I love Scrabble. I always have. I can remember my best friend and I watching our dads play it when we were young, new readers and being in complete awe of the words they were playing. Words I didn’t even know existed. I remember the first time I played Scrabble, losing miserably. But it’s always been my favorite game, tied with Trivial Pursuit.
When I found out I could play the phone app version of Scrabble, I was like a kid at Christmas. I could play it all the time! So I downloaded Words with Friends and the fun began. I held off playing with my dad, because to this day I’ve only beat him once. It’s hard on my self esteem when my dad who reads an average of two books a year can beat his writer of a daughter by at least 100 points on an average day.
You can learn a lot about your friends when you play a game of Words with Friends with them. My friend Molly and I sometimes find ourselves with an impossible board, but we like the challenge, and we always finish the game. My “friend” Cory likes to cheat, apparently, but puts up with the inappropriate words I play on purpose. My sisters, well, we usually band together to try and beat my dad.
The other day, I was sitting on my bed staring at my phone, trying to find a word I could play. This board was a mess. Words were stacked diagonally all the way across, and there were no open spaces for anything. And I was stuck with all consonants. I found myself pressing the shuffle button over and over, praying something would reveal itself. Maybe a vowel would magically appear? Or maybe I would see something I had missed?
But no. No matter how much I willed a new letter to appear, they never changed. And no matter how much I squinted or mumbled about how *insert preferred expletive here* ridiculous this game was (yes, I talk to myself…let’s move on) I was still left sitting there with the same letters, the same possible moves, the same frustrations.
If only I had this letter, I would say to myself. Or this letter. Or if there was an open space here. Maybe if I swapped these letters, or just skipped my turn. Ugh that won’t give me enough points. Maybe If the board was completely different, or if my letters were completely different, then I could make my move – the right move.
I often find myself paralyzed by “if only.” A phrase that bespeaks unlimited possibilities becomes my greatest hindrance in the midst of a less than desirable situation. Because while it speaks towards the imagined possibilities, it also speaks to that which is lacking. The moment I say “if only” I admit my frustration with my situation. I admit that I don’t like it. I admit that it’s not what I want and that things could be better. Saying “if only” means I’m dissatisfied, and then I begin to envy the things I don’t have.
I sit on my bed, my legs hugged tightly against my chest, thinking to myself “if only.”
I let the options for my future shuffle through my head. I see the possible moves I could make, new things I could try, a new place I could travel to. Each is discarded as not being grand enough. I could do better. If I wait it out, maybe something better will come along. Maybe if just sit here in the comfort of my room, in the familiar, then the grand chance I’ve been waiting for will just come to me.
Maybe if I do nothing, something amazing will happen.
It sounds ridiculous when said aloud like that. Because honestly, nothing comes from nothing. I can’t expect my most wild dreams to come true simply because I hope they will. And we can’t wait for the perfect moment, for everything to align and fall into place perfectly like something out of a fairytale. Life is messy, unfair, and sometimes we’re dealt a bad hand. Sometimes we don’t like it.
But we have to make a move. We have to do something – get off our bed, walk out the door, take a job we might not like, move to a place we may not love, talk to the man or woman we have feelings for – we need to take a chance and recognize that not every single move we make in life has to be brilliant or extraordinary. Some are just a stepping stone to something more grand.
And we can’t get there, to the place we long to be, if we don’t take the chance. We can sit and bemoan our bad situation, or we can make a play for what we want.
I dare you to make a move.
You can play me at Words with Friends if you so desire. Just invite cassiclerget
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.