I come from a family of game players. When I was young, my parents often had other couples over for card games and coffee. I would hang over the back of their chairs, watching and commenting and begging to play until they sent me off to play with my brothers (to my disgruntlement, since I thought I was so much more mature than the other children and should be considered an adult). Even after my three brothers and I moved out and started families of our own, holiday gatherings at our parents’ house usually included spirited games of Charades or Uno or Greed or Sequence. I still love playing board games and card games of all types.
Though my husband doesn’t share my passion for games, our kids enjoy playing when we get together now, and our son-in-law is another game player, so I’ve continued the tradition of pulling out the games boxes when we gather now for holidays. Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan, Trains, Yahtzee, Phase 10 and Uno have all been spread on my kitchen table in the past few years, and we’ve whiled away many hours laughing and swapping good-natured challenges and insults.
Three years ago or so, I was enticed to open a facebook account by some internet friends I met through a television chat site. The reason they talked me into it? To play a game with them there. They sensed my weakness and took full advantage of it! I’ve enjoyed facebook for many reasons — primarily the chance to stay in contact with my far-flung, extended family members after the loss of my mother four years ago. Mom served as the “communications center” of our family, keeping me updated about siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins, and since I lost her, facebook has filled that void, for which I am grateful. Still, not a day goes by that I don’t get invitations to play new games with various facebook friends.
I have to admit, I’m often tempted. I do love to play, not so much to win — though I do enjoy the competition — but for the social aspect. Writing can be a lonely job, and chatting with my game friends is entertaining … maybe a bit too much so, at times. So, I have limited myself strictly to two facebook games. I can justify “Words with Friends” by telling myself I’m enriching my vocabulary and keeping my mind active — okay, maybe I’m looking for excuses. I play another little game in which my avatar can dress up and decorate imaginary houses with imaginary furniture I buy with imaginary money in an imaginary store and then visit the imaginary homes of my co-playing friends.
That one’s a little harder to rationalize. Basically, it’s paper dolls – but I always did love playing with paper dolls. When I’m stressed or blocked or just a little lonely for my scattered kids and other family members, I sometimes escape into my play world and decorate or chat with those friends I’ve never even met in real life. I remember hearing about those games a few years ago and wondering why anyone would get drawn into them, but I’ve found out it’s quite easy to do so, actually. Especially for someone who makes her living with make-believe, anyway, I suppose. I have to be careful not to spend too much time there, and not to be drawn into the hype to spend real money on those imaginary toys. And yet I’ve had fun with the game, and have “met” some truly lovely people of all ages and from several different countries.
Most of our lives are so busy now with work and families and chores and responsibilities, and watching the news can sometimes make us feel overwhelmed by fear and negativity. TV and movies, games, sports or — still my all-time favorite leisure activity — escaping into the pages of a good book can give us a chance to rest, reset, and ready ourselves for the challenges of the following day or the next workweek. Whatever your means of healthy relaxation, may you find time to laugh and play during the busy, bustling days ahead.
Click the ENTER TO WIN! tab above for details about my newest give-away contest to celebrate a momentous release for me in January, 2012 (more information to come soon). I’m taking entries now.
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