Maybe that plastic, blue man is closer than I think!?