I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with my life and I had another ah-hah moment this weekend. I spent the whole weekend with Caleb in the hospital and it didn’t bother me at all – once they figured out that Caleb was going to be ok that is. I did feel extremely grateful that we had health insurance – I might not have been as calm through three days in the hospital without insurance but that’s another topic. So being in the hospital with a sick kid didn’t bother me.
We have also been spending a lot of money and vacation time lately. Some of it planned (like for vacations and treadmills) and some of it unplanned (like for hospital stays and snow storms.) And that didn’t bother me.
And I realized a while ago that if I won the lottery I wouldn’t want to go sit on the beach for the rest of my life. I’d want a few interesting things to do.
While I was thinking about all this, I ran across Steve Pavlina’s Life – The Ultimate Game post. And it made sense. He writes that life is like a video game and you don’t play the game because winning is fun. You want to win, but you don’t play just because you want to win. You also enjoy all the challenges along the way (can you get past that hairy monster or collect all the right objects?) and all the places you explore. Even when you are losing, you might be having a lot of fun. You might play one game for days, weeks or even months without "winning."
That explains why people hike the Appalachian Trail, sky dive or even raise kids. The challenges and the journey are as rewarding as the end goal.
I’m not big into video games, so I’d rather think of life as a game of cards. You start out with the hand you’re dealt and play it the best you can. If you get all top cards, you’ll win fast and it’ll be exciting for a minute, but if you’re dealt a not so good hand and you make it work, it’s so much more satisfying. You prove that you are good, not just lucky. The way I see it I started out with a pretty good hand, my parents added a few good cards (like self-confidence and a college education) and now I’m playing the best I can. When I get a bad card (like a hospital stay or an unexpected bill), I just add it to the mix and see how I can make it work out. [And sometimes you need that low card to get the straight!]
I’m having fun playing and I’m winning! 🙂