I hate puzzles. You know, the jigsaw kind. The kind you dump out and use the picture on the box to try to make some semblance of the chaos in front of you. The kind that taunt you with weird shapes, edges that seem to be the exact same as 250 other pieces, knobs and holes that appear to fit but really don't, and 500 trillion shades of blue or green or yellow or red. It's exasperating to me to search endlessly for the perfect piece only to discover that it's just a tad off. I have been known to shove those pieces together whether they're supposed to go there or not. I come from a family of great puzzler-doers. They open into a box filled with 1000 jigsaw pieces with as much enthusiasm as I break open a bag of chips. I've never understood how/why they do it - I'm much too impatient to stoop over a card table and cut off twenty years of the life of my eyes just to put a picture together that - for heaven's sakes - is in mint condition on the box lid!
I love Sudoku, however. Until I hit Calculus and beyond, I thrived in math and enjoyed it. And since Sudoku is a game of numbers, we're friends. I like the process of elimination and the satisfaction of figuring out which number goes into each little box. I love it when there's barely any erased pencil marks or I complete a puzzle solely using a pen. I enjoy starting with an almost empty square and deciphering the almost mind-boggling solution. It used to be an addiction of mine, but I've learned to appreciate Sudoku in moderation.
Why this paradox in my preferences? Possibly because I'm a logical learner and not a visual learner. Possibly because Sudoku is a one person endeavor and in my family, a puzzle usually is not. Possibly because I feel Sudoku is a more honest game - it doesn't seem like the numbers are trying to deceive you. Possibly because... well, I don't really know. It's just what I like.
Looking toward the future is kind of like a puzzle and Sudoku to me. I hate the fact that there are so many choices in life and yet not one of them seems to be a perfect fit. I have extremely few regrets looking back at what path I've chosen, and yet, so many times, I think to myself, "Was that the right choice for me? For my family?" I know on more than one occasion, I've "forced" some puzzle pieces in my life to fit when they really weren't supposed to. The future holds many shades of green and blue and red and yellow. Will we move again? Will my kids still love me in 20 years? Are they going to accomplish great things in life? Is my husband going to lose his job or make an amazing discovery that propels us into the lime light? Will I ever understand the stock market? Will I get to live in Germany again? Will they find a miracle cure for acne (and I ache for my children if they don't - it's the worst part of adolescence)? Will we all be flying in personal aircraft (think Jetsons)? When I wake up in 20 years, will I still have the use of all of my body? How much unwanted hair will I have to wax? Will my husband still find me attractive? How many wars will I have lived through? Natural disasters? Home repairs? Doctor's visits? So many unknowns. It's like trying to fit those pieces together without looking at the picture on the box. And I don't even like doing it with the picture!
Life is like Sudoku too, though. My joy in solving Sudoku is the process of elimination and planning that leads to a final solution. I feel in control. And so much of where I will be in 20 years depends on the same planning, elimination of negative outlooks and opinions, and my decisions. I can try to improve myself everyday so I can be the wife and mother my family still loves and looks up to. I will have the choice as to how I respond to each situation that's thrown my way. Twenty years is 240 months, 7305 days, 175320 hours and 10519200 minutes. I know there will be ups and downs, good days and bad days, days I accomplish much and days I accomplish little, days I am a patient mom and days I will wish I was more patient. In 20 years, all of my kids will be adults, and I will get to celebrate so many milestones with them - what a wonderful blessing! If I can focus on each little square and find the number that fits there, with more than a little help from above, I will solve my life Sudoku. I hope to make the best of the next twenty years - I've got a lot of living to do!
What a great way to put the "p" into perspective! I'm not normally a search-inside-myself, share-something-profound type of person or blogger, but this kind of topic just kind of initiates such thinking. Thanks to Scribbit's Write-Away-Contest for the incentive to dig a little deeper!